No. 212.
Mr. Foster to Mr. Fish.

No. 398.]

Sir: The second session of the eighth Congress of the union was opened on the 1st instant, with the usual address of the President of the republic, a copy and translation of which address I inclose herewith.

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 398.—Translation.]

President Lerdo’s address.

[From the Two Republics of April 3.]

The national Congress assembled on the 1st instant, and was opened by the following address from President Lerdo:

Citizen Deputies and Senators: The meeting of Congress on the days designated by the fundamental law is always an event worthy of being celebrated. It is not only in normal times a new evidence of the regular march of the institutions, but, when any [Page 396] disorder occurs, it is a new proof that the observance of the laws will be maintained, the only means of insuring the prosperity and progress of society.

“It is very satisfactory that Congress opens the second period of its sessions, in which, besides giving attention to what may require legislative action, it will have to devote itself, with the preference which the constitution establishes to the examination of the annual budget, so important in relation to all the branches of the public service.

“The international relations which Mexico cultivates are happily preserved in the greatest harmony. Conducting itself in everything with equity, the government will take care to maintain and extend these relations in a spirit of cordial good-will.

“In conformity with the convention of the 4th of July, 1868, the mixed commission established in Washington has finished its labors. Their final result cannot as yet be known, as the commission having disagreed in many cases, it has been necessary to submit their opinions to the decision of the arbiter, whose duties will terminate next June.

“In internal affairs there is to be lamented the fact that the public peace in certain localities has been disturbed. This occurred just when it was possible to assure the public that the bands existing in Michoacan for a year past were destroyed to such an extent that the events in other places have not been sufficient up to the present time to revive them.

“With some exceptions, the same persons who have already taken part in various other disturbances of the public order figure among the revolutionists. Neither laws of amnesty for past acts, nor the full enjoyment of social rights and guarantees, nor even the kindness with which they have frequently been treated, have been sufficient to restrain them from seeking to place themselves above the laws.

“The government has not only a strict duty to perform in combating the rebellion under all circumstances, but it has also a firm conviction that the time has passed in which those who appealed to the force of arms could prevail, a conviction in favor of respecting the laws being now general, as also the good disposition of the laboring and respectable citizens, who know how to appreciate the benefits of peace obtained through the enjoyment of a just liberty. With the efficient aid of the representatives of the people and the co-operation of the State authorities, it will be possible in a short time to repress the recent disturbances, as has been lately done in certain places, by the discipline, the valor, and loyalty of the national army, which has given so many proofs of its republican virtues.

“The executive has demonstrated his desire to use as little as possible the power which Congress thought proper to concede to him. In regard to supplying men for the army, far from its increase, he resolved upon its diminution, and had commenced to carry it into effect when the insurrection of the Sierra of Oaxaca occurred, which was developed from incidental causes. In respect to public expenses, notwithstanding their considerable increase in order to combat the revolutionists of Michoacan during one year, by means of strict economy the idea of new contributions was not entertained until, circumstances made the imposition of a tax inevitable, which it was sought to make just in its basis and in the manner of collecting it.

“In spite of the obstacles occasioned by circumstances, improvements of public interest already commenced have been carried on as far as said obstacles would permit. Care has likewise been taken to give attention as far as possible to the different branches of the public service.

“The constant conduct of the government has been well known, protecting the exercise of every liberty and respecting all opinions. It can be affirmed that the emission of ideas, especially by the press, has never had greater freedom. With the firm purpose of complying with the laws, and of causing them to be obeyed, the government will omit no means whatever which may have for their object the protection of the liberty of the people in the legitimate exercise of all their rights.

“It is very pleasant to see the national Congress assembled anew, which, animated as ever by patriotism, will endeavor to act in its deliberations with the most exalted intelligence for the public good.”