Among the most important acts of Congress was its approval of the contract
made, by order of the President, with the Mexican company, for the
construction of an” extensive system of railroads, referred to in my
dispatch No. 74, thus completing legislative action upon that subject.
Congress has also granted an extension for one year of the concession to the
Tehuantepec Railway and Canal Company. It has also approved a treaty of
amity and commerce between Mexico and Italy, the ratifications of which are
to be exchanged in this city on or before April next. Before its adjournment
the President sent to Congress the nomination of ministers plenipotentiary
to the German Empire and to Spain. The action of the federal government,
referred to in my dispatch No. 87, has apparently pacified the troubles in
the State of Coahuila.
January 25, 1874.
[From translation in the Two Republics.]
President Lerdo’s speech.
Citizen Deputies: In the first period of your
sessions, prorogued until to-day, by your patriotic zeal, as permitted
by the constitution, you have considered subjects of great importance,
which you have decided to the advantage of the republic. The
long-pending treaties which the executive celebrated with the King of
Italy, concerning commerce and the extradition of criminals, have been
approved by Congress, and will soon be ratified so as to go into
operation as a law of the Union.
The friendly relations which fortunately exist between the two countries
will thus be rendered more intimate. The great work which cost such
bloody sacrifices, the laws of reform, having definitively received
constitutional sanction, now form an integral part of our institutions.
This act, of the highest importance for the Mexican people, will ever be
a title of glory for the seventh constitutional Congress.
The intelligent discussion which has continued during your sessions upon
some other reforms in the fundamental compact gives reason to hope that
they may soon be terminated, aiding not only to perfect our system, but
also to further develop the practice of liberal principles. Congress
having scrutinized the popular election of magistrates of the supreme
court of justice, the highest tribunal of the Union, to which the laws
concede such high attributes, has been duly completed. The judicial
organization in the territory of Lower California was insufficient for
the vast extent of its territory, causing real damage to public
interests. This evil has been remedied by the action of Congress, in
establishing the new tribunals found necessary for so noble an
The subsidy granted to the steamship line between Vera Cruz and New York
having been renewed by Congress, this important means of communication
will continue to exist, and will afford new advantages to commerce, and
greater facilities for the movement of passengers between the extreme
and intermediate points of that interesting line.
A new line of steamers between Vera Cruz and Havana, which is to touch at
several ports of the Gulf, having also been subsidized by another
decree, this line will efficiently serve to stimulate our mercantile
relations with the island of Cuba and the exportation of our valuable
The modifications made in the law of real-estate contributions have
remedied defects shown by experience. Some disadvantages for the
tax-payer have thus been abolished without damage to our fiscal
interests. The admitted propriety of extending to a greater number of
localities the benefits of the telegraph, inspired Congress with the
resolution of establishing new telegraphic lines from Michoacan to
Guadalajara and the ports of Manzanillo and San Bias, as also from San
Luis to Zacatecas and Durango. The utility of these measures is
unquestionable, as is also that of the decree for the canalization
between the lagoons of Chijol and Tamiahua, in the State of Vera Cruz.
These communications will develop an important trade. Among other
beneficent [Page 723] measures taken by
Congress, that relating to a road to Comanja, to facilitate the
extraction of the abundant products of its iron-mines, deserves notice,
as also the power given the executive to transfer to another company the
concession for a railroad between Puebla and Matamoros Izucar, so
important for that rich district.
The period granted to the company which proposes to establish
interoceanic communication across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, having
been extended for a year, there is a new hope of the realization of so
highly interesting a project, and one recognized as such by all the
governments of the republic.
The settlement of the new tariffs for the railway from Mexico to Vera
Cruz, has been one of the principal subjects to which Congress has
devoted its intelligent attention. If in this important matter all that
could be desired was not obtained, there was at least obtained all that
was possible for the purpose of stimulating the exportation of our
productions, thus giving a new impulse to agriculture, which is the
principal source of the national wealth, and which ought to be the most
productive in the future. The executive having scrupulously examined the
several projects that were presented for the interoceanic and
international railway, gave the preference to the company lately formed,
because it really offered the most favorable conditions.
With the approval which Congress has given to this project, it has
demonstrated its patriotic zeal for the realization of this enterprise
which is of the highest importance, not only for the interests of our
country, but for those of the civilized world which will take advantage
of this means of communication between the great continents.
The determination of Congress for the purchase of revenue-cutters will be
very useful for the maintenance of order in our ports and the due
protection of our fiscal interests. The differences which brought about
a grave conflict between the powers of the State of Coahuila, reached a
point which rendered indispensable the intervention of the federal
authority. The prudent measures taken by Congress immediately produced
the happiest results, affording an assurance that within a very short
time constitutional order will be entirely re-established in that state.
The reports presented by the cabinet ministers contain the
administrative history of the past two years. They will serve, not only
to make known the acts of the government, but also to facilitate the
continuation of the improvements commenced, the undertaking of other new
ones, the remedying of evils discovered, and the development of the
important elements which our country possesses. We may hope for much
under the auspices of the peace happily maintained throughout the
nation. We cherish flattering hopes that public order will not be
disturbed, resting upon the good sense of the Mexican people, and its
well known desire to devote itself to social progress. Receive,
citizens, deputies, my sincere congratulations, because during your
brief retirement from your legislative tasks, you will enjoy the
satisfaction of having labored with the most intelligent and patriotic
zeal for the happiness and prosperity of the republic.