Mr. Campbell to Mr. Seward.

No. 52.]

Sir: The two chambers of the Swedish diet, according to the change in the organic law adopted at the last session, met on the 19th instant, in the grand hall of the palace, to hear the address from the throne. The members of the diplomatic corps were present by invitation. The address (of which No. 1 enclosed is a copy, and No. 2 a translation) was read by the King in person. Its most noticeable feature is the distinct ground taken against interference with continental questions, and the policy expressed of maintaining the present limits of Sweden and Norway, which the King regards as the natural boundaries of the united kingdoms. This is looked upon by those who favor a union of all the Scandinavian countries as a distinct declaration that the government will not countenance any such project. The administration has unquestionably adopted the most prudent line of policy, and in the long run it will be found more safe than intermeddling with Danish and German questions. The elections, under the altered condition of the law, were conducted without popular excitement, and indeed, it appeared, without popular interest. This may be owing to the absence of questions of a local or political character sufficient to create interest in the public mind. Contrary to general expectation, the nobility have one-third of the representation in the reconstructed chambers, the peasants rather more than one-fourth, and the remainder is divided between the burghers and the clergy. Thus it appears the nobility and peasants maintain their ground, while the principal sufferers by reform, so far as the exclusion from representation is concerned, are the clergy and burghers. It is claimed that the liberals, or progressive party, who inaugurated the new order of things, have a decided majority in both branches. The chambers elect their respective committees. The King appoints the presiding officers. But reforms, like revolutions, never go backwards, and already the press and members of the diet demand that the officers shall be elective by the bodies over which they shall be called to preside. Nothing of more than ordinary local interest, it is thought, will come before the chambers at this session. At present they are occupied in perfecting their organization under the changes recently adopted.

The winter thus far has been unusually severe. Great quantities of snow have fallen, and railroad communications are frequently interrupted.

The mails arrive irregularly, and at this time I have been two weeks without mails from America.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.


Good Gentlemen and Swedish Men: We have just inaugurated, by common prayers addressed to the All Powerful imploring His protection and His blessings, the new epoch upon which our country has entered in surrounding its ancient liberty with rejuvenated forms. These same prayers proceed from the bottom of my heart in saluting you, sirs, to-day, when for the first time you are assembled for the purpose of assuming in the quality of representatives of the Swedish people the important functions exercised during centuries by the general states of the kingdom. In the persuasion that I shall find you yourselves deeply penetrated with a sense of the high influence that your first steps in this career will [Page 711] exercise on the future, I take pleasure in asserting my conviction that in working for the progress of society in the direction that our era demands you will advance with prudence towards the goal in preserving carefully the rights which we have inherited from our ancestors. Jealous of maintaining the friendly relations happily established with all foreign powers, and nourishing no desire to take part in the solution of the litigious questions which have agitated, or which still threaten to agitate, other parts of Europe, I flatter myself with the certain hope that the united kingdoms, surrounded on all sides by natural boundaries, (frontiers,) will continue to enjoy the blessings of peace. The events of which we have recently been witnesses have, however, renewed the warnings which past experience had already furnished, and have reminded us that for the maintenance of our independence we should confide in the Divine Providence, relying in the first place on ourselves and our own means of defence. Until the plan for the organization of the army presented to the last Diet can be readjusted, in view of the amendment decided by the general states, nothing can be of higher importance for the development of our means of defence than the duty of furnishing both the army and navy with a perfected arm, (material.) Convinced of the desire of the nation to submit itself to the indispensable sacrifices necessary for the obtainment of this result, I have not hesitated to ask of you considerable appropriations for the acquisition of guns of the new model, although we shall be obliged to cover this expense by means of a new tax.

As to the rest, you will be convinced by the proposition on the revenues and expenses of the state (which, conformably to the provisions of the constitution, will be submitted to you to-day) that I have thought right to recommend the most strict economy. Even concerning the railroads I have decided on planting myself on the actual financial situation that these works in the immediate future should be circumscribed to the continuation of the principal road destined to unite still more closely the people brothers.

Projects of several laws and ordinances of major importance have also been designed. Thus one has been worked out for the revision of the compact of union with Norway for the repurchase of the land loan, for the military code, for the general regulation of soldiers, retiring pensions, for the institution of land loans and hypothetic registers, as well as for the rights and duties resulting from the application of hydraulics to our inland waters. The short time which has elapsed since the last sitting of the Diet has not allowed of the definitive formation of these projects, and during this brief delay so many new wants have not arisen as during the period usually more prolonged between the reassembling of the national representation.

I regard as an advantage not having to present to you a greater number of questions, in order that you can agree on the regulated dispositions necessitated by the new representative forms, as well as on the more important subjects which can originate from your initiative in the time fixed for the session by the fundamental law, and which, since your reunions are annual, should not be exceeded except in extraordinary cases.

Our principal industries, agriculture and the working of the mines, have been compelled to struggle for a long time against unfavorable circumstances, and almost all the branches of industry have felt the injurious influence of the wide spread financial crisis, in which credit has suffered. An ameliorated condition of affairs has, however, already commenced to make itself felt, and the most efficacious remedy for the still existing difficulties depends less upon the measures taken by the government than on individual exertion.

I salute with joy this day on which I see you assembled around me for the first time. I count with confidence on your wise concurrence in everything tending to the assurance of the public welfare; and I hope that your labors will produce such fruits as will authorize your grateful country to count you among the number of those who have contributed in a durable manner to her glory and prosperity.

In declaring the present session opened I offer to yod, good gentlemen and Swedish men, the assurance of my affection and my royal good will.