Address of the Norwegian Government to His Majesty King Oscar resigning their Offices

Christiania, 6 June 1905.


To the King,

In State Council at the Castle of Stockholm, on the 27th May, it has pleased your Majesty, in reply to our humble resignations, to resolve: –

"It being evident to me that no other Government can now be formed, I do not comply with the resignations tendered by the Ministers".

According to the Fundamental Law of Norway it is incumbent on the King of Norway to procure for the country a constitutional Government. At the very moment the policy of the King prevents the formation of a responsible Council, the Norwegian Royal Power has ceased to be in function.

By your Majesty's Resolution the constitutional relationship between your Majesty and the responsible Ministers of the Crown has further been brought into a position which does not admit of being maintained. In a constitutional country no Government, nor any single member or the same, can be forced to continue against his will with the responsibility of a Minister, when their responsible advices in important questions vital to the country are not followed by the King, who, according to the Constitution, is free from responsibility. As it is, in these circumstances, the unquestionable right of every single member of the Ministry, as a free man, to resign his charge, so this will generally also be a duty towards the country for the maintenance of its constitutional rights.

Your Majesty has declared that no other government can now be formed. Your Majesty has found this to be so evident that the King of Norway has, during these serious days, remained at the Palace of Stockholm without making any attempt to restore the country to a constitutional position.

The policy which has found its expression in your Majesty's position towards the question of sanctioning the Consular Law is, in our opinion, incompatible with the Norwegian Constitution. But no more than any new Government can assume the responsibility of this policy, no more can we, by remaining in our offices, render ourselves accessory to it. It is, therefore, our duty to retire from the management of our offices, and instantly to give the Storthing due notice thereof.

This will now be done.

Profound and irreconcilable political differences have thus shattered the frame of the constitutional Norwegian Kingdom. Matters and circumstances have been stronger than the will of the individual. But the dissolution of the Union which has now been initiated by your Majesty's above-named Resolution - certainly taken with a heavy heart, but also with a clear understanding of its consequences - may yet, so is our hope, within a short time prove to have been the beginning of better and happier days for the two nations whose prosperity and welfare your Majesty has always had at heart.

Finally, we beg to present to your Majesty our most humble thanks for the personal graciousness and kindness shown to us during the time we have had the bonus to be members of your Majesty's Council.

We beg your Majesty to receive the assurance that we fully realize your Majesty's difficult position, and we beg to profess our unaltered high esteem. But before all things must stand our duty towards the country.

(Signatures of all the members of the Ministry.)

6 June 1905.


British and foreign papers. 1904-1905, Vol. XCVIII (98), London: Foreign Office, 1909, p. 794-795.

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