to Mr. Evarts
Copenhagen , August 18, 1877. (Received September 3.)
Sir: Referring to my dispatches Nos. 423 and 424, of the 9th and 14th of April last, in relation to the unsatisfactory state of public affairs in consequence of the failure of the two houses of the Rigsdag during its late session to agree upon a financial law, and of the promulgation by the King, upon the advice of his ministers, of such a (provisional) law, &c., I have now further to inform you that public feelings are still in a state of excitement on the subject. Both political parties (the national liberal or ministerial party, and the united left or peasant’s party) are as unyielding and determined as ever.
At a series of political meetings that have been held during the course of the summer at various points throughout the kingdom, the speakers of the latter party denounced the provisional financial law as unconstitutional, while the speakers of the former party in a measure defended it; though they generally limited themselves to the declaration that it is the business not of political speakers, but of the “rigsret” (a court specially created for deciding constitutional questions) to determine the constitutionality of said law. But whenever political papers or speakers used language derogatory to the honor or character of the King or ministry, the latter caused immediately suits for slander to be instituted at the proper courts against such offenders.[Page 156]
In this connection it may be well to state that, up to the present time, no excesses or riots have taken place. The people throughout the kingdom are generally quiet and law-abiding. Only two or three persons, so far as I am aware, have refused to pay taxes on the plea that the financial law was unconstitutional; but they were compelled by the proper courts to yield. It is a strange political phenomenon that in Denmark the people in cities and larger towns are generally conservative, i. e., on the side of the executive government, while the people of the rural districts are generally radical and belong to the opposition party. In France, and, to some extent, in Germany, the reverse is the case. A careful observer will discover the existence in Denmark of two political counter-currents: 1, a dissatisfaction with and private denunciation of universal suffrage on the part of the wealthy and cultivated classes; and, 2, a radicalism, leaning strongly toward republicanism, on the part of the peasants and the laboring classes. It is not likely, however, that it will ever come to an open or violent collision between these two classes, because the executive government is not only prompt and determined to suppress any and every attempted revolt, but has also the means at its disposal to do so, while that class of the population who, from their known character and wishes, might be expected to venture upon such an enterprise, have a wholesome dread of coming into collision with armed authority.
I have, &c.,