Mr. Campbell to Mr. Seward

[No. 19.]

Sir: In my despatch of the 25th ultimo, No. 16, I called the attention of my government to the subject of emigration from Sweden and Norway to the [Page 201] United States. Since that time the official newspaper, published in Stockholm, called the “Post och Surikes Tiedmingar,” of the 26th ultimo, contains an order issued from the civil department of his Swedish Majesty’s government, in relation to emigration to America, a copy of which order, together with a translation thereof affixed, (No. 1,) is herewith enclosed.

I feel very certain that Congress has not, and will not adopt any proposition to “subject emigrants to a loss of freedom for a certain period,” however State legislatures may establish laws to enforce contracts in the forms and ways known to most civilized nations. Yet, I have not thought proper to protest against what appears from the order itself to have been a report from a Swedish consul, that such an act “was being drawn up to be laid before Congress,” when no official character is assigned it. In fact, the Swedish authorities are sorely perplexed at the threatened loss of numerous of their most valuable artisans and laborers, and the order in question shows the extent to which they feel themselves obliged to go to arrest emigration.

We might join issue with the assertion contained in the order, that “experience has shown that many of those who have in former years emigrated to the United States have been disappointed in their hope of obtaining a better subsistence.” This is doubted by the class which supplies emigration, for they know, from public and private channels, that experience, in most instances, points to a directly opposite conclusion. It is also well understood here that the governing classes in Sweden and Norway are interested in throwing every possible barrier in the way of depopulation, and, unless the department shall direct otherwise, I propose to leave the order in question to the press, to emigration societies, and to private correspondence.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, &c., &c., &c.



It having been represented to his Majesty, on the basis of a report from the consul of the United Kingdoms at New York, that a company formed in that city, under the name of the American Immigration Company, with a view to promote immigration from other countries to the United States of America, had appointed a special agent at Gothenburg for the purpose of endeavoring to obtain emigrants from various parts of Sweden, and especially from the manufacturing towns and the iron districts, to which end the said agent is empowered to enter into an agreement with those who wish to emigrate, relating to the provision of employment for them on their arrival, and the payment of their passage; and, also, that an act is being drawn up in the United States to be laid before Congress, providing that emigrants who have had the expense of their passage to America advanced by the said Immigration Company shall be liable to be subjected to a loss of freedom for a certain period, in the event of their refusing, on their arrival, to fulfil the provisions of the said agreement; and, further, it having been proved by experience that many of those who, during previous years, have emigrated to the United States have been disappointed in their hopes of obtaining a better subsistence there than in their own country:

Therefore, his Majesty has been graciously pleased, on the 11th day of April, to prescribe that the grand governor of Stockholm, and the governors of those provinces from which emigration takes place, shall warn, by public proclamation, those who are tempted to such emigration not rashly to abandon their native land, in order to seek an uncertain existence among strangers, speaking a strange language, and separated from their relations and countrymen, while easier means of subsistence are continually being provided at home for the industrious workman.

In fidem.