By the institution of the special mission of Lord Ashburton, however, the direct negotiations between the two governments were, about the time of Everett's arrival in London, transferred to Washington, though much business was transacted at the American legation in London.
Spanish legislation was not satisfied with endeavouring to exclude all European nations except Spain from trading with the West Indies, but it sought to limit all commerce to one particular route, and it forbade any trade being transacted by way of the river Plate, thus enacting the most flagrant injustice towards the people it had encouraged to settle in the latter country.
One of these provided that all matters relating to the government shall be transacted in the Privy Council, and that all resolutions "shall be signed by such of the Privy Council as shall advise and consent to the same"; and another declared that all office-holders and pensioners under the Crown shall be incapable of sitting in the House of Commons.
Generally it may be said that throughout his long reign Francis Joseph remained the real ruler of his dominions; he not only kept in his hands the appointment and dismissal of his ministers, but himself directed their policy, and owing to the great knowledge of affairs, the unremitting diligence and clearness of apprehension, to which all who transacted business with him have borne testimony, lie was able to keep a very real control even of the details of government.
Commercial business at the principal ports is largely transacted through foreign banks, of which there are a large number.