27 JANUARY 1866, Page 1


THE Emperor of the French opened the session of his Chambers on Monday, in a speech slightly more diluted and less forcible than usual. It was ou the whole peaceful in tone, Napoleon promis- ing neutrality in Germany " unless French interests were directly engaged," speaking with pleasure of the " good understanding " between France and England, relying on the scrupulous execution of the Italian Convention, and endeavouring almost anxiously to avoid a quarrel with America by withdrawing his troops from Mexico, " without compromising the French interests which he went to defend." His Majesty congratulates himself that his visit to Algeria has shown that " he could be replaced by a firm heart and an elevated mind," a strong compliment to the Empress ; be- lieves the revenue continues to increase and the expenditure to diminish; and mentions, apologetically, the reductions in the army, which, he says, will " not impair our military organization, or de- prive those whose services and devotion he has had the oppor- tunity of appreciating, of the means of existence." He asserts that commerce has increased by 28,000,0001. a year, and in conclu- sion deprecates the idea that he has any intention of making fundamental changes in his regime. " With one Chamber holding within itself the fate of Ministers, the Executive is without autho- rity or spirit ;" but French " constitutional forms have a certain analogy with those of the United States." He finds France after fourteen years " tranquil at home and respected abroad," and looks forward to a day when all Frenchmen, being educated, shall avoid theories, and labourers, being better paid, shall firmly support a society which secures them dignity and well-being. The speech has been a little coldly received, the latter paragraphs especially, as they are held to indicate a continued policy of repression.