to Mr. Evarts.
The Hague , September 17, 1879. (Received October 2.)
Sir: The regular session of the Staats General of the Netherlands was opened on the 15th instant, in the customary form, by His Majesty the King. I have the honor to inclose herewith copies of the address which he read on that occasion, with a translation. There are in it three references, which may have significance enough to interest you. When he speaks of “the free principles which have governed their commerce and industries” it is inferred that the new ministry adhere to “free trade” as against an inclination slightly manifested in this and neighboring countries to experiment with partial protection.[Page 850]
By his allusion to “primary education” it is to be understood that the new government promises to carry out the provisions of the law relating to that subject promoted by the late ministry and adopted by the last Parliament. This topic has been the occasion of no inconsiderable controversy in this country. Sectarians who rally under the name of “Orthodox” have insisted upon retention of denominational control, while the liberal party advocated more of State management. Under the act referred to, the government pays 30 per centum of the cost of schools, localities providing the remainder. At the same time, the government chiefly regulates.
The other reference is to Curaçoa. It is not often that such a specific allusion is made from the throne in an address so brief and general. The government no doubt intends by it to show that its regard for the island as a possession has not weakened.
I have, &c.,