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to prolong the prescribed course of drill, to extend the existing series of recruits, and to increase the Norrland defence grant, in return for which the Government offered to write off the remaining ground taxes and to facilitate the payment of local debts in other ways. The Government then went altogether considerably out of its way in order to conciliate the opponents to the Bill, which was accepted and passed by the First Chamber. The Lower House, however, proved less amenable, the rejection of the Bill there being brought about by a coalition between several otherwise diverging factions. The Centre expressed the fear that the increased military expenditure would tend to sustain the Protectionist tariff; the Radicals demanded universal suffrage in return for the increased military duties, whilst the old Sconian Landtmanna party for the occasion found itself in somewhat unusual company.
It was whilst this question was still open that the longpending question of the relations between Sweden and Norway reached a critical stage. The proposal for a re-arrangement of the diplomatic representation of the two countries-Norway and Sweden-had been finally discussed in a joint Council of State, and its recommendations at length (Jan. 28) received the approval of the King. It was agreed in this Council, that the proposal should be promptly laid before the legislative bodies of the two countries, and accordingly (Feb. 4) it was introduced in the Riksdag. Its fate in the Norwegian Storthing, and how it was destined to upset the Stang Ministry and entirely alter the course of political events in Norway, is dealt with under that country. Owing to the reception the measure had met with in Norway, its fate in the Swedish Riksdag was foreseen. The Constitutional Committee, however, found it expedient to give expression to its views, which differed from those contained in the royal proposal. The committee was of opinion that the matter should not be dealt with exclusively on the basis of diplomatic affairs, but that the military side of the union between the two countries should also be included, so that the whole question of the union should be considered irrespective of the diplomatic question. This was put forward ostensibly with a view of securing for Norway full equality, and of consolidating and fastening the unionist tie between the two countries. The Chambers, with advisable discretion, declined to support the report of the committee, fearing it might create further excitement and ill-feeling in Norway, the Riksdag simply negativing the proposal. The action of the Swedish Riksdag was, however, not appreciated in Norway, where a new departure had already been declared, and where the Radical Government went far beyond the demands of their former partisans to the extent of insisting on a separate Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs.
In connection with the differences between Sweden and Norway it may here be convenient to point out the false position
in which the Swedish Prime Minister had placed himself by a hasty and ill-advised, but much misconstrued utterance, on the occasion of a private meeting (May 3). Whilst discussing the proposed military reforms he was reported to have said that if they were passed they would be able to "talk Swedish" with. the Norsemen. This remark of M. Akerhielm raised a violent storm in Norway, whilst in Sweden the opponents of the Government tried to put a significance and sense into the Premier's utterance which it was never meant to possess. The matter was turned in every way to the disadvantage of the Prime Minister, and it was thought that he would have to resign forthwith; but he managed to hold on for some little time, and it was two months (July 6) before Baron Akerhielm's resignation was gazetted, M. E. G. Boström the same day being appointed his successor. Some little trouble had been experienced in finding a suitable man, the Free Traders being apprehensive that M. Boström might prove far too advanced a Protectionist. These fears, however, which, after all, may not altogether have been very genuine, were not confirmed by his subsequent doings.
The Bill brought in by a private member, fixing the number of members in both Chambers, which had been left in abeyance, was again taken up for consideration. This measure anticipated a proportionate reduction of the right of representation for the larger towns, with a view of counterbalancing the Radical elements of those constituencies. Some exception was taken to the Bill in the First Chamber, chiefly on points of detail and procedure, but ultimately it was passed by both Chambers without alteration under a protest from the more advanced section in the Lower House. The King, however, declined to give his sanction to the Bill, but it was understood that a Bill founded on it would be adopted by the Government, and reintroduced in the following session.
The Riksdag, in addition, passed several Bills of importance, including a maritime law, which, like one or two other measures, were Scandinavian and not solely Swedish.
In the beginning of July a French squadron of ironclads visited Stockholm, and the reception was so friendly, not to say enthusiastic, that a certain amount of political importance was attached to the visit.
Early in August the purchase by the Swedish State of the Sulea-Gellivara Railway (the Swedish-Norwegian Railway Company) was completed. Although the line was taken over at a very fair valuation, the transaction meant a loss of between two and three millions sterling to the share and debenture holders, mostly English.
On September 1 the new Gothenburg University, liberally endowed by private munificence, was opened with much solemnity, great interest being taken in this, the "youngest University of Europe."
Several elections in the autumn having further increased the Protectionist majority in the First Chamber, the agitation against duty on the more general articles of food was revived with much energy in various parts of the country, the want of work lending considerable force to the protests of the poor and unemployed against such measures, which made the necessaries of life still dearer and more difficult for them to obtain. The most important demonstration took place at Stockholm (Oct. 30), simultaneously in four different quarters of the city. The immediate cause for selecting that day was its being the anniversary of the issue of a royal decree, which promised that some part of the increase of the revenue arising from the Protectionist tariff should be applied to insurance of workmen and other similar purposes beneficial to the poorer classes. It was now urged that the Protectionist Government had not kept this promise, and that the surplus had been diverted to other purposes. This argument was in fact only partially well-founded, for the surplus had, among other things, been applied to making good the financial deficiencies of the previous Free Trade period, and to carrying on the works on the North Trunk State Railway. Moreover, the blame for the absence of any legislative measures for insuring workmen against accidents could not justly be laid to the charge of the Government, but rather attached itself to the Riksdag. No results having come of the previous Parliamentary labours in this respect, the Government on the day of these mass meetings appointed a new committee to consider the question. This committee was constructed to further advance this important matter, principally on the basis of the German law already in operation.
Shortly before the close of the year, a further change was made in the Cabinet, the Church Minister, M. G. Wennerberg, feeling it his duty to resign on account of the manner in which a vacant Professorship had been filled up. His successor was M. Gyljam.
Although the Riksdag of 1891 left for a subsequent session the completion of some very important legislative work, such as a revision of the tariff and, still more, the military question, there were signs that some understanding or arrangement might be arrived at between various parties or factions in the Chambers. These measures may then have a much better chance of being advanced at a not very distant future. It was thought that the compact Protectionist majority in the First Chamber might co-operate with the centre and old Landtmanna party of the Lower House, and that in this way some definite settlement of the military question might be arrived at, and that whilst granting a reduction of the duty on corn, means might be found to ensure a fair amount of protection to Swedish industry.
CENTRAL ASIA-AFGHANISTAN-INDIA-CHINA--AND JAPAN.
Afghanistan.-Although it was often rumoured during the year that an Afghan mission had been appointed by the Ameer, Abdurrahman, to conclude a commercial treaty with Russia, nothing came of it. Later it was said that the Ameer of Bokhara, with envoys from Afghanistan, would be received by the Czar at Gatschina about the middle of December, when the treaty would be signed. None of these rumours were confirmed, and there remained no reason to doubt the Ameer's good faith.
In 1887 Mr. Pyne, an English mechanical engineer, entered the service of the Ameer with the permission of the Government of India. Leave was granted to Mr. Pyne to go on the distinct understanding that he was proceeding at his own risk. He left Peshawur without any European companions, trusting entirely to his Afghan escort. He was ignorant of the language and customs of the people, but he fared well at Cabul, and the Ameer made known to him, through interpreters, his desire to establish workshops for various kinds of manufactures. Estimates, drawings, and photographs of machinery were accordingly placed before his Highness, who examined them critically, and showed greater knowledge than might have been expected regarding mechanical details. He selected various plants of machinery, including every important essential for the formation of engineering workshops and a foundry. Plant for making rifles and munitions of war, and also such labour-saving appliances as minting machinery, soap and candle machinery, &c., were not overlooked. The Ameer, with characteristic shrewdness, stipulated that nothing should be purchased which Mr. Pyne could not undertake to land safely in Cabul. Hence it became necessary to devise means whereby the heavy machinery could be built up in many small parts, as camels were the only transport for a great part of the way. The Ameer's workshops were in due course put in full working order under the management of the two English mechanics who went up to Cabul two years after. The mint was able to turn out a new silver coin of handsome appearance at the rate of fifty a minute, and the cartridge. factory produced a few thousand solid-drawn Martini-Henry cartridges but little, if at all, inferior to those supplied to British troops. The cartridge machinery was in complete working order by the close of the year, but in a few months it was anticipated that the rate of production would reach several thousand rounds of ball ammunition per day. Mr. Pyne was commissioned to buy more plant for the workshops. During his stay in India he spoke in the warmest terms of the kindness and liberality with
which he and his assistants had been treated by the Ameer, and expressed his firm belief in the loyalty of Abdurrahman to the British Government.
The Ameer was exerting himself in July to raise a militia force from the various tribes, and in connection therewith he bestowed various military titles on the local governors. As the crops in the latter end of the summer were seriously damaged by locusts, the export of wheat from Candahar was prohibited. A census was also ordered throughout Afghanistan. In October the Ameer was anxious for a mission to visit Cabul, but the Indian Government opposed this idea, and invited him to visit the Viceroy in India. Not replying to this invitation, the Ameer issued a proclamation stating that he intended to visit England, and claimed to have a sincere friendship for England, although he thought the English only partially recognised it; but as trade developed he hoped there would be a better understanding. The internal progress of the State was excellent during the year, and a possible source of trouble with the refugee adherents of Ishak Khan was, it is stated, satisfactorily nipped in the bud by the summary execution of two Orya Khel chieftains, Shanayar Khan and Dilawar Khan, who were charged with being in treasonable correspondence with their brother at Samarkand, who is one of Ishak Khan's firmest adherents.
The Black Mountain.-At the beginning of the year a strong expedition was sent out under General Lockhart to the Black Mountain to quell the wild tribes raiding the settled borders of the Samana range. Delayed for a time by the intense cold, the first column reached Gwada by the end of January, the second blew up a tribal stronghold at Sinmela, and the third destroyed the village at Salla. Snow on the Kotal lay three feet deep, and a good deal of the early work of the expedition was done while the snow was yet falling. By April both sides were better prepared for hostilities, and it was reported that 19,000 Miranzais were gathering to oppose the British force of 7,500. The fighting, desultory at first, became after a while more severe, and before the end of May the primary effect of the expedition was attained, the Akazai tribe-the most troublesome in the whole districttendering their submission. A fortnight later practically saw the end of the operations. Early in July the despatches were published, the Viceroy heartily concurring with the Commanderin-Chief in his "high appreciation of the vigour and ability with which Sir William Lockhart conducted the operations, and the gallantry of the troops under his command." The encomium was well deserved, for the singularly difficult work of the expedition was very brilliantly carried out in the face of almost every kind of obstacle.
The Hassanzai and Akazai tribes surrendered unconditionally, and accepted the terms imposed upon them, and their chiefs were received in durbar by Major-General Elles, who explained to