Mr. Campbell to Mr. Seward

No. 28.]

Sir: Herewith I enclose a copy of the opening address of the King of Sweden and Norway, read to the Norwegian Storthing at the recent meeting of that body, and which was transmitted to this legation by the Swedish Foreign Office, together with a translation of the same.

No question of more than ordinary local interest is pending or will be laid before the Storthing at its present session, with the exception of a military measure intended to give the King more immediate control of the Norwegian troops, a proposition which, in my judgment, the careful and jealous Norwegians are not prepared to adopt.

Since the separation of Norway from Danish authority, the former has gradually and steadily increased in material prosperity. Last year the fisheries yielded abundantly, and the export of lumber and cattle showed considerable improvements over former years. The country gives manifest evidence of progress in various directions, and under a system of government which allows great freedom to the Norwegian, its continued well-doing may be expected.

I have the honor to be your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, &c., &c., &c.

Discourse of the King at the opening of the eighteenth Storthing of Norway,5th October, 1865.


Sirs: In regretting that circumstances do not permit me to assist in person at the commencement of your labors, I transmit to you the expression of my royal good will, and I wish you all prosperity in the accomplishment of your important work.

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During the epoch which has passed since the assembling of the last ordinary Storthing, our industry, notwithstanding partial reverses, has prospered to such an extent that the state revenues have flowed abundantly into its coffers. The extraordinary expenses for our system of defence, caused last year by political circumstances, have thus been able to be met without creating any embarrassment in the administration of the finances. The projects communicated by me to the last ordinary Storthing on the subject of several questions relating to a more satisfactory organization of the army, were only partially adopted. After the dissolution of the Storthing, I announced my intention of submitting them to a further examination. This work being finished, I submit to you the projects based on its results. I rely upon your enlightened love of country in nourishing the hope that the Storthing, while the general situation admits of a calm and deep reflection, will arrive at a result which I consider as answering the urgent necessity of a satisfactory military organization.

The debates which took place at the last ordinary Storthing concerning the reform of the judicial procedure in criminal matters has shown that there exists a great difference of opinion, not only respecting the necessity of such a reform, but also respecting the principles on which it should be based and the extension which should be given to it. It appeared to me that all these opinions agreed in recognizing the fact that the time for placing in execution a thorough principal reform has not yet arrived. But this should not prevent the reform of these acknowledged partial defects of the mode of judicial procedure, and a legal project tending to this end will be submitted to you.

A commission of Norwegians and Swedes has been formed to take into consideration the ameliorations that could be introduced into the compact of union between the two kingdoms. This commission commenced its labors in the spring of the present year, but several of its members finding themselves unable to continue them, on account of their labors as members of the Storthing and of the Diet, the commission has been obliged to adjourn during the reunion of the national representatives, and cannot reassemble until a later period. The documents relative to the formation of this commission will be communicated to you.

Treaties of commerce and navigation have been concluded with his Majesty the Emperor of the French. The United Kingdoms have by these treaties acquired the same advantages for commerce and navigation with France that that country had accorded by analogous treaties to other powers of Europe. In taking into consideration the importance of our commercial relations with France, and that of navigation between the two countries, I look at the reductions obtained by these treaties as being of essential worth, and I have learned with sincere satisfaction of the favorable reception that this measure has met with in Norway. Concessions have been exacted from us of the same kind as have been accorded to other powers who have concluded treaties with France. Several of them assuming the concurrence of representation, the validity of the treaties has been submitted, in that which concerns Norway, to the approval of the Storthing. The project relative to this question will be submitted to you.

The exhibition of articles belonging to the industry of fishing, which took place during the course of the summer at Bergen, and which is the first industrial international exhibition of Norway, has offered a satisfactory testimony of a tendency towards progress, and will aid to bring important and durable results for one of our principal branches of industry. The marked good will of several powers and foreign nations in favor of this enterprise has established their claims to our gratitude.

The Storthing will receive with satisfaction the communication of the happy increase of the royal house by the birth of a prince, with whom Providence has again pleased to bless the union of my well-loved brother, his royal highness Prince Oscar.

Our relations with all the foreign powers continue to be marked by confidence and friendship.

In calling the blessing of the All Powerful upon your labors, I renew to you, sirs, the assurance of my royal good will.