to Mr. Fish.
Rome, November 25, 1874. (Received December 19.)
Sir: The new parliament of this kingdom, the deputies to which were chosen at the elections November 8, 15, assembled at Rome, pursuant to royal decree, on the 23d of the present month, and was opened by His Majesty in person with the reading of a speech, a copy and translation of which are hereto annexed.
The canvass and election were conducted with more than ordinary spirit, and the polls were attended by a larger proportion of the legal voters than is usual.
About one hundred and thirty of the deputies, or one-fourth of the chamber, are new to parliamentary life, and though the returns showed a considerable nominal administration majority, the election of the ministerial [Page 760] candidate for the presidency of the chamber of deputies was not thought altogether secure. But the question has been settled to day, by the choice of Mr. Biañchéri, the president of the late chamber and a supporter of the ministry, by a majority of sixty-four votes. Many deputies who, it is said, would have voted with the opposition were absent, but the probability is that the present ministry will be sustained by the chamber.
The most noticeable feature of the election is the increase of the opposition element in the southern provinces, which is thought an unfavorable circumstance, as indicating an aggravation of local jealousies between the Neapolitan and Piedmontese sections of the kingdom.
The election of Garibaldi is an individual, not a party triumph, and is an evidence of his great personal popularity, not an indorsement of his political opinions. Garibaldi is indeed republican in sentiment, but he is not a type or exponent of any political organization or creed, nor in Parliament, would he be likely to regulate his action by any consideration of party expediency. He was urged to attend the opening of the session with the view, it was thought by some, of making him the center, if not the leader of a parliamentary opposition, but he did not appear at Rome, and will not probably be a frequent attendant at the sessions of the chamber.
The questions raised by Mr. Minghetti’s address to his constituents, and touched upon in His Majesty’s speech, are, so far as now appear, the only ones of much moment which will be presented during the session. The opposition party is not united upon any definite programme, and I do not think that the general ministerial policy is unacceptable to the nation upon any other ground than its avowal of the necessity of continuing the taxes already so burdensome.
I have, &c.,