No. 48.
Mr. Goodloe to Mr. Evarts.

No. 14.]

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that a general election took place on Tuesday last, June 11, throughout the kingdom for senators and representatives [Page 58] whose terms of office had expired. The election was preceded by every preparation by the respective parties, the newspapers of each being filled with the most urgent appeals for support, and the friends of the candidates spared no exertion that promised success. The excitement increased as the day of election approached; electors were brought from distant places, their expenses were paid, and each of them reimbursed for loss of wages.

The most lavish expenditure of money characterized either party, and seemingly neither left anything undone that would contribute to success. Both parties manifested great confidence, and the result was as great a surprise to the one as to the other.

The present ministry have been overwhelmingly defeated, and though the day passed quietly and orderly, at its close, when the official result was announced, the enthusiasm and popular rejoicing of the victors were something unprecedented in Belgium.

The Catholics were confident of increasing their majority, and the liberals, though hoping to succeed, never dreamed of a victory so signal and complete. This was the first general election in Belgium by secret ballot, and the Liberals claim a vindication of their repeated assurances that their legitimate majority had heretofore been held in check only by the intimidation of the clergy. Of the justice or injustice of this assertion I know nothing.

The popular demonstrations in Verviers, Antwerp, and this city following the result were of a nature heretofore wholly unheard of. In Antwerp, Verviers, and other cities, houses were illuminated, the people thronged the sidewalks, and large processions of men headed by bands of music paraded the streets shouting and rejoicing. The excitement and noisy demonstrations in Brussels the night of the election were as great as I ever saw in America. The civic guards were distributed throughout the city, particularly in Catholic neighborhoods, to preserve order, and there were very few disturbances, if any, worthy of note.

To show the exact change that has taken place, and the great revolution in public sentiment, it is essential for me to state that preceding the election the Catholic party was composed of thirty-three senators and sixty-eight representatives. The Liberals had twenty-nine senators and fifty-six representatives; thus giving the Catholics a majority in the senate of four, and in the house of representatives twelve, and on joint ballot sixteen.

The new law, under which this election was held, gave an additional representation of four new senators and eight representatives, of which number the Liberals succeeded in electing all of the senators, and seven out of eight of the representatives.

Of the senators whose terms of office had expired, the Catholics succeeded in gaining two seats hitherto occupied by Liberals—those of Neufchateau and Ypres. But this was more than overcome by the loss of the five Catholic seats of Nivelles, Bruges, and three in Antwerp, thus leaving the Liberals a majority now in the senate of six votes.

The Liberals gained eight seats recently occupied by Catholics in the house of representatives, one for Charleroi, one for Verviers, and six for Ghent, making a Liberal majority of ten votes in the house and of sixteen on joint ballot, exactly reversing the Catholic majority existing a few days ago.

This, however, is upon the assumption that the Liberal candidate from Waremme, where a new election has been ordered, will be successful, as the chances all seem in his favor. In any contingency the Liberal majority on joint ballot will be fourteen.

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Immediately the official result was proclaimed, so surprising to almost every one, the ministry jointly tendered their resignations to the King, all of which were with equal promptness accepted.

There is as yet nothing hut rumor in regard to the King’s intention concerning the formation of a new cabinet. I learn from sources, however, which I consider reliable that His Majesty has intrusted the formation of a cabinet to Mr. Frère-Orban, who has not as yet made public the name of any one whom he may call to his assistance. I shall, of course, advise you immediately a decision shall have been reached.

I have, &c.,