No. 282.
General Schenck to Mr. Fish.

No. 467.]

Sir: Parliament was prorogued to-day. I send herewith a copy of the Queen’s speech, delivered on the occasion by lords commissioners. You will find nothing adverted to in it of any special interest to the United States.

I am, &c.,


My Lords and Gentlemen: I am now released from the necessity of calling upon you for the further prosecution of your arduous occupations. In bidding you farewell for the recess, I make it my first duty to thank you for the loyal promptitude with which you have made further provision for my son, the Duke of Edinburgh, on the occasion of his approaching marriage with the Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia. This marriage will, I trust, form a new tie of amity between two great empires. The best relations continue to subsist between myself and all foreign powers. I am able to announce the successful termination of the mission to Zanzibar, made known to you at the beginning of the session. Treaties have been concluded with the Sultan of Zanzibar, with the Imaum of Muscat, and with other native powers, which will provide means for the more effectual repression of the slave-trade on the east [Page 476] coast of Africa. I have been enabled to bring to a satisfactory issue the commercial negotiations with France, in which my government has been for some time engaged. Under the provisions of an instrument signed on the 23d of July, and awaiting ratification, the treaties of 1860 are again put if force, with a comprehensive engagement contracted between the two countries for mutual treatment on the footing of the most favored nation; and the differential tax on the British flag has been removed. Separate provisions are contained in the treaty for the adjustment of the question of mineral-oils, and otherwise for the relief and extension of trade. I have likewise concluded treaties of extradition with Italy, Denmark, Sweden, and Brazil. The ratifications of the two last-named treaties have not yet been exchanged, but I anticipate no difficulty in this final step; and I am engaged in negotiations for agreements of a similar character with other states both in Europe and beyond it. I am still occupied in giving effect to those provisions of the treaty of Washington which relate to British claims against the Government of the United States and to the interests of my possessions in North America.

Gentlemen of the House of Commons: I am very sensible of the liberality with which you have provided for the various charges of the state, and have likewise enabled me promptly to meet the obligations imposed upon me by the award of the arbitrators at Geneva during the past year.

My Lords and Gentlemen: I have observed with satisfaction the progress you have been enabled to make in the remission of public burdens by reducing both the sugar-duties and the income-tax to points lower than any at which they have previously stood. The act for the establishment of the supreme court of judicature forms a distinguished record of your persevering labor, and will be found, as I hope, to confer corresponding benefits on the country in the more cheap, certain, expeditious, and effectual administration of justice.

The acts for the amendment of the education act, 1870, and of the endowed schools act of 1869, will, as I trust, tend to accelerate the attainment of solid national advantages through the extension of education both in the middle and the most numerous classes of the community.

The act relating to the regulation of railways and canals promises to conduce to the more harmonious working of the railway-system of the country.

I have with pleasure assented to the act relating to merchant-shipping, from which, and from the labors of the commission recently appointed, I hope for a diminution of the risks to which the seafaring population are exposed.

The revenue has, up to this time, fully answered my expectations; and, although the activity of trade in some of its branches may have been somewhat restrained by a varity of causes, the general condition of the people continues to exhibit evidences of improvement.

These and all mercies of Divine Providence will, I trust, find their suitable acknowledgment alike in our words and in our hearts.

Then a commission for proroguing the Parliament was read.

After which the Lord Chancellor said:

My Lords and Gentlemen: By virtue of Her Majesty’s commission, under the great seal, to us and other lords directed, and now read, we do, in Her Majesty’s name, and in obedience to her commands, prorogue this Parliament to Wednesday, the 22d day of October next, to be then here holden; and this Parliament is accordingly prorogued to Wednesday, the 22d day of October next.