No. 292.
General Schenck to Mr. Fish.

No. 552.]

Sir: Parliament is about to be dissolved. The formal act of dissolution will take place, it is expected, on the 27th instant. This movement has taken the country and all parties by surprise. It was generally expected that the present Parliament would continue through another session, which was to begin on the 5th of February, and that probably at the close of that session its dissolution would be announced and a general election ordered. Now there will be a general election, I presume, next month, and the new Parliament may meet perhaps as early as in March. Mr. Gladstone’s address to his Greenwich constituency, which appears in this morning’s journals, is the first intimation given to the public of the decision of the government to appeal at once to the electors.

It is impossible to predict with any strong degree of confidence what will be the result of a general election.

* * * * * * *

The contest will be active and bitter, especially on the part of the conservatives or tory party, who have been encouraged greatly by their repeated successes in single and casual elections held to fill vacancies.

The telegraph will, of course, have given you immediate intelligence of this event in British politics, but I have thought it might be interesting to you to receive what I send you by to-day’s mail, a copy of the full text of Mr. Gladstone’s address to the Greenwich electors, and the comments with which the sudden movement has been received by the leading newspapers of London.

I am, &c.,