General Schenck to Mr. Fish.
London , February 10, 1874. (Received February. 28.)
Sir: The negotiation—or rather promise of negotiation—of a consular convention drags slowly.
My last communication to you on the subject was my No. 504, on the 15th of October last. Since then the almost continual absence of members [Page 496] of the government form London may give some explanation of the delay; but no counter-projet or proposal in any shape has been submitted to me, and yet I have not failed to give reminder whenever, opportunity has offered.
Yesterday I called formally again at the foreign office to bring the matter up. I desired, in anticipation of a change of ministry soon, to ascertain, if I could, with what temper and disposition my reasonable urgency on this subject was to be treated still by the present government, or whether it was to be left over to their successors.
I found only at the office Lord Tenterden, the permanent under secretary. He could but promise that he would bring my mention of the subject again to the attention of Lord Granville, who is in the country, at Walmer Castle. He would only say himself that the matter was now “in a for ward state;” that it had been before the board of trade and considered by them; that much material was prepared and points were ready to be settled; that on these the law-officers of the Crown would have to be consulted; and, finally, that there might in a short time be sent to me a proposal for an agreement, not answering to all the details contained in the projet presented by Mr. Motley, but covering as much ground as they were authorized to under the existing acts of Parliament.
Lord Tenterden was of course silent as to the question how far this promise of an early communication might fail from a change of ministers.
My own conviction is that the whole negotiation is now to be remitted to a new government.
I have, &c.,