No. 355.
Mr. Marsh to Mr. Fish.

No. 525.]

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.,

[Inclosure in No. 535.—Translation.]

Speech of His Majesty King Victor Emmanuel at the opening of the Italian Parliament, November 23, 1874.

Senators, deputies:

My first thought on finding myself in the midst of the representatives of the nation is to offer words of gratitude to the Italian people for their cordial demonstrations of affection on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of my reign.

Those demonstrations were all the more acceptable to my heart because they were spontaneous and universal.

Equal to the affection of which the country has given me proof will he, I trust, the zeal of the new legislature in the accomplishment of the work for the re-organization of the state.

The civil code has been unified; the penal code should also be. It has been the subject of mature study in the senate, and it will be again brought to your attention. I hope that from your discussions a code will be perfected worthy of science and of the Italian name.

The reform of commercial rights, required by the country and promised by the government, will be initiated by a bill on commercial associations. The interference of the government will be less, and the responsibility of the administrators will be thus rendered more efficacious.

The government will submit to you certain measures for there-establishment of public security in those provinces where it has been seriously disturbed. In accepting these measures you will follow the example set by the most enlightened nations and by those legislatures most jealous of preserving public liberty, which falls into contempt unless it guarantees the security of persons and of property.

The new military organization has given good results, and I am proud to remark the progress of the army to which I am attached by the deepest affection and by the most cherished associations of my life. This work must be carried to the end, and provision must be made for the defense of the state.

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The navy, upon which so much of our future depends, will be, also, the subject of your deliberations.

My government will present to you bills for the reformation of certain taxes, with the object of a more equitable distribution and of rendering them more simple and productive.

This will be the commencement of a gradual reform of our tributary and administrative system, which, created in moments of difficulty and agitation, has need of careful revision.

Meanwhile we must incur no new expenses. Parliament will, therefore, have to occupy itself with those alone for which engagements have been made, or with those of evident urgency. But my government, in proposing them, will point out to you new measures to meet them.

In this manner you will succeed in establishing an equilibrium in the budget of the kingdom. This is the most ardent desire of the nation. This will be the fullest compensation for, and the most efficacious relief to, the sacrifices which the people have borne with such noble courage.

The regeneration of Italy will thus be cleansed of every stain. Italy will thus have the rare merit, in the history of political transformations, of never having entertained even the idea of betraying her public faith.

Senators, deputies: I am happy to assure you that we continue to be upon the best relations with foreign powers. I receive with pleasure continued proofs of the esteem in which friendship with Italy is held by other nations.

This is the reward for the moderation and firmness of our policy. Persevering in this course, we shall continue to show how liberty united with order may solve the most difficult problems, and Italy will not fail in her glorious destiny.

Providence has assisted us at every step, and this year has given to the country abundant harvest, thereby relieving the poorer classes, whose happiness never ceases to occupy my thoughts.

Let us thank God, and with the constant virtue of our thoughts and deeds let us continue to merit his protection and help.