Mr. Motley to Mr. Seward

No. 120.]

Sir: The session of the Reichsrath was closed on Thursday, the 27th instant, with the usual formalities, in the hall of ceremonies of the imperial palace, the speech from the throne being read by the Archduke Lewis Victor, the Emperor’s youngest brother, as “alter ego” of the sovereign.

The speech was as follows:

Honored Members of the Reichsrath: The honorable charge is conferred upon me of solemnly closing, in the name of his Imperial Royal Apostolic Majesty, the present session of the Reichsrath. In doing this, I greet you, archdukes, princes of the imperial house, illustrious and honored gentlemen of both houses of the Reichsrath. Before all, it is incumbent on me to discharge an agreeable duty in expressing our most gracious Emperor’s entire appreciation of the patriotic zeal and the unwearied activity which has been displayed, as well in the committees as in the assemblies of both houses, during the discussion of many important subjects.

“Recognizing the influence which the stimulation of traffic and of industry [Page 35] exerts on the universal welfare, a great part of your activity was devoted to the discussion of such projects as had for their object the furtherance of industrial activity in the interior, the establishment of the legal protection necessary for the same, and the auxiliary support on the part of the government for undertakings which are to be regarded as the most effective means for promoting industrial and natural production, trade and manufacture.

“The reasons which have induced you, after a careful and intelligent examination, to adopt the new commercial treaty with the states of the German Zollverein have guided likewise the decision of his Majesty in signing it. We may indulge the hope that, with a fresh and courageous exertion of the industrial energy and intelligence of the country, and by rapidly and prudently making use of the advantages presented by the treaty, this work will conduce essentially to the augmentation of the prosperity of the empire.

“Through laudable and mutual harmony of action in both houses, many laws necessary for the requirements of the national household have been passed, especially the finance law for 1865. The determination exhibited during the discussion of this law to observe, in the appropriation of the means at command for the necessities of the state, an economy reaching to that limit which cannot be overstepped without weakening the strength of the monarchy, and its position towards the external world, deserve a thorough appreciation.

“The maintenance of the universal European peace, which was always the task of the imperial government, will continue to be the object of its earnest endeavor.

“In the Schleswig-Holstein question, his Majesty, in harmony with his Majesty’s illustrious ally, the King of Prussia, will seek to bring the same to a solution such as is required by the interests of Germany and the position of Austria.

“Weighty reasons, which touch the general interests, and which, on that account, have found patriotic and eloquent expression in the assembly of both houses, demand the speedy convocation of the legal representatives of the people in the eastern parts of the empire, and bring with them the necessity of pretermitting the discussion of the finance law for the year 1866 in this session.

“Most serene, most worthy, illustrious, highly honored gentlemen: The satisfaction created by the thought of your intelligent, patriotic labors does not diminish the deeply cherished aspiration that a common discussion of the laws, duties, and interests which are common to all the kingdoms and provinces, may in the near future throw a firm bond of union around all the peoples of this empire. This hope is rooted in a recognition of the vital conditions of the monarchy; it is rooted in the noble feelings of true love and attachment to the throne and the fatherland.

“Where a hope rests on such firm ground, that which now finds expression as a warm wish will, with the aid of God, soon ripen to the glad announcement of a completed fact.”

It would be superfluous to make comments on the foregoing speech, further than to call your attention to the fact that it contains no distinct indication of the future policy of the government, while, perhaps, as significant a criticism as any other could be derived from the absence in it of any allusion to the “constitution.”

It has also not escaped notice that among the new ministers—whose appointment was officially announced on the day after the prorogation of the Reichsrath—no name is to be found that has been identified with the February patent.

I subjoin the list of the incoming administration, so far as published:

Count Mensdorff, foreign affairs and imperial household.

Count Beleredi, minister of state and president of the council of ministers.

Count Larisch, minister of finance.

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Mr. De Komers, minister of justice for all the kingdoms and provinces not belonging to the Hungarian crown.

Mr. De Franck, minister of war.

Mr. De Maylath, chancellor of Hungary.

Count Haller, chancellor for Transylvania.

Count Maurice Esterhazy, minister without portfolio.

What would seem thus far to be certain is, that the theory of forfeiture by the Hungarians and the other people beyond the Leither of their old constitutions, in consequence of the troubles of 1848, has been abandoned, and that the known political opinions of the new ministers furnish a guarantee of as large a measure of autonomy to those kingdoms as is consistent with any form of substantial imperial union.

The cabinet has obviously been constructed upon what is here called a federal, as opposed to a centralistic basis.

I say nothing to-day of Schleswig-Holstein. There is a general feeling, however, that affairs between Austria and Prussia are at last approaching a crisis, and the result of the special mission of Count Bloome, Austrian minister at Munich, to the King of Prussia, now at the bath of Gastein, in Styria, is looked forward to with some anxiety. It would be useless to deny that there is a wide and deep dissatisfaction felt in this empire at the position of things in the Elbe duchies, and the bitterness between Austria and Prussia is increasing every day.

I have the honor to remain, sir, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, &c., &c., &c.