No. 524.
Mr. Bell to Mr. Bayard.

No. 231]

Sir: I have the honor to report that during the present session of the second chamber of the States General the principal subject under discussion has been and still is the revision of the constitution.

The sections of the constitution are being considered seriatim and some few modifications of but slight importance have been adopted.

On the 2d instant the second chamber, by 43 to 28 vote, adopted the bill amending the clause of the constitution concerning the succession to the throne.

It provides that in fault of a direct heir the throne will pass to Princess Sophie, of Saxe-Eisenach Weimar and her branch, or thereafter to the three branches of the late Marianne of Prussia, or thereafter to the branches of the late Louise of Sweden and of Marie von Wied. This measure as adopted is of practically no significance, as the reading of the section of the actual constitution is claimed to be identical in its meaning, and the present measure has been adopted in this form so as to be more explicit and to relieve the former measure of certain ambiguity which was claimed to exist.

The principal discussion is expected to arise when the question of extending the electoral franchise and increasing the number of members of the States General is presented.

It is impossible to foresee what the final result of the revision will be, as when the present chamber shall have voted the changes their dissolution becomes necessary in accordance with the provisions of the constitution. The new chambers afterward elected will then have to vote on the constitutional amendments as passed, and in order to secure their final adoption, a two-third majority will be requisite, which in the present almost equally divided state of political parties in the Kingdom it is generally considered will be difficult to obtain.

I have, etc.,

Isaac Bell, Jr.