Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward

No. 1094.]

Sir: Two or three events have occurred this week which give a slight clue to the future character of the ministry.

The first of these is the retirement of Sir Robert Peel from the post of secretary for Ireland, and the transfer to that place of Mr. Chichester Fortescue, heretofore the assistant secretary in the colonial office.

The second is the retirement of Mr. William Hutt from the vice-presidency of the Board of Trade, and the appointment of Mr. Goschen, one of the representatives of the city of London, in his place.

Two vacancies yet remain unfilled: the chancellorship of the duchy of Lancaster, and the second post in the colonial office. It has been intimated to me that Mr. Forster has been in communication with the prime minister with a view to his acceptance of some post. He has certainly been in town, though I have not seen him. But I very much doubt whether he would consent to take anything that will be likely to be offered to him.

All these incidents, however, look one way. They signify a preference for the support of the liberal section of the majority with an intention to assume some positive form of policy. It is rumored that a measure to extend the franchise is already in agitation, and will be matured during the interval before the assembly of the new Parliament for business in February. There can be no doubt that this will be the signal for a struggle of more or less severity, involving a material modification of parties.

Thus far no indication has been given of the precise nature of the measure about to be proposed. It is not unlikely that this policy may be persevered in for the sake of narrowing the time for the preparation of entangling embarrassments by the opposition.

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


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.