A Forerunner to the Norwegian Council of State

1807 - 1810

The war between Great Britain and Denmark-Norway from 1807, where Sweden supported Britain, led to a situation where communications between Denmark and Norway were broken – at sea as well as over land. In the years 1807-1810 this caused certain adjustments in the centralised Danish governing of Norway.

On 24 August 1807, it was announced in Copenhagen that a temporary government commission and a commission to secure military provisions, would be established in Christiania (Oslo). A few days later it was decided to establish a separate cashier’s board for Norway. On 9 October 1807, a superior criminal court was established, to serve as supreme court in Norwegian criminal cases, and on 11 December 1807, a Norwegian admiralty court was set up.

First government bodies since 1536
These were the first national government bodies to be established in Norway since the Council of the Realm had been dissolved and the country had been subdued to the Danish Crown in 1536. The Danish-Norwegian provincial capital of Christiania now more clearly emerged as Norway’s capital, a status Oslo had held for a couple of centuries from the 14th century.

The four first members of the Government Commission in Christiania, which met for the first time on 1 September 1807, were the Danish Governor-General – Prince Christian August (president); Diocesan County Governor Gebhard Moltke of Akershus, County Chief Justice Enevold de Falsen of Akershus, and County Governor Marcus Rosenkrantz of Smaalenene (Østfold).

On 2 December 1808, the Commission was enlarged by the entry of County Governor  Herman Wedel Jarlsberg of Buskerud and  Mathias Sommerhielm, Director General af Military Prosecutions. Prince Christian August retired on 28 December 1809. Prince Frederik of Hessia, Deputy Governor-General and member of the Commission since 22 November 1809, now took over as commission president. The Government Commission had its last meeting on 30 November 1810. Christiania’s period as Norwegian capital was over for this time.

Links to 1814
Three of the Commission’s members came to play central roles in the years up to 1814 and thereafter: Herman Wedel Jarlsberg as member of the National Assembly, member of the Storting, councillor of state and governor-general, Marcus Rosenkrantz as councillor of government and councillor of state, and Mathias Sommerhielm as councillor of government, councillor of state and prime minister.