Mr. Sanford to Mr. Seward.

No. 396.]

Sir: A royal decree appears in the Moniteur of this morning appointing Lieutenant General Baron de Goethals, aide-de-camp of the King, as minister of war. This appointment has no political significance. General Goethals is an amiable and popular officer, whose duties for years past, as aide-de-camp to the Duc de Brabant, have kept him almost constantly near the court; has been identified with no party, taken no prominent part in politics, and, I believe, has never been in the national legislature.

The initiative of the appointment came from the cabinet, who recommended it to his Majesty, and, in pursuance of the course of conciliation towards the opposite party which has been adopted, I think it is of good policy.

This government, like its neighbors, is occupied with the subject of reorganization of the armed force, and of providing them more efiicient weapons, and the new minister of war will probably have to bring forward before the end of the session a plan for more effective defence, and a budget based upon it.

General Chazal, his predecessor, is now absent on a mission, having for its object to study this subject of armies and armament in other countries, and his report is looked for with interest, and will probably have* considerable influence in the decisions of the government.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,


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