Mr. Sanford to Mr. Seward.

No. 417.]

Sir: The commission on the organization of the means of defence of Belgium not having yet come to a conclusion, the budget of the war department on the basis of previous years, to be subsequently modified according to the report of the commission, has been presented, and passed both chambers without great opposition. A certain number of members are opposed to a considerable standing army, and vainly combat, each session, on grounds of expediency as well as of economy, the principle that a small neutral state should keep up a large permanent army. So far as I can learn the probabilities are that the plan likely to be agreed upon by the commission will give for the defence of the country a minimum force of about 120,000 men in case of necessity.

The ministry have experienced a defeat in the Senate, which, by a vote of 39 to 12, rejected the abrogation of article 1781 of the code civil (announced in the discourse from the throne, and which had passed the house of representatives,) by which, in disputes between servants or workmen and their masters respecting wages, the affirmation of the latter is received as testimony by the court.

This result will not affect the status of the cabinet, and is more likely to help it in the next elections.

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


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