No. 476.
Mr. Foster to Mr. Fish.

No. 129.]

Sir: Herewith I transmit a copy and translation of the address (inclosures 1 and 2) pronounced by President Lerdo at the opening of the second session of the Seventh Congress, which took place on the 1st instant. It presents a gratifying picture of the benefits derived from the peace now enjoyed throughout the republic.

I am, &c.,


Address of President Lerdo at the opening of the Mexican Congress, April 1, 1874.

Citizen Deputies: In obedience to the fundamental law, you return to the discharge of your high functions in the midst of the peace enjoyed throughout the republic. The Mexican people sees with satisfaction that the ordinary course of your legislative tasks is pursued with entire regularity in the constitutional periods.

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Our relations with the friendly powers fortunately continue to he sincerely cordial Representatives of Mexico have been appointed for Germany and Spain, whose presence will contribute to augment the friendship which unites us to those nations.

The investigating commission for the States of Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and Tamaulipas has terminated its important labors. The interesting report in which it has rendered account of its intelligent and useful researches will very soon be published.

The other investigating commission, for the frontier of Chihuahua and Sonora, is already engaged in the performance of its duties.

In consequence of the law passed by Congress to quiet the disturbances which occurred in the State of Coahuila, complete tranquillity has been restored therein, thus permitting its legal reorganization, which will be effected within a few days.

Through the efficacy of the special law of Congress, aided by the peace which we enjoy, crimes against the security of persons and property have diminished to the degree that but few have been committed, and these have been promptly punished. They, however, prove the necessity of further prolonging the existence of the said law, which the executive will submit to the enlightened consideration of Congress.

The inquiry which the executive made in the previous session, as to whether the faculty of modifying the organization of the tribunals of the federal district is included among the powers conferred by law for the purpose of promulgating the code of criminal procedure, is also worthy of attention. Upon the decision of this inquiry depends the promulgation of this code, which is as necessary as the other reforms, which experience has shown to be very necessary for the better administration of justice.

The judicial reorganization of the Territory of Lower California, proposed by the executive, having been enacted by Congress, the new tribunals have been established, so as to realize this improvement in an important branch of the public administration.

The attention which Congress has already devoted to the amendment of the law upon secondary instruction in the federal district will serve to facilitate the conclusion of this interesting subject. The initiative concerning obligatory primary instruction, so as to extend to all classes of society the benefits of education, affords equal interest.

Zealous efforts are being made to form the statistics of public instruction throughout the country. This is the more useful, since it is, without doubt, an efficacious means of ascertaining the advance of enlightenment, as well as a stimulus to all the authorities to labor for popular education.

In the formation of the annual estimates, the chief object of the session commencing to-day, Congress will he able, by its wisdom and patriotism, to make the most adequate provision for the various necessities of the public treasury.

The payment of the ordinary expenses of the administration has continued with entire regularity. At the same time, care has been taken to regulate and improve the collection of the imports for the better service of the public interests.

It is our duty to provide the means of attending to the public debt, legally recognized and liquidated. For this purpose it may, perhaps, become necessary to increase the present imposts, which suggestion Congress will take into its enlightened consideration, so as to prudently combine all the interests involved in a manner compatible with justice.

During the years which have elapsed since the passage of the law for establishing military colonies, these could not be founded for various reasons, only a limited force having been supported, which was employed in repressing Indian incursions. The executive believes that the system of colonies might now be commenced, by forming them gradually in the frontier States, which are so worthy of being favored in this important particular, which Congress will be able to consider in connection with the estimates.

It having been found necessary to build the coast-guard vessels decreed by Congress, they are now being constructed, and within a few months will begin to render important service.

The importance of amending the law of patents being notorious, the executive will present a bill in harmony with the provisions of the constitution.

A new law upon colonization, which the executive has proposed, might be found of very great advantage, and a new one will be presented to facilitate the division and sale of the public lands in Lower California.

The commissions created by Congress for the survey of certain rivers in the State of Vera Cruz, and of a road from Jalisco to Zacatecas, are engaged in the performance of their duties.

With the object of constantly extending our telegraphic lines, the material on hand is being employed, and another considerable quantity has been ordered. Special attention has been and will be given to the construction of the extended lines from Michoacan to Jalisco, San Luis to Durango, Durango to Chihuahua, Mazatlan to Guaymas, Tampico to Matamoros, and Tobasco to Chiapas. We may anticipate that within a very short time the city of Mexico will be in telegraphic communication with all the State capitals, extending the wires also to Lower California by the route which may be designated by an exploration already begun.

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Yesterday was inaugurated the section of railroad from Mexico to Halnepantla, soon to be extended to Cuantitlan and Tobuca. The executive takes pleasure in the success of this road, which will be so beneficial to the country in general, and especially to the States of Mexico, Queretaro, and Michoacan.

We may enjoy a well-founded confidence that the rapid development of the fruitful elements of our country’s riches guarantees us a prosperous future, under the auspices, of a peace solidly based upon the general good sense of the people, and the discipline, bravery, and loyalty of the national army.

Be assured, citizen deputies, that the executive will zealously second all the measures which your wisdom and patriotism may enact for the welfare and aggrandizement of the republic.