to Mr. Bayard.
Stockholm, July 14, 1887. (Received August 1.)
The special session of the Swedish Diet adjourned sine die on Saturday last, after a session lasting two months.[Page 1038]
The only action taken that in any way affects American imports was the passage of a law imposing duties upon corn and cheese.
The latter article is not imported in any great quantity from America, and the duty, therefore, will not appreciably affect the trade.
It will be otherwise, however, with corn (or maize, as it is designated in the law). The duty fixed upon this article is 2 kroner per each 100 kilograms, or about 53 cents for every 220 pounds avoirdupois weight.
The importation of American corn formerly was quite large, it being used principally in the manufacture of brandvine, the national Swedish spirits, and almost universally drunk as a beverage by the people. For some time past attempts have been made in the Diet to tax corn, and otherwise restrict the manufacture of spirits, for the purpose of lessening the effect of the intemperate use thereof. Heretofore brand vine has been comparatively inexpensive, thus placing it within the reach of all classes, and one purpose of adding to the cost of manufacture was to secure a restrictive purchase of it by the poorer class of people. Whether this mode of enforcing temperance will be successful, time will determine.
The majority of the working classes in this country are not in condition to support any additional cost of living, and neither is it very probable that they will give up the consumption of their favorite drink because of its increased cost.
The action of the Riksdag was not an indication that any very marked change is to take place in the policy of impost laws of the Kingdom, but simply was the result of a temperance sentiment on the part of a few members, to the views of which the majority yielded.
The election of new members to the Riksdagen takes place in September. For the present, however, political matters are very quiet. The trade condition has not improved.
I have, etc.,