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CHARLES XIV

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Originally appearing in Volume V26, Page 214 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CHARLES XIV., king of Sweden; CHRISTIAN VIII., king of Denmark). Charles XIII. died on the 5th of February 1818, and was I succeeded by Bernadotte under the title of Charles XIV. John. The new king devoted himself to the promotion of Charles the material development of the country, the GOta xlv.,1818-canal absorbing the greater portion of the twenty- ''844. four millions of dalers voted for the purpose. The external debt of Sweden was gradually extinguished, the internal debt consider-ably reduced, and the budget showed an average annual surplus of 700,000 dalers. With returning prosperity the necessity for internal reform became urgent in Sweden. The antiquated Riksdag, where the privileged estates predominated, while the cultivated middle class was practically unrepresented, had become an insuperable obstacle to all free development; but, though the Riksdag of 1840 itself raised the question, the king and the aristocracy refused to entertain it. Yet the reign of Charles XIV. was, on the whole, most beneficial to Sweden; and, if there was much just cause for complaint, his great services to his adopted country were generally acknowledged. Abroad he maintained a policy of peace based mainly on a good understanding with Russia. Charles XIV.'s son and successor King Oscar I. was much more liberally inclined. Shortly after his accession (March 4, 1844) he laid several projects of reform before the Riksdag; but the estates would do little more than abolish the obsolete marriage and inheritance laws and a few commercial monopolies. As the financial situation necessitated a large increase of taxation, there was much popular discontent, which culminated in riots in the streets of Stockholm (March 1848). Yet, when fresh proposals for parliamentary reform were laid before the Riksdag in 1849, they were again.rejected by three out of the four estates. As regards foreign politics, Oscar I. was strongly anti-German. On the outbreak of the Dano-Prussian War of 1848-49, Sweden sympathized warmly with Denmark. Hundreds of Swedish volunteers hastened to Schleswig-Holstein. The Riksdag voted 2,000,000 dalers for additional armaments. It was Sweden, too, who mediated the truce of Malmo (Aug. 26, 1848), which Oscar I., 1844-1859. helped Denmark out of her difficulties. During the Crimean War Sweden remained neutral, although public opinion was decidedly anti-Russian, and sundry politicians regarded the conjuncture as favourable for regaining Finland. Oscar I. was succeeded (July 8, 1859) by his son, Charles XV. (q.v.), who had already acted as regent during his father's ill- nesses. He succeeded, with the invaluable assistance Charles XV., of the minister of justice, Baron Louis Gerhard de 1859-1872. Geer (q.v.), in at last accomplishing the much-needed reform of the constitution. The way had been prepared in 1860 by a sweeping measure of municipal reform; and, in January 1863, the government brought in a reform bill by the terms of constitu- which the Riksdag was henceforth to consist of two etonat chambers, the Upper House being a sort of aristo-Reform, cratic senate, while the members of the Lower 1866. House were to be elected triennially by popular suffrage. The new constitution was accepted by all four estates in 1865 and promulgated on the 22nd of January 1866. On the 1st of September 1866, the first elections under the new system were held; and on the 19th of January 1867, the new Riksdag met for the first time. With this one great reform Charles XV. had to be content; in all other directions he was hampered, more or less, by his own creation. The Riksdag refused to sanction his favourite project of a reform of the Swedish army on the Prussian model, for which he laboured all his life, partly from motives of economy, partly from an apprehension of the king's martial tendencies. In 1864 Charles XV. had endeavoured to form an anti-Prussian league with Denmark; and after the defeat of Denmark he projected a Scandinavian union, in order, with the help of France, to oppose Prussian predominance in the north—a policy which naturally collapsed with the overthrow of the French Empire in 1870. He died on the 18th of September 1872, and was succeeded by his brother, the duke of Gothland, who reigned as Oscar II. (R. N. B.) The economic condition of Sweden, owing to the progress in material prosperity which had taken place in the country as the oscarn.. result of the Franco-German War, was at the accession 18724907. of Oscar II. to the throne en the 18th of September 1872 fairly satisfactory. Politically, however, the out-look was not so favourable. In their results, the reforms inaugurated during the preceding reign did not answer expectations. Within three years of the introduction of the new electoral laws De Geer's ministry had forfeited much of its former popularity, and had been forced to resign. In the vital matter of national defence no common understanding had been arrived at, and during the conflicts which had raged round this question, the two chambers had come into frequent collision and paralysed the action of the government. The peasant proprietors, who, under the name of the "Landtmanna" party,' formed a compact majority in the Second Chamber, pursued a consistent policy of class interests in the matter of the taxes and burdens that had, as they urged, so long oppressed the Swedish peasantry; and consequently when a bill was introduced for superseding the old system of army organization by general compulsory service, they demanded as a condition of its acceptance that the military burdens should be more evenly distributed in the country, and that the taxes, which they regarded as a burden under which they had wrongfully groaned for centuries, should be abolished. In these circumstances, the " Landtmanna " party in the Riksdag, who desired the lightening of the military burden, joined those who desired the abolition of landlordism, and formed a compact and predominant majority in the Second Chamber, while the burgher and Liberal parties were reduced to an impotent " intelligence " minority. This majority in the Lower Chamber ' The Swedish " Landtmanna " party was formed in 1867. It consisted mostly of the larger and smaller peasant proprietors, who at the time of the old " Standers Riksdag " were always opposed to the nobility and the clergy. The object of the party was to bring about a fusion between the representatives of the large landed proprietors and the regular peasant proprietors, to support the interests of landed proprietors in general against those of the town representatives, and to resist Crown interference in the administration of local affairs.was at once attacked by another compact majority in the Upper, who on their side maintained that the hated land taxes were only a kind of rent-charge on land, were incidental to it and in no way weighed upon the owners, and, moreover, that its abolition would be quite unwarrantable, as it was one of the surest sources of revenue to the state. On the other hand, the First Chamber refused to listen to any abolition of the old military system, so long as the defence of the country had not been placed upon a secure basis by the adoption of general compulsory military service. The government stood midway between these conflicting majorities in the chambers, without support in either. Such was the state of affairs when Oscar II., surrounded by his late brother's advisers, began his reign. One of his first cares was to increase the strength of his navy, but in The party consequence of the continued antagonism of the compromise political parties, he was unable to effect much. of1874. In the first Riksdag, however, the so-called " compromise," which afterwards played such an important part in Swedish political life, came into existence. It originated in the small " Scania " party in the Upper House, and was devised to establish a modus vivendi between the conflicting parties, i.e. the champions of national defence and those who demanded a lightening of the burdens of taxation. The king himself perceived in the compromise a means of solving the conflicting questions, and warmly approved it. He persuaded his ministers to constitute a special inquiry into the proposed abolition of land taxes, and in the address with which he opened the Riksdag of 1875 laid particular stress upon the necessity of giving attention to the settlement of these two burning questions, and in 188o again came forward with a new proposal for increasing the number of years of service with the militia. This motion having been rejected, De Geer resigned, and was succeeded by Count Arvid Posse. The new prime minister endeavoured to solve the question of defence in accordance with the views of the " Landtmanna " party. Three parliamentary committees had prepared schemes for a remission of the land taxes, for a new system of taxation, for a reorganization of the army based on a stammtrupp (regular army), by the enlistment of hired soldiers, and for naval reforms. In this last connexion the most suitable types of vessels for coast defence as for offence were determined upon. But Count Posse, deserted by his own party over the army bill, resigned, and was succeeded on the 16th of May 1884 by Oscar Themptauder, who had been minister of finance in the previous cabinet. The new premier succeeded in persuading the Riksdag to pass a bill increasing the period of service with the colours in the army to six years and that in the militia to forty-two days, and as a set-off a remission of 30% on the land taxes. Influenced by the economic reaction which took place in 1879 in consequence of the state of affairs in Germany, where Prince Bismarck had introduced the protectionist system, a protecprotectionist party had been formed, which tried to tionist gain adherents in the Riksdag. It is true that in Movement. the Riksdag of 1882 the commercial treaty with France was renewed, but since 1885 the protectionist party was prepared to begin the combat, and a duty on corn, which had been proposed in the Riksdag of the same year, was rejected by only a slight majority. During the period of the unusually low price of corn of 1886, which greatly affected the Swedish farmers, protection gained ground to such an extent that its final triumph was considered as certain within a short time. During the Riksdag of the same year, however, the premier, Themptauder, emphatically declared himself against the protectionist party, and while the parties in the Second Chamber were equal in number, the proposed tax on corn was rejected in the First Chamber. In the Riksdag of 1887 there was a majority for protection in the Second Chamber, and in the first the majority against the tax was so small that the tax on corn would have triumphed in a combined meeting of the two chambers. The government, availing itself of its formal right not to dissolve the chamber in which it had the support of a majority, therefore dissolved only the Second Chamber (March 1887). The new Riksdag assembled in May with a free trade majority in the Second Chamber, but nothing in connexion with the great question of customs was settled. In the meantime, the powerful majority in the Second Chamber split into two groups—the new "Landtmanna " party, which approved protection in the interests of agricultural classes; and a somewhat smaller group, the old " Landtmanna " party, which favoured free trade. The victory of the free traders was not, however, destined to be of long duration, as the protectionists obtained a majority in both chambers in the next Riksdag (1888). To the First Chamber protectionists were almost exclusively elected, and in the Second all the twenty-two members for Stockholm were disqualified, owing to one of their number not having paid his taxes a few years previously, which prevented his being eligible. Instead, then, of twenty-two free traders representing the majority of the Stockholm electors, twenty-two protectionists, representing the minority, were elected, and Stockholm was thus represented in the Riksdag by the choice of a minority in the capital. This singular way of electing members for the principal city in the kingdom could not fail further to irritate the parties. One result of the Stockholm election came at a convenient time for the Themptauder ministry. The financial affairs of the country were found to be in a most unsatisfactory state. In spite of reduced expenses, a highly estimated revenue, and the contemplated raising of taxes, there was a deficit, for the payment or discharge of which the government would be obliged to demand supplementary supplies. The Themptauder ministry resigned. The king retained, however, for a time several members of the ministry, but it was difficult to find a premier who would be able, during the transition from one system to another, to command sufficient authority to control the parties. At last Baron Gillis Bildt, who, while Swedish ambassador in Berlin, had witnessed the introduction by Prince Bismarck of the agrarian protectionist system in Germany, accepted the premiership, and it was under his auspices that the two chambers imposed a series of duties on necessaries of life. The new taxes, together with an increase of the excise duty on spirits, soon brought a surplus into the state coffers. At a council of state (Oct. 12, 1888) the king declared his wishes as to the way in which this surplus should be used. He desired that it should be applied to a fund for insurance and old age pensions for workmen and old people, to the lightening of the municipal taxes by state contributions to the schools and workhouses, to the abolition of the land taxes and of the obligation of keeping a horse and man for military service, and, lastly, to the improvement of the shipping trade; but the Riksdag decided to devote it to other objects, such as the payment of the deficit in the budget, the building of railways and augmentation of their material, as well as to improvements in the defences of the country. Baron Bildt resigned as soon as the new system seemed settled, making room for Baron Gustav Akerhjelm. The latter, however, also soon resigned, and was succeeded on the loth of July 1891 by Erik Gustav Bostrom, a landed proprietor. The protectionist system gained in favour on the expiry of the commercial treaty with France in 1892, as it could now be extended to articles of industry. The elections of 1890, when the metropolis returned free traders and Liberals to the Second Chamber, certainly effected a change in the latter, as the representatives of the towns and the old " Landtmanna " party joined issue and established a free-trade majority in the chamber, but in the combined meetings of the two chambers the compact protectionist majority in the First Chamber turned the scale. The customs duties were, however, altered several times in accordance with market prices and ruling circumstances. Thus in 1892, when the import duty on unground corn was reduced from 2S. mid. to 1s. 5d., and that on ground corn from-4s. 9d. to 2S. 1od. for Too kilogrammes, the same duties were also retained for the following year. They were also retained for 1894 at the request of the government, which desired to keep faith with their promise that while the new organization of the army was going on no increase of duties on the necessaries of life should take place.- This measure caused much dissatisfaction, and gave rise to a strong agrarian movement, in consequence of which the government, in the beginningof 1895, before the assembling of the Riksdag, made use of its right of raising the two duties on corn just referred to, 3S. 7d. and 7s. ad., which were afterwards somewhat reduced as far as seed corn for sowing purposes was concerned. The question of customs duties now settled, that of national defence was taken up afresh, and in the following year the government produced a complete scheme for the abolition of the land tax in the course of ten years, in exchange for a compensation of ninety days' drill for those liable to military service, proposed to retain the old military system of the country and to strengthen the defences of Norrland, and the government bill for a reorganization of the army was accepted by the Riksdag in an extraordinary session. But it was soon perceived that the new plan was unsatisfactory and required recasting, upon which the minister of war, Baron Rappe, resigned, and was succeeded by Colonel von Crustebjorn, who immediately set to work to prepare a complete reorganizas tion of the army, with an increase of the time of active service on the lines of general compulsory service. The Riksdag of 1900, in addition to grants for the fortifications at Boden, in the province of Norrbotten, on the Russian border, and other military objects, voted a considerable grant for an experimental mobilization, which fully exposed the defects and faults of the old system. In the Riksdag of 190I E. G. Bostrom resigned, and was succeeded by Admiral F. W. von Otter, who introduced a new bill for the army reorganization, the most important item of which was the increase of the period of training to 365 days. The cost in connexion with the new scheme was expected to amount to 22 millions of kronor. The Riksdag, however,.did not accept the new plan in its full extent. The time of drilling was reduced to 240 days for the infantry, to 300 days for the navy, while for the cavalry and artillery the time fixed was 365 days. The plan, thus modified, was then accepted by the government. After the elections in 189o, the alliance already mentioned between the old " Landtmanna " party and the representatives of the towns had the result that the Liberals in the Second Chamber, to whom the representatives of the Refor . towns mostly belonged, were now in a position to decide the policy which the two united parties should follow. In order to prevent this, it was proposed to readjust the number of the members of the Riksdag. The question a as only settled in 1894, when a bill was passed fixing the number of the members of the Riksdag in the First Chamber at 150, and in the Second at 230, of which 150 should represent the country districts and 8o the towns. The question of protection being now considered settled, there was no longer any reason for the continued separation of the two " Landtmanna" parties, who at the beginning of the Riksdag of 1895 joined issue and became once more a compact majority in the Second Chamber, as they had been up to the Riksdag of May 1887. The influence of the country representatives was thus re-established in the Second Chamber, but now the demands for the extension of the franchise came more and more to the front, and the premier, Bostrom, at last felt bound to do something to meet these demands. He accordingly introduced in the Riksdag of 1896 a very moderate bill for the extension of the franchise, which was, nevertheless, rejected by both chambers, all similar proposals by private members meeting the same fate. When at last the bill for the reorganization of the army, together with a considerably increased taxation, was accepted by the Riksdag of 1901, it was generally acknowledged that, in return for the increased taxation, it would only be just to extend the right of taking part in the political life and the legislative work of the country to those of the population who hitherto had been excluded from it. The government eventually laid a proposal for the extension of the franchise before the Riksdag of 1902, the chief feature of which was that the elector should be twenty-five years of age, and that married men over forty years should be entitled to two votes. The Riksdag, how-ever, finally agreed to a proposal by Bishop Billing, a member of the First Chamber, that an address should be presented to the king asking for a full inquiry into the question of extending the franchise for the election of members to the Second Chamber. National Defence. In 1897 the Riksdag had received among its members the first socialistic representative in the person of R. H. Brauting, Labour the leader of the Swedish Social Democrats. The Movements Socialists, who had formerly confined their activity to questions affecting the working classes and their wages, took, however, in 1902 an active part in the agitation for the extension of the franchise. Processions of many thousands of workmen were organized, in Stockholm and in other towns of the kingdom, just before the Riksdag began the discussion on the above-mentioned bill of the government, and when the bill was introduced in the chambers a general and well-organized strike took place and continued during the three days the debate on the bill lasted. As this strike was of an exclusively political kind, and was intended to put pressure on the chambers, it was generally disapproved, and failed in its object. The prime minister, Admiral von Otter, resigned shortly after the end of the session, and was succeeded by Bostrom, the ex-premier, who at the request of the king again assumed office. The relations with Norway during King Oscar's reign had great influence on political life in Sweden, and more than once it Relations seemed as if the union between the two countries was with on the point of being wrecked. The dissensions Norway. chiefly had their origin in the dernand by Norway for separate consuls and foreign ministers, to which reference is made under NORWAY. At last, after vain negotiations and discussions, the Swedish government in 1895 gave notice to Norway that the commercial treaty which till then had existed between the two countries and would lapse in July 1897 would, according to a decision in the Riksdag, cease, and as Norway at the time had raised the customs duties, a considerable diminution in the exports of Sweden to Norway took place. The Swedish minister of foreign affairs, Count Lewenhaupt, who was considered as too friendly dispcsed towards the Norwegians, resigned, and was replaced by Count Ludvig Douglas, who represented the opinion of the majority in the First Chamber. When, however, the Norwegian Storthing, for the third time, passed a bill for a national or " pure " flag, which King Oscar eventually sanctioned, Count Douglas resigned in his turn and was succeeded by the Swedish minister at Berlin, Lagerheim, who managed to pilot the questions of the union into more quiet waters. He succeeded all the better as the new elections to the Riksdag of 1900 showed clearly that the Swedish people was not inclined to follow the ultra-conservative or so-called " patriotic " party, which resulted in the resignation of the two leaders of that party, Professor Oscar Alin and Count Marschal Patrick Reutersvard as members of the First Chamber. On the other hand, ex-Professor E. Carlson, of the High School of Gothenburg, succeeded in forming a party of Liberals and Radicals to the number of about go members, who, besides being in favour of the extension of the franchise, advocated the full equality of Norway with Sweden in the management of foreign affairs. (O. H. D.) The state of quietude which for some time prevailed with regard to the relations with Norway was not, however, to be of The Dissolu- long duration. The question of separate consuls don of the for Norway soon came up again. In 1902 the union with Swedish government proposed that negotiations in Norway. this matter should be opened with the Norwegian government, and that a joint committee, consisting of representatives from both countries, should be appointed to consider the question of a separate consular service without in any way interfering with the existing administration of the diplomatic affairs of the two countries. The result of the negotiations was published in a so-called " communique," dated the 24th of March 1903, in which, among other things, it was proposed that the relations of the separate consuls to the joint ministry of foreign affairs and the embassies should be arranged by identical laws, which could not be altered or repealed without the consent of the governments of the two countries. The proposal for these identical laws, which the Norwegian government in May 1904 submitted, did not meet with the approval of the Swedish government. The latter in their reply proposed that the Swedish foreign minister should have such control over the Norwegian consuls as to prevent the latter from exceeding their authority.' This proposal, however, the Norwegian government found unacceptable, and explained that, if such control were insisted upon, all further negotiations would be purposeless. They maintained that the Swedish demands were incompatible with the sovereignty of Norway, as the foreign minister was a Swede and the proposed Norwegian consular service, as a Norwegian institution, could not be placed under a foreign authority. A new proposal by the Swedish government was likewise rejected, and in February 1905 the Norwegians broke off the negotiations. Notwithstanding this an agreement did not appear to be out of the question. All efforts to solve the consular question by itself had failed, but it was considered that an attempt might be made to establish separate consuls in combination with a joint administration of diplomatic affairs on a full unionistic basis. Crown Prince Gustaf, who during the illness of King Oscar was appointed regent, took the initiative of renewing the negotiations between the two countries, and on the 5th of April in a combined Swedisa and Norwegian council of state made a proposal for a reform both of the administration of diplomatic affairs and of the consular service on the basis of full equality between the two kingdoms, with the express reservation, however, of a joint foreign minister —Swedish or Norwegian—as a condition for the existence of the union. This proposal was approved of by the Swedish Riksdag on the 3rd of May 1905. In order that no obstacles should be placed in the way for renewed negotiations, Mr Bostrom, the prime minister, resigned and was succeeded by Mr Ramstedt. The proposed negotiations were not, however, renewed. On the 23rd of May the Norwegian Storthing passed the government's proposal for the establishment of separate Norwegian consuls, and as King Oscar, who again had resumed the reins of government, made use of his constitutional right to veto the bill, the Norwegian ministry tendered their resignation. The king, however, declared he could not now accept their resignation, whereupon the ministry at a sitting of the Norwegian Storthing on the 7th of June placed their resignation in its hands. The Storthing thereupon unanimously adopted a resolution stating that, as the king had declared himself unable to form a government, the constitutional royal power " ceased to be operative," whereupon the ministers were requested, until further instructions, to exercise the power vested in the king, and as King Oscar thus had ceased to act as " the king of Norway," the union with Sweden was in consequence dissolved. In Sweden, where they were least of all prepared for the turn things had taken, the action of the Storthing created the greatest surprise and resentment. The king solemnly pro- The First tested against what had taken place and summoned ;extra. an extraordinary session of the Riksdag for the loth ordinary of June to consider what measures should be taken Rigsdas, with regard to the question of the union, which had 1905. arisen suddenly through the revolt of the Norwegians on the 7th of June. The Riksdag declared that it was not opposed to negotiations being entered upon regarding the conditions for the dissolution of the union if the Norwegian Storthing, after a new election, made a proposal for the repeal of the Act of Union between the two countries, or, if a proposal to this effect was made by Norway after the Norwegian people, through a plebiscite, had declared in favour of the dissolution of the union.. The Riksdag further resolved that loo million kroner (about £555,000) should be held in readiness and be avail-able as the Riksdag might decide. On the resignation of the Ramstedt ministry Mr Lundeberg formed a coalition ministry consisting of members of the various parties in the Riksdag, after which the Riksdag was prorogued on the 3rd of August. After the plebiscite in Norway on the 13th of August had decided in favour of the dissolution of the union and after the Storthing had requested the Swedish government to The co-operate with it for the repeal of the Act of Union, Karistad a conference of delegates from both countries was convention. convened at Karlstad on the 31st of August. On the 23rd ' For further details see NORWAY: History. of September the delegates came to an agreement, the principal points of which were: that such disputes between the two countries which could not be settled by direct diplomatic negotiations, and which did not affect the vital interests of either country, should be referred to the permanent court of arbitration at the Hague, that on either side of the southern frontier a neutral zone of about fifteen kilometres width should be established, and that within eight months the fortifications within the Norwegian part of the zone should be destroyed. Other clauses dealt with the rights of the Laplanders to graze their reindeer alternatively in either country, and with the question of transport of goods across the frontier by rail or other means of communication, so that the traffic should not be hampered by any import or export prohibitions or otherwise. From the and to the 19th of October the extraordinary Riksdag was again assembled, and eventually approved of the The second arrangement come to by the delegates at Karlstad Extra- with regard to the dissolution of the union as well ordinary as the government proposal for the repeal of Riksdag. the Act of Union and the recognition of Norway as an independent state. An alteration in the Swedish flag was also decided upon, by which the mark of union was to be replaced by an azure-blue square. An offer from the Norwegian Storthing to elect a prince of the Swedish royal house as king in Norway was declined by King Oscar, who now on behalf of himself and his successors renounced the right to the Norwegian crown. Mr Lundeberg, who had accepted office only to settle the question of the dissolution of the union, now resigned and was succeeded by a Liberal government with Mr Karl Staaff as prime minister. The question of the extension of the franchise, which was a burning one, was to be the principal measure of the Staaff The government. It brought in a bill for manhood Frcnchtse suffrage at elections for the Second Chamber, Question. together with single member constituencies and election on the absolute majority principle. The bill was passed by the Second Chamber on the 15th of May 1906, by 134 to 94 votes, but it was rejected by the First Chamber by 126 to 18. The latter chamber instead passed a bill for manhood suffrage at elections for the Second Chamber, on the condition that the elections for both chambers should take place on the basis of proportional representation. Both chambers thereupon decided to ask the opinion of the king with regard to the simultaneous extension of the franchise to women at elections for the Second Chamber. The government bill having, however, been passed by the Second Chamber, the prime minister proposed to the king that the Riksdag should be dissolved and new elections for the Second Chamber take place in order to hear the opinion of the country, but as the king did not approve of this Mr Staaff and his government resigned. A Conservative government was then formed on the 29th of May by Mr Lindman, whose principal task was to find a solution of the suffrage question which both chambers could accept. A government bill was introduced, proposing the settlement of the question on the basis of the bill carried by the First Chamber in the Riksdag of the preceding year. A compromise, approved of by the government, was adopted by the First Chamber on the 14th of May 1907 by Ito votes against 29 and in the Second Chamber by 128 against 98. By this act proportional representation was established for both chambers, together with universal manhood suffrage at elections for the Second Chamber, a reduction of the qualifications for eligibility for the First Chamber and a reduction of the electoral term of this chamber from nine to six years, and finally payment of members of the First Chamber, who hitherto had not received any such emolument. King Oscar II. died on the 9th of December 1907, sincerely regretted by his people, and was succeeded as king of Sweden by his eldest son, Prince Gustaf. During King Oscar's reign many important social reforms were carried out by the legislature, and the country developed in all directions. In the Riksdag of 1884 a new patent law was adopted, the age at which women shouldbe held to attain their majority was fixed at twenty-one years and the barbarous prison punishment of " bread and water " abolished. In order to meet the cost of the new army organization the Riksdag of 1902 increased the revenue by progressive taxation, but only for one year. Bills for the improvement of the social conditions of the people and in the interests of the working classes were also passed. During the five years 1884—1889 a committee was occupied with the question of workmen's insurance, and thrice the government made proposals for its settlement, on the last occasion adopting the principle of invalidity as a common basis for insurance against accidents, illness or old age. The Riksdag, however, delayed coming to a decision, and contented itself by earmarking money for an insurance fund. At last the Riksdag of 1901 accepted a Bill for insurance against accidents which also extended to agricultural labourers, in connexion with the establishment of a state institution for insurance. The bill for protection against accidents, as well as for the limitation of working hours for women and children, was passed, together with one for the appointment of special factory inspectors. When in 1897 King Oscar celebrated his jubilee of twenty-five years as king, the exhibition which had been organized in Stockholm offered a convincing proof of the progress the country had made in every direction.
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