to Mr. Evarts.
Lisbon, January 3, 1878. (Received January 20.)
Sir: I have the honor to report that the last annual session of the present Cortes was opened yesterday by the King in person, and I inclose’ herewith a printed copy of the speech delivered then by His Majesty to both houses, together with a translation of the same.
This speech gives a brief statement of the present condition of the kingdom, and recommends certain legislation for the better development of trade. The construction of an artificial harbor near Oporto, where the Douro is becoming unnavigable for large vessels owing to an accumulation of sand on the entrance bar, and of more roads in the interior of the country, are the chief measures submitted for the consideration of the Cortes. The necessity for prompt action in regard to Oporto is acknowledged on all hands, and unless something be soon done, either to restore the navigation of the Lower Douro or create an artificial harbor near Oporto, the trade of that place will sink into comparative insignificance.
The financial situation of the country is not encouraging; the total obligations including the floating debt of £6,000,000, is nearly £90,000,000. [Page 740] The amount set aside far the payment of interest is £2,700,000, or about 45 per cent, of the present revenue of £5,600,000; and the government expenditure averages £3,100,000 per annum.
I have, &c.,