to Mr. Evarts.
Lisbon , April 9, 1879. (Received April 26.)
Sir: On the 1st instant the Diario do Governo contained a proclamation of the King promulgating a law passed by the Cortes on the 29th March last, immediately raising the import duty on all tobacco about 20 per cent. The bill is full of technicality, and therefore I do not send a translation of the whole of it; but I forward herewith, for the information of the Department, translations of the first two articles of the said law, which are the only ones having any interest for foreign nations. The measure is purely a financial one, and while the government strongly [Page 901] advocate it as wise and needful, the opposition regard it with unfavorable eyes, as they assert that the great increase of duty will lead to a serious loss of revenue from the two causes of increased expenses of collection and smuggling. This bill was so long before the Cortes, and its passage so seemingly inevitable, that an unusually large quantity of tobacco, both manufactured and unmanufactured, has been hurried through the customs to take advantage of the old rate of duty; it is said, to the value of more than a million dollars.
I have, &c.,