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unalterably opposed to yielding in perpetuity to British subjects the free navigation of the Columbia River.73 Aberdeen waited with some trepidation4 until Congress also displayed evidences of a conciliatory disposition,"5 when he instructed Pakenham to present a project of a treaty which made the boundary the forty-ninth parallel and Fuca's Strait, granted to the Hudson's Bay Company the right to navigate the Columbia,& and guaranteed the possessory rights of that company and the Puget Sound Agricultural Company south of the forty-ninth parallel.” The Senate, on June 12, by a vote of 37 to 12, advised the President to accept the British proposal, which was done, and the treaty was concluded on June 15 in the exact form in which the proposal came from Aberdeen's hand.
13 See Buchanan to McLane (private), February 26, 1846. Buchanan's Works, VI. 385-387.
** Aberdeen wrote privately to Pakenham, May 4, 1846, saying, “the evils of delay . . . would be very serious if I thought that Congress should rise before the arrival of my proposition.”
15 In passing under a conciliatory form the resolution to give notice of the abrogation of the joint-occupation agreement.
*6 The Senate was convinced that the right would terminate with the expiration of the company's charter, May 30, 1859. See Buchanan to Clay, June 13, 1846. Works, VII. 10.
" See the treaty, in Treaties, Conventions, etc., of the United States (1910), I. 656.
THE SCANDINAVIAN ELEMENT IN AMERICAN
Of the present population of the United States probably not less than three million persons are of pure Scandinavian stock, counting both the hundreds of thousands of Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish immigrants now living, and the descendants in the second and third generation of these and other immigrants of earlier years. As a considerable factor in the flight of the Teutonic tribes from Europe to America in the nineteenth century, a study of the native qualities of the Scandinavian immigrants, their numbers, and their motives in transplanting themselves to new soil, would be instructive. Of more immediate and vital concern, however, are the consequences to the Republic, which have followed their settlement, for it is obvious that the social and economic meaning of these seven figures would be vastly different if they stood for the same number of gambling gypsies, Chinese coolies, Mexican peons, or recruits from the proletariat of the south or west of Europe.
The final test of the value of any alien element in the population of a nation must always be its capacity for amalgamation with the better part of the adopting country, its ability and willingness to contribute positively and progressively to the upbuilding of the institutions and spirit of the nation whose life it shares. The Scandinavians have so often shown an exceptional power of adaptability in matters social and political that their large participation in the immigration movement from Europe during the last sixty years makes reasonable the presumption of large benefits to accrue from their coming to America. One of the great advantages which they possess for the enrichment of their chosen country lies in the freedom and education under which they have grown up in the Northern kingdoms, and in the fact that they have brought with them scanty luggage of social distinctions, class traditions, and ecclesiastical obligations.
The Swedish colony on the Delaware River in the middle of the seventeenth century, content in its quiet frontier plenty, was a significant forerunner of the great hosts of their emigrating kinsmen of the nineteenth century. Nearly fifty years after the founding of this colony of the Swedish crown, William Penn commented on its prosperity, and added: “They have fine children, and almost every house full: rare to find one of them without three or four boys and as many girls; some six, seven, and eight sons. And I must do them that right, I see few young men more sober and laborious.”2 But the narrow Atlantic coast was not to be the site of the New Sweden. Complications of European politics and the undeveloped state of the right of expatriation postponed for two hundred years the exodus of the children of the North, till finally, in the course of migration events, rare and attractive opportunities in the newer and vaster American West combined with industrial unrest in the northern peninsulas of Europe to produce a veritable army of emigrants who scrupled little to leave the three Norse kingdoms and enlist as citizens under a foreign flag.
1 The substance of this paper was read at the New York meeting of the American Historical Association, December 31, 1909.
This immigration reached its high-water mark in 1882, when more than 105,000 Scandinavians reached America, the major part of them going directly into the West, very few stopping east of Chicago. Another period of prosperity in the Upper Mississippi Valley, quite as much industrial as agricultural, produced another record of 77,000 of the same sort of immigrants in 1903, but by no means so large a proportion of them went into the agricultural sections of the Northwest as in the earlier decades.
The longing for land, the determination to own a farm at the earliest possible moment, is the most significant fact in the story of the influence of Scandinavian immigration to the United States. The call of the wild, rich, boundless western prairie, to be had in quarter sections, almost for the asking, with water and wood and fish and game near by, fell upon eager hearts in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, where the areas of good land were narrowly limited by nature, subjected to many customary restrictions, and to be purchased, if purchasable at all, only with a great price in money and effort. The words of the call came in familiar tongues, in letters from adventurers into the new West, in interviews with prosperous immigrants who returned to visit their old home parishes, in circulars and in immigrant guide-books sent out by states, counties, railroads, and land companies. Agents were sent like missionaries to preach enthusiastically and effectively the gospel of Minnesota's or Wisconsin's or Dakota's industrial and agricultural advantages. The appeal was quite as much to the imagination as to the understanding; the response was made by the bravest, sturdiest, and most
* Janney, Life of William Penn, p. 236.
ambitious. The inspiration, the release of spiritual energies, and the development of new powers of activity and effort, in the process of adjustment to American conditions, have been potent, persistent, subtle social factors, affecting two generations of the immigrants and their children's children of two more generations. Thus it came about that the prospective joys of owning a farm and of expanding its acreage, with the prosperity of the years and with the growth of the family, made the hardships of pioneering and the isolation of the frontier seem as very little things to the strong-limbed, soundhearted, land-hungry Swedes, Norwegians, and Danes in the middle Northwest, as compared with their more gregarious cousins of western and southern Europe, who sought American cities, construction gangs, or mining camps.
The Norwegian immigration was the earliest, attaining considerable proportions in the late thirties and early forties of the last century, when Illinois and Wisconsin were bidding loudly for settlers, with Chicago and Milwaukee as competing ports of entry for fresh importations. Here grew up, especially in Dane, Jefferson, and Rock counties in southeastern Wisconsin, strong Norwegian colonies typical of later settlements, towards which later comers directed their steps and in which they rested for a few weeks or worked for a few months before seeking a permanent location where good land was cheaper than in the partially occupied regions. The Swedish movement, beginning with a small colony in Wisconsin in 1841, got its first large impetus in the Jansonist communistic-religious settlement in Henry County in Illinois between 1846 and 1850. By 1860 both the Swedes and the Norwegians were pushing into Minnesota and Iowa in large numbers. The four states just named claimed the bulk of the Viking immigrants for the next two decades. But good land at the minimum price of $1.25 per acre was growing scarce even in Minnesota, and about 1880 Nebraska and the Dakotas were annexed to the new Scandinavia. In this manner was realized the prophetic vision of Frederika Bremer, the Swedish authoress and traveller, whose striking words, written in St. Paul in 1850, and published in her Homes of the New Il'orld, were widely read by her countrymen in Europe:
What a glorious new Scandinavia might not Minnesota become ! Here would the Swede find again his clear, romantic lakes, the plains of Scania rich in corn, and the vallies of Norrland; here would the Norwegian find his rapid rivers, his lofty mountains, for I include the Rocky Mountains and Oregon in the new kingdom; and both nations, their hunting-fields and their fisheries. The Danes might here pasture their flocks and herds, and lay out their farms on richer and less misty
coasts than those of Denmark. . . Scandinavians who are well off in the old country ought not to leave it. But such as are too much contracted at home, and who desire to emigrate, should come to Minnesota. The climate, the situation, the character of the scenery agrees with our people better than that of any other of the American States, and none of them appear to me to have a greater or a more beautiful future before them than Minnesota."
This strong, normal movement of a mature, educated, purposeful people into the agricultural areas of the Upper Mississippi and Red River valleys naturally resulted in the grouping together of companies of Norwegians or Swedes or Danes in certain counties, just as, at a later time, there occurred a similar segregation by wards and precincts in the cities, when the percentage of artisans among the immigrants increased, and when the cities absorbed a larger proportion of the new arrivals. In this way Dane and Jefferson counties in Wisconsin, Winneshiek County in Iowa, Freeborn, Fillmore, Ottertail, and Goodhue counties in Minnesota, and Cass, Traill, and Grand Forks counties in North Dakota are strongly Norwegian; Winnebago in Illinois, Douglas and Burnett in Wisconsin, Chisago, Wright, and Nicollet in Minnesota are Swedish counties; while the Danes are numerous in Pottawatomie and Shelby counties in Iowa, Howard in Nebraska, and Pembina in North Dakota. In some of the newer counties, like Burnett and Polk in Wisconsin, Pope in Minnesota, and Griggs in North Dakota, the foreign-born Scandinavians in 1900 were very nearly one-fourth of the total population, and those of the second generation, native-born, were nearly another fourth.
In the city-ward movement of the last thirty years, the Scandinavians, immigrant and native-born, have taken part, and as a result, Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Omaha, and Rockford have large sections where the Swedish, Norwegian, or Danish elements predominate. In fact, Chicago ranks fourth among the cities of the world in its population of purely Scandinavian birth, while in the number of Swedes it ranks third. After liberal allowance has been made for this later movement to the cities, it appears from the census figures of 1900 that not above one-fifth of the persons of pure Norse blood in the United States live in cities of 25,000 population or over.
The comparative significance of this steady tendency of the immigrants from Northern Europe to go into agricultural sections may be roughly estimated in figures. Of the native Americans, one out of six engages in agriculture in some capacity; of the Germans in the United States, one out of seven; of the Irish, one out of twelve;
3 Bremer, Homes of the New World, II. 314-315.