Mr. Thomas to Mr. Hay.
Stockholm, January 21, 1904.
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that King Oscar and his people to-day celebrated His Majesty’s seventy-fifth birthday.
In many of the cities and towns throughout Sweden and Norway the day has been observed with fitting ceremonies.[Page 811]
In Stockholm flags are flying everywhere—from public and private buildings, from the shipping in the harbor, and from a multitude of flagstaff’s raised along the principal quays, bridges, and squares.
All day long deputations, corporations, and processions have trooped to the royal palace to pay their homage to the King.
Among the many tributes I witnessed one of especial interest. In the afternon a procession of 5,000 school children of Stockholm, each one bearing a Swedish flag, marched to the palace and, marshaled in ranks within the vast courtyard, sang national patriotic songs. The King, clad in admiral’s uniform, listened from an open window in an upper story on the west side of the quadrangle, and as the last notes of the singing died away addressed the children in a loud, clear voice, distinctly heard throughout the great court. The King’s speech was greeted by four royal cheers, many times repeated, and by the tumultuous waving of the 5,000 flags in the children’s hands.
This evening the city is brilliantly illuminated. The square of Gustavus Adolphus, the North Bridge, and the line of grand public and private buildings along the North Stream facing the palace are one blaze of light. Festoons of electric lights hang in graceful curves along the entire length of the North Bridge, leading to the palace, and the King’s motto, the royal monogram, and crown are pricked out in flaming dots from many edifices.
The American legation is conspicuously situated, directly opposite the palace, across the stream. The American flag has flown all day from the tall flagstaff over the legation, and this evening the entire facade of America’s official residence is tastefully and vividly illumined in honor of King Oscar.
The day’s festivities concluded with a grand ball at the palace, which was attended by over 2,000 persons, among them the Crown Prince and Princess of Denmark. Mrs. Thomas and I were present, and I had opportunity to personally convey to the King the congratulations of my country and the President, together with my own.
King Oscar II has sat upon the throne since 1872, a period of nearly thirty-two years—a reign longer than that of any other king on the Scandinavian Peninsula since the great Gustavus Vasa, the founder of the Vasa dynasty.
I am sure it is but the simple truth to say that during every year of his long reign King Oscar has grown in the love and veneration of his people. The homage paid the King to-day is but the outward manifestation of the feelings that fill the hearts of all his subjects.
I have, etc.,