No. 170.
General Schenck to Mr. Fish.

No. 438.]

Sir: In my 399 and 415 I gave you information as to the resumption of our negotiations here for a consular convention, and communicated to you a copy of a note relating thereto, received from Lord Granville, dated the 17th of May last.

I am sorry to say now that there does not appear to be a prospect of making any immediate progress in the matter. I have had conversation again two or three times with his lordship, the last occasion being to-day.

He informs me that no time is being lost in the endeavor of Her Majesty’s government to carefully consider the subject and to prepare for a satisfactory adjustment of all the questions it involves. He assures me that he appreciates fully the importance, if not the necessity, of settling the terms of an agreement on all the points that may arise between the two countries. These points and questions, he says, have been referred to and are under examination by the board of trade, the department having cognizance of commercial affairs, and have been and still are being discussed in the cabinet; in the mean time, the existing [Page 398] law in Great Britain being defective in scarcely containing any provisions in regard to the powers of foreign consuls within her territory and jurisdiction, or for the regulations which may be prescribed or agreed to by Her Majesty’s government for defining and settling those powers, Lord Granville further informs me that they must propose some general legislation which is needed to give all the necessary authority. When this is obtained, they expect to be prepared, and will be willing, to proceed and conclude conventions with the United States, as they will, perhaps, with other powers, covering the whole ground. But the present session of Parliament is now so near its close, a prorogation being expected by the end of this month, they will not be able to present a bill or ask for legislative action until next year.

This explanation and assurance is all I can at present obtain, although I have continued to press the subject on his lordship’s attention. But in the interval, and perhaps ere long, Lord Granville thinks he may be ready to communicate to me the counter-project for which we have been waiting.

In like circumstances and on like conditions, I am told, is pending the negotiation for a consular convention between Brazil and Great Britain.

I have, &c.,