Mr. Sargent to Mr. Frelinghuysen.
Berlin , March 9, 1884. (Received March 24.)
Sir: I have the honor to inclose, with translation, a copy of the speech from the throne, delivered on the 6th instant, by Mr. Von Böttecher, minister of the interior, neither the Emperor nor the chancellor being present. The ceremony of opening the session of the Reichstag was, as usual, in the White Hall of the old castle. * * *
The session of the legislative body in its own hall commenced almost immediately after. The customary deference had been paid to the sovereign of repairing to his ancient palace to listen to his message, before any legislative act. The present is the last session of this Reichstag.
The message contains no surprises. After the usual words of welcome, it is stated that the most important task of the session will be found in the domain of social-political legislation. To that legislation I have referred somewhat at length in my No. 231, of January 18, and find the message follows the lines I then predicted. For an official statement of the motives and hopes of the Imperial Government from these unusual measures, the message deserves an attentive perusal. If I read its ultimate suggestions correctly, these involve eventual absorption of the whole business of insurance by the Government. The entire subject of this experimental legislation is so interesting that I shall watch it carefully, and report upon it from time to time.
The message speaks of copyrights, and art and pattern and model protecting treaties, with Belgium. * * *
The contentment of His Majesty with the relations between the Empire and foreign countries is stated, in view of the apprehensions and prophecies to the contrary after the “reconstruction of the German Empire called in question the peaceful character of its policy.” A similar regard for peace is believed to animate the neighboring friendly powers. Particular reference is made to the Russian and Austrian courts, with whom “inherited friendship” has been strengthened, and the gratifying reception of the crown prince in Italy and Spain is pleasantly alluded [Page 192] to as evidence of the respect in which Germany is held abroad. The Emperor counts upon maintaining confidence in Germany abroad and peace at home.
The message is merely confirmatory of other evidences that the policy of Germany looks toward continental peace, and that the court of Russia is desirous of peace with Germany. A recent Russian mission to Berlin brought the congratulations of the Czar to the Emperor William on the seventieth anniversary of his gaining the Russian Cross of St. George, when he charged with a Russian regiment against the French at Bar-sur-Aube. The deputation was received with great distinction, and their visit could but be a gratification to the military hero whose early exploit it recalled. While the near approach of Russia and Germany during the past few months, and the appreciative words of the message, do not necessarily imply such a treaty as that of the latter with Austria, they show the renewal of friendly relations between the two courts, and are a public assertion of the same. Despite some rumors to the contrary, I have steadily been inclined to believe that the two Governments would avoid war if possible; and the antagonism between the two peoples, especially that of the Slavonic races against Germans, would be the impelling cause if war ever came. * * *
I have, &c.,