to Mr. Bayard.
Stockholm, March 20, 1888. (Received April 9.)
Sir: His Majesty returned from Christiania on Sunday last, where he had been for six weeks past. A new cabinet was formed for Norway, and, for the present, the disturbing questions in that Kingdom have been postponed.
The prime minister for Norway, Mr. Johan Sverdrup, was many years the leader of the Liberal party, but in 1884 he became a Conservative and accepted office—forming a cabinet which remained in power until the present year. He is again intrusted, as chief of the cabinet, with the affairs of the Kingdom. Two new ministers take the place of two of the old ones.
There are three parties in Norway politics, the Liberals, the Conservatives, and the Church party. By a combination of the last two they have a majority over the former; but this combination is not always to be obtained, as the Church party has liberal tendencies on all questions not affecting the church.
The Liberal party desires a new “parliamentary system,” as they term it, a reform that would abolish the present bureaucratic one and [Page 1480] which would introduce a larger democratic spirit, and one much more in harmony with the sentiments of the people.
Norway citizens are heavily taxed and the Liberal party proposes to reduce taxation, abolish offices, and retrench the expenses of the Government generally. It is, therefore, the popular party, and could it harmonize with the clericals upon the church question would to-day be in power. At present this is impossible, and hence the present Conservative cabinet will remain for another year.
Norway, perhaps, of all countries in Europe has more of democratic sentiment coupled with the very best capacity for self-government.
Theoretically these peoples are a constitutional monarchy; practically they are as frecand independent as the English nation.
Norway pays what is equal to $130,000 a year to the support of the royal household, and there is a serious endeavor in the Kingdom to lessen this amount.
I have, etc.,