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United States Department of State / Index to the executive documents of the House of Representatives for the first session of the forty-seventh Congress, 1880-'81

Brazil,   pp. 95-97 PDF (1.2 MB)

Page 96

  The senate has been for some time almost exclusively engaged in con-
sidering the new electoral reform bill, a measure of great importance.
Several articles have already been agreed to, among them one which
removes the disabilities of naturalized Brazilians and non-Catholic
subjects, and makes them for the first time eligible to office under the
imperial government.
   It is believed that the bill will be finally adopted'by a small majority.
This is a great step in the right direction, and when the measure be-
comes a law it will greatly advance the prosperity of the country.
  Another subject has engaged the attention of the senate; the rela-
tions between Brazil and the Argentine'Republic. A few days since
Senator Silvria Martens, ex-minister of finance, addressed the senate on
the subject, and referred to the threatening armament of the Argentine
Republic. He said:
  There is something which to me is worth more than direct election, than
improvements, than party, more than all else; it is the existence of our
country, the
integrity of its territory. We have a neighbor who is now armed to the teeth.
Argentine Republic has accumulated an immense supply of war material, and
President who has just retired from power boasts in articles attributed to
him that he
has made his country the first military power in South America. In their
arsenal they
have 80,000 Remington rifles; they are just now receiving eleven Krupp batteries;
they have a squadron of iron-clad torpedo boats, and in three months can
arm 100,000
men, at which I do not wonder, as they receive thousands of immigrants every
to whom, in emergencies, and without making a question of religion or nationality,
with ourselves, are intrusted banners and arms for defending their new country.
  At their front to-day is found a youthful President, a distinguished geueral
by the victories won in civil war, but ambitious of the military glory which
can only
be found in an international war in the name of the country, and not in that
of a fac-
  He proceeded to say that it was the purpose of the Argentine Repub-
lic to annex Paraguay and Uruguay, which would of course involve
Brazil in war, as Brazil is obliged by treaties to maintain the independ-
ence of those two countries.
  Mr. Saraiva, the prime minister, replied in moderate terms, admit-
ting that Brazil had been for some time dominated by the desire, al-
most exclusively, to develop the material growth of the empire, and to
make'economies that should establish an equilibrium in the budgets
without prejudice to the improvements already begun. He proceeded
to say that the material of the navy would be renewed, and attention
given to increasing the army. He added that he hoped peace would
be maintained with the Argentine Republic, as there were no ques-
tions which could disturb the relations between the two countries, and
that the armaments of the Argentine Republic could be explained by
the exigencies of its internal policy and the defense of its territory.
Appropriations will be made both for the navy and the army to make
them more efficient, There is a good deal of interest felt in this mat-
   It is rumored that the Argentine Republic has invited Brazil to in-
tervene between Chili and Peru; upon what authority- I do not know.
Count Koskull, the Russian minister, spoke to me on the subject a few
days since.
   The financial condition of Brazil is not satisfactory, though she
maintains her credit abroad, and I have. great confidence in the good
faith of the government. I feel a deep interest in the country and en-
tertain the best wishes for its prosperity.
       I have, &c.,                                      H     ...RD
            !                              HENRY W. HILLIARD,

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