Mr. Magee to Mr. Bayard .
Stockholm , September 7, 1885. (Received September 21.)
Sir: I have endeavored since my arrival at this legation to ascertain such facts touching the business and other interests of this Kingdom as will acquaint you succinctly with their condition.
During the past five years the city of Stockholm, which is the trade center of Sweden, has had a very rapid growth, with a corresponding and radical advance in prices of real estate. This has stimulated the business interests which have furnished the principal source of employment for both skilled and unskilled labor. Early the present summer a reaction followed the previous years of apparent prosperity, and the consequence has been that many contractors have failed. This has had the attending effect of depressing prices of real estate, lowering of rents, and abandonment of building projects.
Other industries, notably the iron trade, have also been greatly depressed, the output of iron being estimated not to exceed one-half of that in any one year in the past five. This is the most considerable industry for export trade of the Kingdom, exceeding in value all other exported commodities.
The harvest, which is just being gathered, has been greatly damaged by the wet weather of August, and it is estimated will fall below that of last year both in quantity and quality. Prices are uniform with former years.
The money market is somewhat stringent, while interest runs at six per cent. This condition is caused not so much from the scarcity of currency as from the uneasiness experienced by banks and capitalists by the recurring and unallayed rumors of war between England and Russia. So long as these disquieting rumors obtain there will be more or less apprehension in financial circles, thereby lessening ventures and causing a policy of conservatism to be pursued in relation to financial transactions, not so rigidly adhered to in times of less uncertainty. There is a pretty well defined opinion among well-informed business men with whom I have talked that war between the two countries will occur within the next six months. Altogether the business outlook is not encouraging, and the same depressed condition of trade exists in this country as apparently exists elsewhere.
The political condition is extremely quiet. This is the season of the year when relaxation from official life is taken—the ministers being all out of town, and no interest taken in politics. The King is a very popular [Page 788] ruler; the laws are not exacting, and there is an entire absence of all irritating causes, as there is of discontent or disquiet with the people.
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I have, &c.,