No. 377.
Mr. Birney to Mr. Evarts.

No. 118.]

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that there has been an entire change of the ministry or cabinet of this government.

The present incumbents, inducted into office on the 19th instant, are as follows:

  • Foreign Affairs.—C. Th. Baron van Lynden van Sandenburg, formerly (three years ago) minister of justice.
  • Justice.—A. E. J. Modderman, law professor in the University of Leiden.
  • Interior.—W. Six, late governor of the province of Zeeland.
  • Marine.—W. F. van Erp Taalman Kip, formerly (two years ago) minister of marine.
  • Finance.—M. S. Vipering, professor at Leiden.
  • War.—A. E. Reuther, colonel of the artilley.
  • Colonies.—Baron van Goldstein, ex-minister of colonies.
  • Waterstrat.—G. J. Klerck, ex-minister of war.

This change of ministry does not appear to have been brought about by any triumph of the opposition, known as conservatives. The dissolution is attributable to various circumstances, the chief of which was want of union in the dominant party. Its leader, the head of the cabinet, attempted a measure of internal improvement, consisting of a grand canal connecting the Rhine with the Zuider Zee, by which there would be direct transportation between Germany and Amsterdam. Failing by one vote, he resigned. A large number of the majority were disposed to revise the constitution, but they could not carry all with them. Beside there were elements of weakness, that made it necessary for them to give way.

The present cabinet is called one of fusion. It represents all the factions. It is regarded as having much more of ability than the one it succeeds. To myself personally, it is a matter of gratification that Baron van Lynden van Sandenburg has taken the portfolio of the foreign office. Having known him personally since my residence here, I have found him genial and communicative. * * * Although called to form the cabinet, and will be regarded as the chief or president, he declined to take the position of minister of interior, which is usually regarded as the first place, preferring the supervision of foreign affairs. As minister of justice three years ago, he was very acceptable, and I doubt not he will be equally so in his present position.

It may be a remark not unworthy of mention in this connection that while the chief employé of the foreign office has been at the same post for the past twenty-four years, he has served during the same period under twenty-six different ministers. A change of the head does not ordinarily affect subordinates.

I inclose herewith a copy of correspondence between the outgoing and incoming minister of foreign affairs and this legation.

I have, &c.,