to Mr. Frelinghuysen.
Buenos Ayres , May 6, 1884. (Received June 30.)
Sir: The annual session of the Argentine Congress was opened today, with all the accustomed formalities, by the President reading his message to both houses assembled in the Chamber of Deputies.
The President congratulated Congress that its session opens in the midst of peace and order and free from foreign difficulties and internal troubles, and the country that it has entered into a regular channel in the exercise of federal institutions and liberty, no longer incumbered by mutiny and disturbance.
The message is quite long, but it contains a plain, clear statement of facts in relation to all the departments of Government.
The President, in dealing with the subject of colonization, expresses himself in favor of making effective the promises of the law of 1876 by Government aid in founding colonies in the remote parts of the national territory, and states that during the year 1883 73,240 immigrants, nearly all farmers, landed in this country, at their own expense, over 19,000 in the first quarter of the current year, and he looks forward to the arrival of 80,000 immigrants before the end of 1884.
In relation to the extension and construction of railways, the President informs Congress that they have proceeded with great activity, and he makes special mention of the railway to Bahia Blanca, which has put the capital in direct communication with the first of ports on the Atlantic, crossing a vast belt of fertile land which till lately was overrun by the Indians of the prairies; and, notwithstanding the great difficulties encountered in the construction of the Andine Railway, the rails had reached the foot of the mountains, and the road would soon be opened to the public service.
It appears from the message that within the last year 1,249 kilometers of telegraph lines have been constructed, and that the postal revenue increased 22½ per cent, over 1882.
Under the head of foreign affairs the President states that the Republic is in the most perfect peace; that the foreign ministers here, by their rank and personal prestige, do very much towards strengthening the friendly relations which his Government cultivates with all nations; that it appears that the west coast struggle has finally closed most disastrously for the conquered; that the Republic strictly adhered to the strict neutrality policy which was adopted on the breaking out of the war; and that in a few days he would receive the new Peruvian minister sent by the Government of General Iglesias, who, to his mind, possesses all the attributes to entitle him to be duly received and acknowledged.
In treating on the subject of finance the President says it is with pleasure he informs Congress that this branch of the administration marches hand in hand with the progress and development of the country; that the Government bonds have reached the very highest quotations, and that the debt is well consolidated in the European market.
The general revenue of the nation for the year 1883 amounted to $30,050,195, which amount, when compared with that of 1882, shows an increase of 12½ per cent.; also, that the account for the first three months of the present year proves that the increase has not only been sustained but considerably developed.[Page 3]
The expenditures during 1883 amounted to $29,388,761, being $666,434 less than the total revenue.
The aggregate tonnage of the foreign trade was 3,696,413 tons of goods and products, which represent, according to official valuation, $147,596,000, being an increase of nearly $26,000,000 over the former year.
The imports have exceeded the exports, but that has been caused by the heavy importation of materials for the making of ports and railways.
The consolidated debt at the end of 1883 was $106,427,311, and its service has always been attended to with the greatest punctuality.
The sum coined for the Government by the mint: Gold, 1,195,295 pieces, representing $5,976,452; silver, 9,064,380 pieces, representing $2,710,639.50; copper, 2,370,536 pieces, with a value of $38,470.39.
After treating on the subject of public instruction, normal and common schools, to which the Government has given much attention, and which are rapidly increasing and are well supported, the President closes his message by stating “he has just finished reading his message with the satisfaction of the purest patriotism, and to a certain degree with pride, not for the progress already achieved, which as yet is but faintly traced as a nation, but as the happy augury of a very grand future for the Argentine-Republic, as we often in the morning clouds catch a glimpse of the grand mountains not far off. It would neither be just nor pious for him to conclude the solemn act without offering up gratitude to the Almighty for the moral and material favors which His infinite kindness has showered down on the country.”
I have, &c.,