No. 428.
Mr. Moran to Mr. Evarts.

No. 198.]

Sir: The Cortes terminated its sittings on the 4th instant, the session having been extended for public reasons for about a month longer than usual. There was no legislation of interest to foreign nations, and the chief measures of national importance were acts for the extension of the franchise, and for the construction of the Beira Alta Railway. It is believed that this desirable undertaking will now be prosecuted with energy, [Page 745] and that by its completion Lisbon and Paris will be brought within 48 hours of each other, a consummation which must prove highly beneficial to Portugal.

As this session of the Cortes terminates the period of four years for which the members of the second house were chosen, a fresh selection of deputies will take place during the summer.

The country is tolerably prosperous in the matter of trade and natural productions, and the recent rains have been beneficial to agriculture, except in the Algarve, where they came too late to save crops from the effects of the drought. But it is understood that the government will exert itself to relieve any widespread distress that may appear in that district.

The national finances are not in a satisfactory state. The budget for 1878–’79 presents a deficiency of more that 2,900,000 milreis, or a sum more than equal to $3,000,000 United States gold currency. And as deficiencies of this nature are of annual occurrence, and have been for more than thirty years, many patriotic people are alarmed about the future, and are devising new schemes of taxation which will, it is hoped, provide sufficient revenue for the expenses of the government, and make future financial deficiencies impossible.

I have, &c.,