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to continue hostilities, and to continue them with redoubled energy ; this is my immutable resolution. I rely upon the general assembly for the most firm and loyal co-operation in sustaining the national ho. nour and glory, lest they suffer in this affair.
With respect to the internal af. fairs, I congratulate myself and this assembly upon the order and tranquillity which reign in all the pro. vinces of this empire, which convinces me in the highest degree, the monarchial constitutional regimen is rapidly strengthening.
I again call the attention of the chambers to the administration of
finance and justice, which I so much recommended to their cares in the late session.
The finances and public credit will receive a beneficial impulse from the law for funding the public debt but very prompt and efficient legislative measures are necessary to harmonize the different branches of their administration. The judicial power has not yet received the least improvement, and it is urgently necessary that in the course of this session it should be regulated according to the principles of the constitution of the empire; that judgment may be awarded on constitutional principles, which, insuring to my subjects the security of property which the constitution gua. ranties to them under this head, will cause them to bless the sys. tem, and assist me to maintain it. The ministers and secretaries of state will present to the chambers, with the exactness compatible with the actual circumstances, the state of the various branches of the administration.
I expect from the loyalty and wisdom of this assembly, as well
as from every individual who com. poses it, the most perfect harmony and mutual confidence between it and the government. Upon this perfect harmony and mutual confidence, which on the part of the government will be unalterable, I boldly say, depends the welfare of the constitutional system, the orderly march of administration, and the national property, on which last rests the glory of my imperial throne. The session is opened.
Constitutional emperor and perpetual defender of Brazil.
MESSAGE TO ASSEMBLY, APRIL, 1829. August and worthy Representatives
of the Brazilian Nation,
"The depreciation of the notes of the Bank of Brazil, so injurious to the interests of the state, as well as detrimental to the developement of public wealth, has occupied the attention of the General Legislative Assembly, during the two last sessions. In both, the superabundance or excessive amount of notes in circulation was acknowledged as the cause of that same depreciation; or rather of the agio of metallic specie ; of the fall in the exchange; of the rise in all kinds of merchandise; of the increase in some branches of the national expenditure; of the afflictions endured by numerous families; of the shifts to which the public functionaries are driven, as well as of private misery.
"The law of the 15th November, 1827, by prohibiting new issues on the part of the bank, and authorizing the calling in of 6,000 contos, at least, of the notes in circulation, most assuredly would have diminished, if not removed, that cause, if the means pointed out for the buying up or exchange of those
notes had not failed when reduced to practice, it being found impossible to sell government securities at par, bearing an interest of five per cent., according to the terms of article 22 of the said law. As, therefore, the means of calling in the notes became impracticable, the prohibition of fresh issues could not of itself suffice to repress the influence of the superabundance already existing and acknowledged.
"During the last session, the General Assembly had occasion to observe that, notwithstanding for six or eight months the amount of notes in circulation had been stationary, the difficulty on that account was not the less aggravated. The value of the precious metals did not cease to rise, and the rate of exchange to fall; whilst, as no legislative measure was enacted before the close of the session, in order efficaciously to remedy the cause of the evil, it was consequently to be expected and feared that it would go on increasing.
be, delivered over to the bank. At the same time the government endeavoured to interest the board of bank directors in the urgent operation of calling in the notes, by allowing, for that purpose, only the sale of the precious metals existing in its own coffers, and requiring the pledge of a real aid and intervention in the enterprise of calling in as far as four thousand contos of notes. Documents No. 2 to 6 contain the correspondence, which, on this subject, passed between the treasury and the bank.
"Finally, from the month of October in last year, the government resolved not to issue, as in fact it has not done up to the present moment, any amount in bills of exchange from this place on Lon. don, or beyond the territory of the empire, at the same time taking every due measure for the exact and necessary payment of the Brazilian and Portuguese loans, contracted in England, in the manner that will be made known to the Assembly in due season.
Although these measures sustained the exchange at 30, during the two last months in the past year, they could not, nevertheless, any longer answer the end for which they were proposed, and the go. vernment beheld with regret the inefficiency of the means left at its disposal to dispel the torrent of discredit attending the bank paper. In a word, the agio which in January, 1828, was, in reference to cop. per, silver, and gold, 20, 48, and 100 per cent., now became 40, 110, and 190; whilst the exchange, which was then at 32, fell as low as 20, and scarcely has it, at this present time, attained 23, as may be seen from document No. 7; and this at a moment when the
"The government, aware of the impending calamity, in time busied itself to adopt preventive measures. After hearing the opinion of the Council of State, it began to purchase notes of the bank, in order to withdraw them from circulation, agreeably to the 1st section of article 21 of the aforesaid law of 15th November, confirmed by the decree of the 20th of August in last year; and, as shown by document No. 1, it was able to sell, in December in last year, and January in the current one, as far as the amount of 1,934,600,000 reis of government securities, bearing an interest of 6 per cent., which, at the price of 65, produced 1,257,490,000 reis, which, already have, or shortly will
amount of notes in circulation, far from having been increased, has, on the contrary, experienced some reduction, owing to the calling in of them, which had already commen. ced.
"In the opinion of the government, this phenomenon is no other than the necessary effect of the cause itself, so long ago acknow. ledged, and at present aggravated by some excess of importation; by the late effort in the slave trade; by the forced issue of copper money, and by the failure of speculations, encouraged by the war and spoiled by the peace.
"Document No. 8, exhibiting the annual revenue of the custom house in this city, from the month of January, 1825, to the 26th of March, in the current year, shows, in the year 1828, compared with 1827, an increase of revenue equal to 1,775,350,167 reis, which supposes an excess of imports amounting to 11,836,000,000 reis, calculat. ing the duties at 15 per cent., and, at the same time, barring contra. band and favourable valuations; whereas, on the other hand, document No. 9, exhibiting the annual revenue of the Export Board, dur. ing the same period, only shows in the year 1828, compared with 1827, an increase of 80,928,577 reis, which supposes an excess of exports amounting to 4,046,000,000 reis, duties being levied at 2 per cent. ; and it is not to be presumed that the contraband articles, including precious stones and metals, can scarcely amount to the difference of 7,990,000,000 reis resulting in favour of the importation.
"Document No. 10, containing a return of the slaves imported into this place from January, 1820, to the 26th of March in the current
that establishment; and to remove all doubt of its being possible to remedy, without sacrifices to the state, the evils arising out of a cir. culation devoid of credit. The report has been printed and submitted to the consideration of the General Assembly, and the members of the committee who presented it are deserving of public acknowledgment for the zeal with which they served and the difficulties which they overcame.
"It is therefore unquestionable that the primary cause of the existing calamity is the superabundance of notes; it is, consequently, our duty to withdraw them as soon as possible. And as it cannot be expected that the bank will be able to realize so expensive an operation, the state is bound to do it, since the state is a debtor to the bank; and the national credit, which cannot sustain itself on any other basis than justice and good faith, is highly implicated in its circulating medium.
guish the debt of the government to the Bank.
"The government, convinced of the solidity of the reasons above manifested, cannot but deplore the nature of the means which appear obvious and efficient for this operation of paying off the discredited notes. They are these-1st. To contract a loan in specie, sufficient to cover the amount of the notes lent to the government by the bank, by applying new branches of the revenue for the gradual extinction of the same. 2dly. To convert the notes into paper-money of a different standard, that they may circulate throughout the whole empire, by assigning fresh capitals, in order gradually to pay it off; and, 3dly, to sell national property and impose heavy taxes, in order that the proceeds may, in a few years, extin
"Since, therefore, the sacrifice is necessary, and that it becomes imperative, under present circumstances, to avail ourselves of some one of the means pointed out, the government is persuaded that the first is not so dangerous as the second, nor so onerous as the third; and it is besides fully sensible of the necessity of taking measures for the administration and settlement of the affairs of the bank, by supporting and securing the circulation of its notes, guaranteeing its deposits, and by obtaining for the sharehold. ers a reasonable profit. I have resolved to draw up, and, by his majesty the Emperor's orders, I have the honour to submit to you the following:
Art. 1. The Bank of Brazil shall be administered by a commission of seven members, four of whom shall be appointed by the government, and three by a majority of votes of a general assembly of the said bank. The government will select the president of the commis. sion from among the seven members, and the said assembly shall fix the monthly remuneration which shall be due to their services. As soon as the commission is installed, all the existing agreements with the bank shall cease.
Art. 2. The directing commission shall by incessantly engaged-first, in withdrawing from circulation all notes which are payable at the bank, or may have a metallic cur. rency; secondly, in ascertaining the exact number of notes in circulation, substituting for them new ones, which shall be signed by two members; thirdly, in winding up all the accounts of the bank, and especially those relating to the debt
of government: fourthly, in liquida. ting all the regular transactions of the bank, which may be found still pending; fifthly, in receiving the active credits of the bank, and liquidating the passive ones forthwith; and sixthly, in examining the state of the Bahia Orphans' Fund, and of St. Paul, and to liquidate both with speed.
Art. 3. The government shall give to the directing commission the necessary instructions, and will decide on cases of doubt, which may occur in the execution of the preceding article.
Art. 4. The nation shall ac knowledge the current value of the present notes of the Brazil bank, and those which may be substituted for them, so that they may freely circulate, and be received as readily as specie by the public until they are duly redeemed, in security for which the primitive funds of the bank are assigned-that is, its funds of reserve, or the metallic funds existing in its coffers, the debt of the government, the debts of private individuals to the bank, and every thing else which may constitute the credits of the bank. The deposits in the bank are also assigned as security to the public.
Art. 5. The debt of the government to the bank, before and after the liquidation by the directing commission, shall continue to pay an interest of 1 per cent., which will be given by the public treasury to the said commission, that it may be divided half-yearly among the shareholders.
Art. 6. The directing commis. sion shall render to the government a monthly account of their labours, and shall every year lay before the Legislative Assembly a state. ment of the affairs of the bank, and
of the administration of them; and when the commission has concluded the liquidation of the bank's debts and credits, and redeemed its notes, they shall distribute the ba lance which may remain among the shareholders, and then dissolve the establishment.
Art. 7. The government shall be authorized to contract a loan in gold or silver specie, equal to the three fifths of the amount of its actual debt to the bank. The produce of this loan shall be exclusively ap. plied to the purchase of notes of the said bank which are in circulation, according to the value they may be found to bear on the market and all the notes thus bought up shall have no longer any value, excepting as payment to the directing commission on account of the said debt to the bank.
Art. 8. The purchased notes from the market, which are to be cancelled and delivered to the directing commission, shall remain for the account of the Junta, and employed in the reserve fund created by the law of the 16th of November, 1827, so that they may be delivered up by the public treasury to the Junta in extinction of the said loan, in proportion as they are received.
Art. 9. The produce of the loan, authorized by the present law, shall not be applied to any purpose but that which is specified in the 7th article, on pain of the penalties attached to those who dissipate the national property; neither shall the bank note withdrawn with that produce be applied to any other purpose than that specified in that article, under pain of the same penalties.
Art. 10. (This article authorizes the Chamber of Deputies to furnish the necessary subsidies, or a suffi.