No. 143.
Mr. Everett to Mr. Evarts.

No. 55.]

Sir: Since my dispatch No. 47 the interest in the debates of the legislative bodies here has been transferred from the Reichstag to the Landtag.

The meetings of the two houses have been held simultaneously, a process very harassing to the ministers when interpellated, and severely commented on by Prince Bismarck during a debate on the budget, on the 27th March, in the following words:

I returned here with the conviction that the meetings of the Reichstag would not be interrupted by those of the Landtag, and that the same consideration which decided the Landtag to suspend its sittings after the opening of the Reichstag, at the risk of leaving important laws incompleted, would prevent their meeting again while the Reichstag was in session. If, as chancellor of the empire, I had been expressly consulted in regard to this, I should never have acquiesced in the idea. But I was not consulted, I know not why.

* * * * * * * *

The two projects of transferring the care of the public lands and forests from the minister of finance to the minister of agriculture, and to take the care of the railroads from the minister of commerce and create a new ministry of railroads were then debated. The chancellor defended these projects with much ardor, by describing the excess of work put on the finance minister, the backward state of financial questions in Germany compared with other nations, and the relatively poor production of the forests.

He likewise gave examples to show how much need there was of reform in the management of the railways, even stating that he had been obliged to threaten to employ the military force of the empire to prevent the postal employés from being forced by the railway officials to leave the mail-wagons containing money and letters intrusted to their care while the trains were being made up. In spite of these arguments, however, the debate resulted in both of these government proposals being rejected.

* * * * * * *

The session of the Prussian Diet was closed on the 30th March, at a joint meeting of both houses, by a royal message read by a minister of justice. On the same day the resignation of the minister of commerce, Dr. Achenback, appeared in the official paper.

The present German ambassador at Vienna, Count Stalberg, has been appointed to the new office of vice-chancellor of the empire, but as there is no occasion for his services as long as Prince Bismarck continues in Berlin, he is allowed for the present to remain in Vienna. The former chief burgomaster of Berlin, Herr Hobrecht, has been appointed finance minister, in place of Mr. Camphausen, resigned; Count Eulenburg, [Page 210] hitherto governor of Hanover, succeeds his uncle, Count Eulenburg, as minister of the interior, and Mr. Mayback becomes minister of commerce, in the place of Dr. Achenback, who is appointed governor of West Prussia.

The latest event in connection with the Eastern question is the circular note of Lord Salisbury, to which the Russian reply is now being awaited. This paper, while it seems to give a clear statement at last of England’s objections to the treaty of San Stefano, suggests no remedy but that of refusing to join in a congress. The German press receives it calmly as not expressing much that is new, the French press favorably, and the Austrian press enthusiastically. It is still thought that, in spite of England’s continued warlike preparations, some way out of the present entanglement may be found. Germany has informed England that she will not go into the congress unless England herself does, and it is rumored that Germany has advised Russia to moderate some of her treaty demands.

Some color is given to this by expressions in the Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, and the Post, which are supposed to be semi-officially inspired organs. The former, though for some time past strongly Russian in its tendencies, now says:

Germany cannot for love of Russia remain indifferent, if Russia, by her pretensions, endangers the interests of other nations who are neighbors and friends of Germany; and Russia could accomplish the complete application of this treaty only at the cost of a new war, more extended and more serious than that which she has just finished with Turkey. This state of things might have been avoided if Russia, immediately after the capture of Plevna, had conferred with other powers interested as to the maximum of advantages she might obtain.

There is as yet no confirmation of a telegram from its Berlin correspondent to the London Times that, according to Vienna telegrams to the Cologne Gazette, England had informed Russia that, the treaty of San Stefano violating vital interests of Great Britain, the cabinet of St. James will occupy certain important points in the East unless a fair proposition for the effective modification of that treaty be immediately made by Russia. Such a measure is certainly, however, not impossible.

I have, &c.,