No. 516.
Mr. Lewis to Mr. Fish.

No. 69.]

Sir: Yesterday, the Cortes of the kingdom of Portugal was opened by the King in person. The usual ceremonies were observed, the only variation that I noticed being the attendance of her majesty the Queen Consort, who occupied a seat on the throne with the King.

A translation of the King’s speech is herewith transmitted. It will be seen from this speech, that, for the first time in many years, the expenses of the government do riot exceed the receipts into the treasury, and that there is, consequently, no deficit to be provided for by additional legislation.

The King congratulates the Cortes on the general prosperity of the kingdom, the improvement in the condition of the national finances, and the increase of the material wealth of the people, produced by the railways that have been completed, or are in course of construction. These are, of course, subjects of congratulation; but, in my opinion, the fact that the nation has not been disturbed by the political convulsions of their nearest neighbors, and that the great mass of the people are loyal to the existing dynasty, and indisposed to revolution, furnishes the best evidence that there is no cause for complaint, or at least none that cannot be removed by the action of the representatives of the people.

The political status of Portugal has not been affected by the events that have transpired in Spain; sympathy with the Carlist movement is confined to the small and comparatively uninfluential body of ultra mon-tanes who still profess allegiance to the deposed Miguelite dynasty.

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The great body of the people, of all classes, naturally deprecate the success of Don Carlos in Spain or the restoration of the elder Bourbon dynasty in France, as either event would be a signal for agitation in behalf of the deposed dynasty in Portugal.

With respect, &c.,


Speech from the throne at the opening of the Cortes of Portugal on the 2d January, 1874.

Honorable Peers of the Kingdom, and Gentlemen Deputies of the Portuguese Nation: On this solemn occasion, in which I am here to open the legislative session of the present year, I am happy to have around me the representatives of the nation.

Our diplomatic relations with foreign powers continue to he most satisfactory.

The public tranquillity has been preserved without the least interruption throughout the kingdom and our ultramarine provinces. In pursuance of the authority vested in my government by the acts of the Cortes of the 2d July, 1867, and 5th March, 1858,* public national subscriptions were opened for the emission of the first series of bonds of the Minho Eailroad to the amount of 1,535,670 milreis and for the sum of 38,000,000 milreis, to be applied to the extinction of the floating debt. In both cases the result was most satisfactory, and the subscriptions were in excess of the sum asked for by the government.

My minister of the treasury will submit to you a report of the affairs of his department, which exhibits the vitality of the’country, its patriotism, and the relative prosperity which we enjoy. In the prosecution of our aims to improve the armament and equipment of our army, on a peace footing, my government is indebted to the government of Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain aud of His Majesty the Emperor of Germany for a supply of modern carbines for infantry and cavalry, and of cannon of the Krupp system, which were obtained directly from the arsenals of Great Britain and Prussia.

To meet the expense consequent upon the purchase of these arms and the munitions of war which it was indispensable that we should purchase or manufacture, my government will present to you the necessary estimates, to which you will give that consideration required by the importance of the subject to which they refer.

The construction of the Minho Railroad is being successfully prosecuted. The work on the Regoa Railroad has been commenced, and the section of the Southeastern Railroad as far as Extremoz has been completed and is now open for the transportation of passengers and freight. The works on the ordinary roads have been prosecuted with all the resources placed by law at the disposal of my government. As every day’s experience tends to show palpably and incontestibly how greatly increased facilities for travel and transportation of produce contribute to the wealth of the nation, the time has arrived for the extension of the railway to the two districts of Beira, which will not only prove a great benefit to these important provinces, but will greatly facilitate our international communications. My government will present to you the estimates necessary for these improvements, subordinating them, however, to the determination that the financial condition of the country shall, not be disturbed.

In addition to the subjects which remained pending, and which await your enlightened consideration, there are others of general interest that will be shortly laid before you by my ministers. I trust to your well-known zeal and patriotism, and am well assured that everything which may tend to the improvement of the administration itself, to the prompt administration of justice, to the diffusion of knowledge, and to the improvement of all branches of the military-and naval service, and of our ultramarine provinces, will receive your enlightened and devoted attention. In obedience to the requirements of the constitution, my minister of the treasury will lay before you the estimates for the expenses of the fiscal year 1874–’75, and from it and the documents which accompany it you will see that the condition of the treasury is most satisfactory, and, thanks to the foresight you have exhibited, the endeavors of all our people, and the happy continuance of public peace, our credit has been strengthened, and we shall be able to equalize the receipts and expenses without increasing the taxes. Calling your enlightened attention to the duties which are so nearly connected with the highest interest of the country, I confide fully in your wisdom, and am confident that with the blessing of Providence you will, as far as you are able, co-operate with my ministers as far as proper regard to economy will permit, in improving our finances and addressing ourselves to the task of availing ourselves of the progress of civilization to advance the greatness and prosperity of our country.

The session is opened.

  1. Evidently a misprint for 1868.—C. H. L.