to Mr. Evarts.
Buenos Ayres , May 8, 1879. (Received June 21.)
Sir: The Argentine Congress was opened the 5th instant by the reading of his message by the President of the republic, to both houses assembled.
The President and his ministers were escorted from the “Red House” to the capitol by a regiment of the line. The diplomatic corps was present by invitation.
The message is considered one of the best ever delivered to Congress, and a very fair statement of the condition of the country. The President, after congratulating Congress and the country that the republic is in the enjoyment of peace, claims that the most important fact is the great growth of the national government influence throughout the republic; and it says its orders are obeyed without delay, and its advice is received with deference; and that this respect is the basis of public order.
In treating of the finances of the country he states that the consolidated debt, both home and foreign, has been scrupulously attended to; and during the last year was paid off: of the foreign debt the sum of $2,066,000, and on the home debt $694,000, leaving on the 31st of December, 1878, the foreign debt reduced to $31,022,500, and the home debt $21,567,000.
The national revenue for 1878 amounted to the sum of $18,451,897, when it had been only estimated to reach $16,459,029, which figures show that for the first time in the history of the budgets the revenues far surpassed the estimates.
The official value of the imports and exports, for the year 1878, amounted to $77,658,278.
The budget fixed the expenditure of the government at $17,068,794, and the sum ordered to be expended by special law amounted to $6,528,615; amounting in all to $23,597,409, while the expenditure has only amounted to $20,840,118, which shows how materially the financial situation of the country has improved.
In the message the President next takes up the subject of immigration and colonization, and says that during 1878, 35,876 immigrants arrived, being an excess of 7,000 over the previous year; that the office of the [Page 22] immigration department had in the last year placed 15,079 immigrants in the fourteen provinces. That the national colonies, with their towns, number twelve, with a population of 9,000 to 10,000, while the colonies of Santa Fé—not national colonies—which tend so much to the natural wealth, have at present a population of 31,000 to 32,000 inhabitants, and that their harvest represents from two and a half to three millions dollars.
Under the head of post-office and telegraphs, it is stated that the government has ratified the Paris postal treaty, which is much better than that of Berne, and reduces the postage. That in the year 1874 the revenue, of the-post-office only covered 42 per cent. of the expenses, while in the year 1878 it covered 95 percent. That the telegraph in 1878 yielded $133,000, and disbursed $116,000, leaving a surplus of $17,000, and while up to 1876 it gave only 63 per cent. of its expenses, now yields a revenue.
The President, under the head of war office, states that this government has no war save with the Indians, and gives as the results of the expeditions against them in the last year in killed and prisoners, besides 4 chiefs and 300 captives retaken, 8,000, including warriors, women, and children, and says.: “While the establishment of Indian colonies has proved difficult in the United States, we, however, find facilities in the spirit of Christianity that prevails, among the Indians, and their ambition of an improved way of living.”
In referring to marine matters the executive says that when the Devonshire question arose it was necessary to send a division of the squadron to the Atlantic coast to defend the rights of the government; and then, for the first time, the nation showed its maritime power in the South Sea.
In speaking of foreign affairs, the President refers to the President of the United States as having decided the limits question with Paraguay, declaring Villa Occidental and its territory to belong to the latter, and says it shall be given over.
Under the same head he refers to the “limits question” with Chili, and the treaty of December last, and says that the treaty was a treaty of peace, but contained also some clauses for the decision of the “limits question”; that the negotiations now going on here are tending to complete it, and the results will be submitted to Congress.
He then speaks of the war on the West Coast and says, “We are not judges or actors in this mournful tragedy, but we are and shall be moved spectators at the sight of blood spilt, and the ruins accumulating on three sister nations,” and expresses the opinion that it will soon become the duty of this government to try all conciliating means to suppress it, if the negotiations with Chili assume a definite shape and the reciprocal relations of the government with the belligerents permit the offer of such amicable mediation.
The President closes his message by referring to political parties and the presidential campaign, and says that even yet the political parties have not sufficient education; they, do not know how to respect the peace of the country, the rights of others, and the law; and that he sincerely and firmly reiterates the solemn declaration that he has before pronounced, that he will connect himself with no candidate because, between candidature, which is simple ambition, and the strict duties imposed by government, there is no possible affinity.
I have, &c.,