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Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward. No. 1142.]


London, February 1, 1866. SIR: I have to acknowledge the reception of despatches from the department numbered from 1649 to 1660, inclusive.

The new Parliament assembles this day. But as some time is commonly absorbed in the process of qualifying the members and perfecting the organization of the House of Commons, the formal opening by the Queen will not take place until Tuesday of next week.

The doubts respecting the continuance of the present ministry increase instead of diminishing. The duration of the Parliament itself is also much questioned on account of its connection with the project of a reform bill; for, whether the ministry succeed, or whether they fail in their measure, in either case an appeal to the country for a new organization seems to be equally likely. I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward. No. 1145.]


London, February 1, 1866. SIR: In connection with my despatch No. 1138, of the 26th of January, I now transmit a copy of Lord Clarendon's note of the 29th, in acknowledgment of mine of the 24th of the same month. I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

Earl Clarendon to Mr. Adams.

FOREIGN OFFICE, January 29, 1866. Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 24th instant, and in reply I beg to state that her Majesty's government will gladly co-operate with you in establishing the truth, not only as regards the Shenandoah, but in whatever may tend to render clear and practical the obligations of neutral nations. I have the honor to be, &c., &c.,


Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.

No. 1680.]


Washington, February 6, 1866. Sie : Your despatch of the 18th of January, No. 1132, has been received. The survey you have made of the political situation in Great Britain is very interesting Your account of agitation in Ireland is especially so. The intelligence heretofore received from that country was calculated to make the impression that Ireland was remaining tranquil, and even unconcerned, under the excitement of the politicians who, on both sides of the ocean, are engaged in contests aboạt her rights and remedies.

Reform and progress, of necessity, always are and must be subjects of political controversies in free countries. I shall look with deep interest to the result of the projected measures which are supposed to have been matured by Earl Russell. I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward.

[Extract.] No. 1147.]


London, February 8, 1866. SIR : Parliament was formally opened by the Queen in person on the 6th instant. The attendance was very large, and the popular interest in the proceedings was marked by the great crowd in the streets. The speech was read by the lord chancellor. A copy is herewith transmitted.

The debates in the two houses on the customary motions for an address were almost entirely confined to the subject of the cattle plague. Hence they furnish no clue to the precise strength of parties in those bodies.

There has been another modification of the ministry, caused by the retirement of Sir Charles Wood from the head of the India board. The effect has been to advance the Marquis of Hartington, eldest son of the Duke of Devonshire, to the head of the War Office, and a consequent place in the cabinet. The subsequent shifting of subordinate officers has had the effect of developing two new rules of action. The first is that a younger class of men are selected for rapid advancement. The second, that the selection is leaning more and more towards the advanced class of liberal opinions, rather than to the conservative wing. I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

Her Majesty's most gracious speech to both houses of Parliament, on Tuesday, February 6, 1866.

MY LORDS AND GENTLEMEN: It is with great satisfaction that I have recourse to your assistance and advice.

I have recently declared my consent to a marriage between my daughter, Princess Helena, and Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein Souderbourg-Augustenburg. I trust this union may be prosperous and happy.

The death of my beloved uncle, the King of the Belgians, has affected me with profound grief. I feel great confidence, however, that the wisdom which he evinced during his reign will animate his successor, and preserve for Belgium ber independence and prosperity.

My relations with foreign powers are friendly and satisfactory, and I see no cause to fear any disturbance of the general peace.

The meeting of the fleets of France and England, in the ports of the respective countries, has tended to cement the amity of the two nations, and to prove to the world their friendly concert in the promotion of peace.

I have observed with satisfaction that the United States, after terminating successfully the severe struggle in which they were so long engaged, are wisely repairing the ravages of civil war. The abolition of slavery is an event calling forth the cordial sympathies and cougratulations of this country, which has always been foremost in showing its abhorrence of an institution repugnant to every feeling of justice and humanity.

I bave, at the same time, the satisfaction to inform you that the exertions and perseverance of my naval squadron have reduced the slave trade on the west coast of Africa within very narrow limits.

A correspondence has taken place between my government and that of the United States with respect to iujuries inflicted on American commerce by cruisers under the confederate flag. Copies of this correspondence will be laid before you.

The renewal of diplomatic relations with Brazil has given me much satisfaction. And I acknowledge with pleasure that the good offices of my ally, the King of Portugal, have contributed essentially to this happy result.

I have to regret the interruption of peace between Spain and Chili. The good offices of my government, in conjunction with those of the government of the Emperor of the French, have been accepted by Spain, and it is my earnest hope that the causes of disagreement may be removed in a manner honorable and satisfactory to both countries.

The negotiations which have been long pending in Japan, and which have been conducted with great ability by my minister in that country, in conjunction with the representatives of my allies in Japan, have been brought to a conclusion which merits my entire approbation. The existing treaties have been ratified by the Mikado ; it has been stipulated that the tariff shall be revised in a manner favorable to commerce, and that the indeinnity due under the terms of the convention of October, 1864, shall be punctually discharged.

I have coucluded a treaty of commerce with the Emperor of Austria, which I trust will open to that empire the blessings of extended commerce, and be productive of important benefits to both couutries.

The deplorable events which have occurred in the island of Jamaica bave induced me to provide at once for an impartial inquiry, and for the due maintenance of authority during ihat inquiry, by appointing a distinguished military officer as governor and commander of the forces. I have given the assistance of two able and learned commissioners, who will aid him in examining into the origin, nature and circumstances of the recent outbreak, and the measures adopted in the course of its suppression. The legislature of Jamaica has proposed that the present political constitution of the island should be replaced by a new form of government. A bill upon this subject will be submitted for your consideration.

Papers on these occurrences wiil be laid before you.
Papers on the present state of New Zealand will be laid before you.

I have given directions for the return to this country of the greater portion of my regular forces employed in that colony.

I watch with interest the proceedings which are still in progress in British North America, with a view to a closer union among the provinces, and I continue to attach great importance to that object.

I have observed with great concern the extensive prevalence during the last few months of a virulent distemper among cattle in Great Britain, and it is with deep regret, and with sincere sympathy for the sufferers, that I have learned the severe losses which it has caused in many counties and districts. It is satisfactory to know that Ireland and a considerable part of Scotland are as yet free from this calamity, and I trust that by the precautions suggested by experience, and by the divine blessing on the means which are now being em. ployed, its further extension may be arrested.

The orders which have been made by the lords of my privy council, by virtue of the powers vested in them by law, with a view to prevent the spreading of this disease, will be laid before you, and your attention will be called to the expediency of an amendment of the law relating to a subject so deeply affecting the interests of my people.

GENTLEMEN OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS: I have directed that the estimates of the ensuing year shall be laid before you. They have been prepared with a due regard to economy, and are at the same time consistent with the maintenance of ethiciency in the public service.

The condition of trade is satisfactory.

MY LORDS ani) GENTLEMEN: A conspiracy, adverse alike to anthority, property, and religion, and disapproved and condemned alike by all who are interested in their maintenance, without distinction of creed or class, has unhappily appeared in Ireland. The constitutional power of the ordinary tribunals has been exerted for its repression, and the authority of the law has been firmly and impartially vindicated.

A bill will be submitted to you, founded on the report of the royal commission on the subject of capital punishment, which I have directed to be laid before you.

Bills will be laid before you for amending and consolidating the laws relating to bankruptcy, and for other improvements in the law.

Measures will also be submitted to you for extending the system of public audit to branches of receipt and expenditure which has not hitherto reaclied, and for amending the provisions of the law with respect to certain classes of legal pensions.

Your attention will be called to the subject of the oaths taken by members of Parliament, with a view to avoid unnecessary declarations, and to remove invidious distinctions between members of different religious communities in matters of legislation.

I have directed that informatiou should be procured in reference to the rights of voting in the election of members to serve in Parliament for counties, cities, and boronghs.

When that information is complete, the attention of Parliament will be called to the result thus obtained, with a view to such improvements in the laws which regulate the rights of voting in the election of members of the House of Commons as may tend to strengthen our free iustitutions, and conduce to the public welfare.

In these and in all other deliberations, I fervently pray that the blessing of Almighty God may guide your counsels to the promotion of the happiness of my people.

Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.

No. 1684.]


Washington, February 12, 1866. Sir: I enclose for your information a copy of a note* of the 9th instant, which I addressed to Sir Frederick W. A. Bruce, relative to the contents of a note, * a copy of which is also enclosed, of the 19th ultimo, upon the subject of the Shenandoah, from Lord Clarendon, who instructed Sir Frederick to communicate it to me. obedient servant,


I am, sir, your

Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams.



Washington, February 14, 1866. Sir: Your confidential letter of the 21st of December arrived here at a time when I was abroad on a short excursion for health to the West Indies. Accumulated correspondence has delayed the attention which I should have been pleased to have given to your letters at an earlier day since my return. I give to this

paper, which has been submitted to the President, the form of a confi. dential reply, upon which you will act in every case in your consideration. There is not one member of this government, and, so far as I know, not one citizen of the United States, who expects that this country will waive, in any case, the demands that we have heretofore made upon the British government for the redress of wrongs committed in violation of international law. I think that the country would be equally unanimous in declining every form of negotiation that should have in view merely prospective regulations of national intercourse, so long as the justice of our existing claims for indemnity is denied by her Majesty's government, and these claims are refused to be made subject of friendly but impartial examination. I am, sir, your obedient servant,

WILLIAM H. SEWARD. Charles FRANCIS ADAMS, Esq., 8c., c., fr.

Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward.

No. 1150.)


London, February 15, 1866. Sir: I have to acknowledge the reception of despatches from the department, numbered from 1663 to 1673, inclusive.

In accordance with the desire expressed in your No. 1669, of the 29th of January, I have communicated with Mr. Dudley, the consul at Liverpool, on the subject of the extraordinary rumor respecting the mission of Mr. Waterhouse to sell eighty rebel vessels at Liverpool. Mr. Dudley agrees with me in opinion as to the absurdity of it. But he has promised to be on the lookout for such a gentleman, and his objects, whatever they may be. I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward. No. 1151.]

LEGATION OF THE United States,

London, February 15, 1866. Sir: On a closer examination of the contents of the parliamentary document containing the correspondence relative to the Shenandoah, than I had been able to give at the moment when I transmitted copies to you last week, I find, to my surprise, that Lord Clarendon, immediately after my conversation with him of the 20th of December last, reported by me to you partly in my despatch No. 1112, of the 21st of the same month, and partly in a confidential letter, sent to Sir Frederick Bruce, in a despatch dated the 21st of that month, instructions formally to submit to you the same proposition which he had presented to me in that conference, and wbich I had then suggested to him not to offer in that way. The objection to this course, as necessitating you at the outset to bring forward the obstacle presented in the impossibility of abandoning our claims, and in their absolute rejection of them, was so obvious that I saw no method of reaching any useful result excepting through an informal preliminary tentative process, absolutely committing neither party, by which some notion might be reached of the precise extent to which each was willing publicly to go in order to reach some common ground of negotiation. From a few words that dropped from his lordship in our conversation, I rather inferred that he had in his mind the possibility of making concessions of some sort from the position taken by Lord Russell, provided they should not appear derogatory to the national dignity. This was the only thing that gave me the smallest hope of making something out of his overture. But that hope appears to be entirely destroyed by the course now resorted to. The language of his letter to Sir F. Bruce clearly implies that recurrence to the past makes no part of his plan. If this be the true meaning, then the British government will have done nothing to emerge from its former awkward position, of soliciting protection for itself in certain future emergencies against the hazard of a retort of its own past policy, without conceding that it had failed in any of its own obligations heretofore. We are expected to abandon the whole ground of the justice of our complaints at the same time that we shut ourselves off from all future chance of profiting by their own policy, thus conceded to have been permissible under the existing state of international law. The public presentation of such an overture, if attended with no private explanation, would seem, therefore, only like inviting a formal reply, which would more completely than ever block up the last avenue to reconciliation.

Of course, I write without knowledge of any instructions that may have accompanied this letter to Sir Frederick Bruce. Hence, there may be something unseen by me to soften the character of this transaction. But from my point of view I am at a loss to explain the reasons for it excepting in one way. It may be that the cabinet were unwilling to meet the new Parliament without having something or other to show in qualification of the absolute and abrupt stopper put upon the whole matter by Lord Russell. That step is very generally felt to have been a mistake. It may be that this is the mode chosen by which to appear to retract it, and at the same time to throw upon us an absolute necessity of assuming the same position. It is scarcely possible to believe, after their experience of the last four years, they could imagine us not in earnest in maintaining the stand we had chosen to take, and not likely to abandon it from the force of opposition. Hence the answer to a proposition publicly made in the form chosen by Lord Clarendon could scarcely have been expected to be other than an equally formal negative. Consequently, the end sought must have been, that what odium might attach in this country to the fact of shutting off the last avenue to a settlement of existing difficulties would be shifted from them to us.

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