to Mr. Frelinghuysen.
London, February 16, 1883. (Received March 1.)
Sir: I have the honor to inclose two copies of Her Majesty’s speech delivered yesterday by commission to the two houses of Parliament at the opening of the new session. * * *
You will observe that the introduction of several important measures of domestic legislation is promised. Not the least important among these are the proposed “reforms in the local government of the different parts of the United Kingdom.” This, taken in connection with what is said in another paragraph about “legislative wants of Ireland for which provision has not yet been made,” indicates that the Government will not abandon the line of policy it has hitherto followed, and that, while the punishment of crime will be a preliminary condition, every legitimate means will be tried for removing any plausible motive or excuse for the commission of it. That the measures adopted will satisfy the extreme Irish party is out of the question, but that they may at least serve to convince reasonable men, both in Ireland and out of it, that there is an honest desire to repair, in so far as may be still practical, the evil effects of unwise legislation in the past, is perhaps not impossible.
You will observe with satisfaction that the speech alludes to an “improvement in the social condition of Ireland,” but this must be understood to mean that agrarian outrages have been diminished by the operation of the crimes act, and not that the political attitude of a great majority of the Irish people towards England has lost anything of its hostility or shows any hopeful symptoms of becoming less irreconcilable.
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The ministry enters upon the new parliamentary year certainly with undiminished, perhaps with increased strength, and any difference of opinion that may exist among their supporters is more than balanced by divisions in the ranks of the opponents.
I have, &c.,