No. 476.
Mr. Thomas to Mr. Fish.

No. 157 bis.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose, for the information of the Secretary of State, a printed copy of the message of President Pardo, read by him to the Congress of Peru, at the commencement of its called session on the first day of the present month. The message proposes no specific measure of relief to the deeply-embarrassed condition of Peruvian finances, and as the Congress at its recent regular session of one hundred days failed to provide for a depleted public treasury, it would seem that neither the executive nor legislative branch of the government of Peru sees clearly a way out of the pecuniary embarrassment by which that government is surrounded. These financial complications, the Secretary of State is aware, have their origin in injudicious contracts entered into by the administration of the late President Balta, and do not, therefore, materially impair public confidence in the present chief magistrate of Peru and his constitutional advisers.

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 157.]

President Pardo’s message.

On the 3d instant, the extraordinary sessions of Congress were formally opened in Lima. The gallery was well filled, and the speech, which was read by President Pardo, was listened to with marked attention. The following is a translation of this document:

Honorable representatives, my first duty on finding myself in the midst of you, in the tranquil performance of your constitutional attributes, is to render thanks to Almighty God for the rapid and happy termination of the civil war which two months ago threatened the republic, and for the proofs of civic virtues which the citizens have evinced in consequence of it.

The crisis through which the republic has passed has sufficed to prove the power which order, law, and progress hold in our social organization, and the national guards, the army, and the navy have exercised through their spirit and conduct a moral and material influence greatly to the benefit of the true interests of the country. The result has proved that the consciousness of the existence of that power was well founded, and has been a source of satisfaction to right-thinking men of all parties, who desire that their ideas or their political aspirations may be carried out after honorable and peaceable legal conflict.

The army, the navy, and the national guards have acquired just title to public gratitude in this short though vigorous defense of social order, justice, and our institutions.

To consolidate the labor effected, and insure the interests and rights of society [Page 1001] against future attacks, it is urgently requisite to determine a number of important matters which, await your decision, and for this reason I have summoned these extraordinary sessions, in the hope that your intelligence and patriotism will give them that correct and prompt solution which the condition of the country imperiously demands.

The most important of these questions are those with reference to the finances.

The country is passing through a crisis which is so serious that we cannot ignore it, because social evils cannot be cured unless the authorities examine into them.

The advances received on account of the sales of guano have resulted in three consequences which to-day are combined in one. The natural reaction in business and industry after passing through an epoch in which the ordinary product of the guano was consumed, and also the sales of future years, the difficulty which the foreign trade of Peru feels in consequence of guano having thus temporarily ceased to serve as a national return, and the blank which the discount of this rental has produced in the receipts, to the great embarrassment of the regular public service.

The first of these results refers to a circumstance already realized, and it cannot therefore be corrected, except by the gradual action of economical laws. The second, i. e., the decreased commercial return in proportion to the imports, will diminish as the production of the country increases. But the third cannot be remedied, except by yourselves, and it is urgently necessary that you undertake the task.

An equality between receipts and expenditures is indispensably necessary for the proper administration of the executive powers, which, as you well know, exercise an important part in the moral and material welfare of a nation. Only the equality can insure credit, and we require to make use of ours in order to terminate the public works which have been commenced, and increase European immigration, which is rendered necessary by them, and which is the most powerful element in increasing production.

If the solution of our financial question places us in a position to make use of our credit, the resources we obtain from it will contribute to a great extent to decrease the ill-effects we at present experience from a want of exportable products, and our foreign trade will to that extent be a gainer. Consequently, the public peace, social order, the due carrying on of the government, the national credit, the termination of the public works and their necessary effects on the prosperity of industry and commerce, all depend on your success in restoring a fiscal equilibrium by determining the sums which are to be permanently devoted to meeting our ordinary expenses.

The solution of this problem has become a necessity to the republic, and it is worthy of receiving the whole of your time, study, and attention, since the difficulties and dangers attendant on its solution are equally as great as those which must result from its non-determination. I call your attention most seriously to this matter, because the future of my country is a question which gives me much thought, and because my duty to it compels me to explain its necessity to you, and to urge you to come to a resolution.

The discussion of the budget and the determination of the receipts with which its expenses are to be permanently met; the determination of unsettled questions as to the administration of guano and nitrate in reference to each other, and in reference to the public treasury; the formation of a special school-fund on a scale which shall enable instruction to be generalized and allow the municipalities freedom of action in the matter with their own funds, and thus liberate the budget from charges for local expenses; and, finally, the determination of funds for the perfection of our public works and for foreign immigration—these are the primary questions which have led to my calling this extraordinary Congress, and to which I especially direct your attention in consequence of their intimate connection with the present and the future of the republic.

Honorable legislators, the responsibility which to-day weighs on the representatives of the people is as great as are the problems submitted to their decision by public necessity; and problems such as these, on which the present and future of a nation depend, can only be solved by disregarding the minor interests of the present and acting for the permanent welfare of society.

After the President had terminated, the speaker of Congress answered him in a short speech, and the sessions were declared to have commenced.