No. 53.
Mr. Hilliard to Mr. Evarts.

No. 8.]

Sir: Soon after the Emperor’s return to this country from his extended tour through the United States and Europe, it was generally understood that he would make some change in the ministry, if he did not form a new cabinet, chosen from the leaders of the party who constitute the opposition to the present administration.

But immediately on the return of the Emperor, after resuming the imperial functions, the Parliament was dissolved.

While the opinion as to a contemplated change of ministry was doubtless well founded, no steps were taken by the Emperor to effect his purpose to call about him a new cabinet until quite recently.

The Duke de Caxias, chief of the ministry and minister of state for war, is quite advanced in years, and has recently been seriously ill. Some days since the Emperor made him a visit, and the duke availed [Page 63] himself of that occasion to request that he might be immediately relieved from public duties.

The other ministers, upon learning the duke’s decision to retire from his place in the government, promptly tendered their resignations. The Emperor accepted them, and requested the ministers to retain their places for a few days, that he might consider the situation and organize a new cabinet.

The resignation of the ministry is understood to have much political significance, though it will not be exhibited at this time. It is supposed that the prominent men of the conservative party would not at this time accept any appointments, even if the Emperor should invite them to do so.

The party known as the opposition has much strength in the Parliament, and the leaders would doubtless be willing to assume the task of government if places should be tendered to them by the Emperor in a cabinet representing their views. But as the Parliament is not now in session it is probable that the Emperor will form a new cabinet composed of men who do not take an active part in politics; who will hold the places and conduct the business until the opening of the session in May, 1878. It will be what is known in this country as um ministerio de transicao—a temporary cabinet.

There is a strong party in this country favorable to liberal institutions; a party of progress; a party that will yet make itself felt in reconstructing the political system of Brazil.

A gentleman of position, who is highly connected here, said to me some days since, “We should take our civilization from the United States and not from Europe.”

The success of our free political institutions is deeply felt here. The influence of our system of government, already great, must, with the growing intercourse between the United States and this country, become still more powerful.

Since my arrival I have observed with great interest the relations which our countrymen who are engaged in business here bear to the people and the Government of Brazil, and I am much gratified to know that they are regarded with respect and confidence. Their influence must be felt not only upon the commerce of the country but upon public opinion.

I learn from an authentic source that the Emperor has said since his return from his late tour that the United States is fifty years in advance of any country in Europe.

I shall probably learn in the course of a few days something definite as to the construction of the new ministry, and will, of course, inform you fully in regard to it.

I have, &c.,