to Mr. Bayard.
Stockholm, March 15, 1886. (Received April 5.)
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that on Saturday last the final vote was taken in joint session of the two Riksdag chambers upon the [Page 843] proposition to levy an import duty on all foreign breadstuff’s. The bill was rejected by a majority vote of seventeen.
The discussion has consumed some three or four weeks of the session of the Riksdag, and the results of the proposition have been looked forward to with very great interest by the people.
The Government opposed the measure, and therefore upon the fate of the bill depended the continuance of the present ministry. The result of Saturday has determined both questions, viz, that the present ministry will continue in office, and that there will be no protective duties on foreign grains and breadstuff’s during at least the coming year.
The question cannot again be presented at this session, and the result has had the effect to allay a growing discontent among the laboring classes, which was beginning to find expression in a very emphatic manner.
During the time the question was under discussion large assemblies of workingmen met and protested against the passage of the bill, and these demonstrations have not been without their effect.
There is at present a very distressed condition of all working classes, said to be unexampled, and the proposition to tax their food supplies met with the most determined opposition, and possibly, had the measure become a law, would have resulted in very serious trouble.
It is thought that the bill imposing import duties on mechanical products will likewise be defeated, as the agricultural representatives in the two chambers who favored the duty on grains, &c., are not in accord as to the latter proposition.
I have, &c.,