No. 457.
Mr. Stevens to Mr. Evarts.

No. 55.]

Sir: General Björnstjerna, the minister of foreign affairs, having just terminated his leave of absence, which began immediately before my reception of your dispatch 55, to-day I had a conference with him concerning the views and position of the United States Government as presented in your communication touching Mormon emigration, and gave him in writing the essential portion of your dispatch.

The minister of foreign affairs gave a frank and cordial reception to the conversation which I made in the spirit of your instructions, and to the reading of the substantial portion of your communication, and the interview was in all respects as satisfactory as could have been expected. He expressed himself gratified that the United States Government had moved in the matter, and implied the hope that it would act vigorously to abate the evil indicated. He seemed to think that there are obstacles rendering it somewhat difficult for the Swedish and Norwegian Government to act with entire effectiveness relative to persons leaving these countries in the usual way by the established lines of commercial transit. But whatever can be done, he had no doubt his government would most readily do. He thought the Swedish and Norwegian authorities could respond to the views and wishes of the United States Government by officially publishing the purport of the United States laws and penalties relative to Mormon polygamy, and the liabilities which the emigrant would incur in becoming a party to any designs or action involving the violation of the laws of the United States.

He furthermore indicated that the pastors in their respective parishes could render effective assistance in the same direction. Sweden and Norway are territorially divided and organized into parishes, and the pastor or clergyman of each parish is in some sense a civil officer as well as a religious teacher. The laws and determination of the United States [Page 965] touching polygamy, becoming officially known here, will enable the pastors to speak with directness as to the liabilities and evils which the Mormon disciple will incur by going to America and becoming an associate of the lawbreakers of Utah. So far as practicable and consistent with the Swedish and Norwegian laws, I think there are substantial and conclusive reasons for the hope that His Majesty’s Government of these countries will aid in preventing the Mormon agents and emissaries from seducing from their homes the men and women of Sweden and Norway, to help swell the numbers of the lawbreakers in that community beyond the ocean, where a strange fanaticism audaciously assumes to criminally confront the authority of a friendly nation, and to trample under foot the morality and teachings of Christian civilization. The government and the public sentiment of these countries are averse to having their population victimized and depleted by immoral and criminal means.

So often as it may be necessary, or seem to promise good results, I shall hold further interviews with the minister of foreign affairs relative to this question, will observe what action may be taken by the Swedish and Norwegian officials, and report to the Secretary of State accordingly.

I have, &c.,