Mr. Stevens to Mr. Evarts.
Stockholm, December 22, 1880. (Received January 10, 1881.)
Sir: In my dispatch 67, of March 9, 1880, I gave the terms of the decision of the Swedish and Norwegian Government touching the request of the United States Government embodied in the communication of Secretary of State as to the supression of the efforts of Mormon the agents promotive of the emigration of persons to Utah for unlawful purposes.
The conclusion of His Majesty’s Government on the subject is stated in the following language of O. M. Björnstjerna, minister of foreign affairs, in a communication addressed to me under the date of February 24, 1880:
After your demand I addressed the competent authorities of the United Kingdoms, praying them to guard, by such means as they should judge proper, the populations [Page 1068]against the fallacious promises of the Mormon agents, and to inform them of the severe penalties to which they would expose themselves according to the American laws, those who should attempt to put in practice the doctrines of Mormonism in the United States.
As relating directly to this declared purpose of this government, I give below a brief statement of what has recently transpired in one of the Swedish provinces, according to the account given in the Dagblad, a very reliable and one of the most influential newspapers of Stockholm, which often reflects more or less the views of His Majesty’s Government. This account says that—
Two Mormon preachers who, during the last few weeks, have wandered about in Holland trying to gain proselytes for their sect, arranged Sunday evening a meeting at a house on Golga Hill, where they probably thought to draw some of the simple people into their net and persuade them to join that respectable company who call themselves “Latter-day Saints.” But this time their acquisition was little or nothing, says the Holland newspaper, for Pastor G. Gadd, who learned what the two Utah prophets had arranged for Sunday evening, applied to Police Commissioner Otterman, who with Mr. Gadd went to the place of meeting accompanied by two constables.
As the two gentlemen entered the room where a crowd of forty to fifty persons, for the most part women, were attentively listening to one of the preacher’s sage sayings, the other politely offered them seats. The preacher, by the name of Ola Nilsson Stål, formerly a tailor’s apprentice, painted in the most brilliant colors the beauties of the Mormon religion and the “heavenly Lion” far away in his beloved country, America, where he urged his hearers to go. When Stål, who had no idea who his last comers were, ceased for an instant his confused talk, Pastor Gadd interrupted him with the declaration that enough had been said, and that the speaker would be wiser if he ceased to appear in the rôle of “conversion preacher” and to confuse the people. As the two Mormons wished to make some opposition, and a murmur was heard in the room, the police commissioner declared that the meeting was dissolved and ordered those present to leave. Those who partly from curiosity had come, soon dispersed.
On Monday the two Mormons presented themselves at the police office to give information with regard to themselves, and declared themselves to be Ola Nilsson Stål, born in Sweden in 1835, and Peter Nilsson, formerly farm-laborer, born in Sweden in 1840, both in the province of Molmohus. The former had been converted to Mormonism in 1854, and the latter was not confirmed. They had both for many years been living in America, and had been recently sent to their native country to make converts to Mormonism and to attract people to Utah. As they made no kind of legal defense, or could not justify, they were ordered to immediately leave the city on penalty of being treated as vagrants.
I have previously stated in my communications on this subject that a Swedish pastor of the Established Church is in some regards a legal municipal officer, and by his official and social influence wields often decided authority. This action of the Swedish pastor and police authorities indicates that His Majesty’s Government, for the safeguard of the interests of these countries, as well as for friendly regards towards the United States, is desirous of preventing the dissemination of the pernicious evils of Mormonism within its jurisdiction.
I have, &c.,