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THE NORWEGIAN EMIGRATION TO AMERICA.*

It is now about 30 years since the first Norwegian emigrants forsook their mountains to wander to the far west.

This emigration of a few hundred at that time attracted particularly great attention. People wondered what social evils had forced so many of their countrymen to leave free and happy Norway. They sympathized deeply with the unfortunate emigrants who blindly gave up the comfortsof their home to meet a dark and uncertain future in a foreign country. Much anxiety was felt for the disastrous, economical results, which would be felt in the fatherland, already so thinly populated, in case this emigration fever should continue to rage.

Since that time a great change has taken place. The desire of emigrating has spread more and more; instead of hundreds, thousands of Norwegians now leave their shores annually, but it no longer excites much attention; there is no longer uneasiness as to the fate of the emigrants, or as to the results of emigration. This emigration, however, is a matter which desires attention, and it is, therefore, the purpose in the following pages to inquire more closely into the cause of its development during the 30 years which have elapsed since its commencement, hoping that the result will not be without interest. _

The total number of emigrants from Norway to America during the last 30 years amounts to more than 70,000 persons. ' _

The following table shows the annual emigration :

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1826 to 1835.._ . . . . . . .. some hundreds 1852 ................... .. 4,030 1836 ....... _ .' ........... . . 200 1853 ..... . . 6, 050 1837 .................... -. 200 1s54 ................... .. 5,950 1838 .................. .... 100 1855 ................... . . 1, 600 1839 .................... .. 400 —-— 1840 ........ .. . ......... .. 300 1851 to 1855 ................... .. 20,270 -- 1 1856 ................... -- 3,280 1836 to 1840 .................... .. 1,200 6, 560 1841 .................... .. 400 ' 2,640 1842 .................... . . 700 1859 ................... . . 1, 780 1843 .................. .._.. 1,600 1860 ................... .. 1,875 1844 ....... ..-_ .......... -- 1,200 —-—1845 .................... .. 1,100 1855 to 1860 ................... .. 16,135 —-— 1861 ................... .. 8,850 1841 to 1845.1 .................. .. 5,000 1862 ................... .. 5,100 1846.... ............. ...... 1.300 1863'.....' .............. .. 1.100 1847 .................... . . 1, 600 I864 ................... . . 3, 700 1848 .................... .. 1,400 —— 1849 .................... .. 4, 000 1861 to 1864 ................... .. 18,750 ' 1850 .................... .. 3,700 -—-— Total .................... .. 73, 355 1846 to 1850 .................... .. 12,000 1851 .................... . . 2, 640

Emigration on a large scale first began in 1843, before which period it was confined to Ryfylke, Thelemarken and Nuenedal: but from 1843 the whole of Buskerud amt, together with North and South Bergenhuus amts, began to take part in the general emigration ; afterwards people began to emigrate from Nedences and Robyggelazets amts. In 1848 they first went off in numbers from Christians amt, and also, though to a less extent, from Lyster and Mandals amt. Since that time the desire to emigrate has gradually reached Hedemarkens amt, (1850,) Akershuus, (1853,) North and South Throndhjems amts, (1857,) and finally in 1861 and 1862, Nordland and Finmarken. Hitherto Smaalehnenes, Grevskaberne, (the counties,) and Romsdalen, have not assisted to swell in any important degree this stream of emigration which otherwise has taken place over the whole country.

Emigration has not increased so much in intensity as in extent. While it has spread to districts where it was formerly unknown, it has decreased in some counties or remained stationary, and in others varied considerably from year to year. On the whole it has been

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*'l‘he-sources from which this information has been principally taken are:

1. The quinquennial report of the economical state of the kingdom, giving tables of the number of emigrants from each “ amt," (county,) and generally for every year.

2. Copies of despatches relative to emigration to the North American colonies, (printed in the English parliamentary papers.) These documents contain, amongst other information, statements of the number of emigrants who sailed from each Norwegian port.

3. Statements from Swedish and Norwegian consuls in Quebec and New York.

4. Sundry information which has from time to time appeared in Norwegian newspapers.

In the working of the following statistical data it has been tried as far as possible by comparing one statement with another, to arrive at the truth, relying, however, principally on the information contained in No. 2. As regards the statements in the quinquennial reports the figures will generally be found to be too low. The results arrived at in this manner are, perhaps, not quite accurate, but probably are not far out of the mark.

decidedly irregular, so to speak in fits and starts, so that it is very difiicult to point out with any degree of certainty the mode of development.

In the years 1843—’48 the desire to emigrate appears to have been on the decrease, for although emigration began to take place in a larger number of districts, the total number of emigrants in l844—’48 was, one year with another, somewhat less than in 1843. It was supposed at that time that emigration would either cease altogether, or at all events decrease to a very great extent. The bad harvests of 1847 and 1848 caused the number of emigrants suddenly to mount up to double of what it had been previously, and although the following years were favorable for the country generally, the stream of emigration continued to swell until 1855, in which year only 1,600 persons left their homes, against 6,000 in each of the previous years. In 1856, too, there were fewer emigrants than in several of the preceding years; the bad corn harvest caused larger numbers to emigrate than before. From l858—'60 emigration again decreased to an extent which gave rise to the idea that it was about to be confined within very narrow limits. But the extremely unfavorable harvest of 1860 caused it again to increase, so that the number went up in 1861 to very nearly 9,000, and in 1862 to over 5,000. The war in the United States was of course the reason why so few einigratedin 1863, but in 1864 it seems to have lost its deterring influence, inasmuch as in that year 3,700 persons left their homes for America. I

According to the above statements Norwegian emigration may be classed under four divisions.

Number of emigrants.

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_ The years l836—’42 were the periods in which emigration was first developed. In 1843—’48 It had taken a fixed character; during the next period it rose suddenly to a. considerable 11eight, and sank again in the ensuing years. Its tendency to decrease was greater than the above average would seem to imply; for emigration during the last ten years has assumed a very decided feature, and, not taking into consideration the effects of very bad harvests in two of the years, the average number for the other eight was nearly 2,300.

It is for several reasons interesting to compare the Norwegian emigration with that from the rest of Europe. The following statement of the total emigration to the United States is taken from Bromwell’s “History of Emigration,” and Legoyt’s “ Emigration Europeenne.” The arrivals at the different seaports of the United States were: '

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_ Emigrants. 1810420 on the average annually . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11, 400 l8‘20—’30 on the average annually . . . .-. . . t . . . . . '20, 397 1830—’40 on the averageannually .......................,............; ..... .. 77,850 1840—’46 on the average annually . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . _ _ _. _... .... .... 102, 000 1847—’50 on the average annually . . . . . . . _ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . _. . .... . . _ ..... . . 271, 000 1851—’54 on the average annually ................................... .. . . . - . . 417', 000 1855 on the average annually . . . . . . . . . . . _ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . _ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 230, 476 1856 on the average annually . . . . . 186, 033 1857 on the average annually _ . _ . . . 216, 234 1858 on the average annually . . . . . _ . . . . . . . . . . . . _ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . _ _ _ . . . . . _ . . . ] 1] , 352 1859 on the average annually ............................................. . . 111, 623

We remark here a great similarity. The emigration from Norway and the rest of Europe increased steadily during the years 1830—‘46, and afterwards rapidly up to 1854, from which year we observe a decrease. The only difference is the great increase in emigration from the rest of Europe having commenced as early as I847. The excitement reached this distant part of Europe a year or two later. The emigration from the rest of Europe culminated in 1853 and 1854, during which year larger numbers emigrated from Norway than ever before. The Swedish emigration likewise, though of less importance, has developed itself in a similar manner. It commenced in 1845, rose in 1854 to nearly 4,000, but has since then decreased

to about 700 a year. If we compare the number of emigrants with the total po ulation we shall find that Norway

belongs to those countries in whic emigration assumes t e largest proportion. According to a statement in the above-mentioned work of Legoyt Great Britain and Ireland, South Germany, some of the smaller German states, and Switzerland are the only countries where

emigration has been more extensive. Duval, in his “Histoire de l’Emigration,” page 174, gives the following average:

From Ireland ....................................... .-'. ..... .- 140,000, or 1 out of 44 From Kurhessen .................................. .; ........ .. 9, 300, or 1 out of 79 From Mecklenberg .......................................... .. 7, 500, or 1 out of 85 From Great Britain and Ireland ............................... .. 244,000, or 1 out of 113 From Baden _ . . . _ . _ . _ _ _ _ . . _ _ _ . . _ _ _ . . _ , _ . . . . . . . . . . . .. _ ..... .. 16,239, or 1 out of 101 From Hesse Darmstadt ...................................... .. 4, 700, or 1 out of 181 From Wurtemberg .......................................... . . 8, 340, or 1 out of 214 From Bavaria. .............................................. -. 17,912, or 1 out of 253 From Switzerland ........................................... . . 8, 000, or I out of 300 From Brunswick ........................................... .. 884, or 1 out of 304 From Portugal ______________________________________________ .. 8, 000, or 1 out of 437 From Oldenburg ............. . ., ............................ . . 619, or 1 outof 453 From Norway .............................................. -. 3, 270, or 1 out of 455 From Germany altogether ................................... . . 120, 000, or 1 out of 533

We have shown the order in which the diflierent amts took part in the general emigration. The numbers which each has furnished will be seen by the following table: *

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Population Amts. on Dec. 31, 1855. 1836—’45. 1846—’55. 1856-’64. Total. ' Smaalehnenes .............. . . 55 260 335 84, 416 Akershuus ................. . _ 600 490 1, 100 96, 055 Christiania city ...................... . . 970 130 I, 100 31, 715 Hedemarken . . . . . . . . _ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1, 610 I, 440 3, 050 101, 394 Christians ................. - . 6, 510 6, 030 12, 550 115, 149 Buskerud ............. . . 3, 920 4, 120 9, 150 90, 343 J arlsberg and Laurvig . . . . 280 110 410 73, 223 Bradsberg ................. . . 5, 700 4, 550 13, 050 76, 546 Nedenaes and Robyggelazet.. _ . ... . .. .-. 2, 480 750 3,230 - 59, 112 Lister and Manda] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 770 520 1, 290 67, 370 Stavanger ................. . . 2, 600 3, 230 6, 780 91 , 539 Southern Bergenhuus . . . . . . . . . 2, 700 4, 870 8, 320 104, 763 Bergen city . . . . . . _ . . . . . . . . _ . . . _ . . . . _ _ . . 170 160 330 24, 512 Northern Bergenhnus ....... . . 530 3, 600 6, 130 10, 260 8] , 496 Romsdal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . _ . . . . . . _ _ . _ 45 20 65 . 99, 283

Southern Throndhjem . . . . . . . _ . . . . . . . . , . . 90 400 490 96, 318

Northern Throndhjem . . . . . . _ _ . . . . . . . _ _ _ _ 150 730 880 73, 571

Nordland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . _ _ . . . . . . . . _ _ _ _ . . . . . . . . . . 185 185 77, 587

Finmarken . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 740 780 54, 655 The whole kingdom ........ .. 6, 200 32, 290 3-1, 865 73, 355 1,499, 047 . where lofty

*By comparing these figures with those in the quinquennial reports 1846-'50 and 1851-'55, it will be seen that the sums total for the whole kingdom agree. This is, however, not the case with'the different districts. The most important deviations are as follows:

1. According to this statement the number of emigrants from the city of Christiania from 1846-'55 should have been 970, but according to the quinquennial reports it is 4,288 ; but in these reports all the emigrants are included who left Christiania, provided with passports, most of whom, however, were country people.

2. From Bnskerud amt the statements are, respectively, 3,900 and 4,337; the difierence in this case arises likewise from the fact that the emigrants from Ringerige and Hallingdal districts have been counted twice, the greatest number of whom had provided themselves with passports at Drammen, but who have, of course, been included, notwithstanding, in the difierent Lonsmoend's reports.

3. The “Amtmoand’s" reports of emigration are altogether too low, which, however, has been emphatically stated in several of them. This difl"erence it has been endeavored to correct by comparison, with the more reliable statements of the number of emigrants who sailed from the ditferent ports of the kingdom.

The following is an instance showing the way at which the result is arrived at. During the five years from 1851-'55, there emigrated from Bergen more than 3,840 persons. In the quinquennial report the total number of emigrants from Bergen. Throndhjem, and Tromsoe provinces is 2,995, of whom 30 are known to have sailed. from Christiauia. The number in this quinquennial report must consequently be increased by 880, or 291} per cent. ; the emigrants from southern Bergenhuus amt must therefore have been 889 instead of 669.

No doubt this mode of calculation has its objections; but it is the only one which can be adopted it! order to arrive at anything like a good result, and when applied to large numbers will be generally found corect.

The po ulation of the country in 1855 may, with regard to emigration in the period from 18Il6—’64, e considered as the average; for even if it be not exact, we must remember that of the emigrants who left Norway from 1836-’55, by far the greatest number were from 1849—’55, so that emigration for the most part lies nearer the year 1855 than one would imagine at the

first glance.
For every 1,000 of the average population there emigrated from the years 1836—64—

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From Bradsbergs amt .............. .. 17] From Finmarken ................... -- 14 From Nedre Bergenhuus.. .. 126 From Bergen city . .... .... ... ... 13 From Christians amt ............... .. 109 From Northern Bergenhuus amt ..... . . 12 From Buskerud .................... .. 102 From Akershuus...... .... . .... . .... 11 From Southern Bergenhuus ......... .. 79 From Jarlsberg and Laurvig ........ . . 6 From Stavanger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 74 From Southern Throndhjems amt .... .. 5 From Nedenaes and Robyggelazet .... . 55 From Smaalehnenes ................ .. 4 From Christiania city .............. .. 35 From Nordland .................... .. 2 From Hedemarken . . . . . . _ . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Fro Romsdal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . _ . . . .. 1 From Lister and Mandal ........... . . 19 From the whole kingdom ........... .. 49

From the above statement, it appears that emigration has been most extensive in the amts mountain tracts are most numerous. If we regard more closely the diiferent anits, we shall find-the same ditference between the mountain districts and the more open countr .

The yieports in our possession show that in Christilns amt the district Valders has contributed the largest numbers to emigration. In Buskeruds amt emigration had its commencement in Numedal, and has since been most extensive in Hallingdal. In the district of Buskerud the greatest number have gone from the mountain tract Sigdal, in Bradsbergs amt from Upper Thelemarken, and in Stavan er amt from Ryfylke. ,

It may be observed that the northern boun ary line for emigration in the province of Ber

.n is formed by the vast mountain chain which runs between the district of Sogne and those of South and North F'ords. The extensive emigration from North Bergenhuus amt has been

almost wholly from t e district of Sogne. » Together with the above statement of the extent of emigration from the different parts of

the kingdom, we will furnish a little information concerning the routes the emigrants have

generally chosen. The first emigrants left Stavanger, direct for New York, in 1836; later on,_ when emigration

became more extensive, large numbers went by way of Havre, Hamburg, Bremen, and a few of the other ports from which the great stream of European emigration flowed. In 1843 no less than 843 Norwegian emigrants went by way of Havre. Of 320 persons who left for America in 1846, provided with passports at the Drammen police oflice, 290 went by way of Havre, and 30 by way of Hamburg. In the following year 88 persons were furnished with passports from the same town. These went by way of Altona. In 1848 passports were given to 99, who went by way of Gottenborg. The following table of the Norwegian emigrants who arrived at Havre in 1846 is based on the consular lists:

From Drammen ............................................................. ... 293 From Langesund .................... ..' ....................................... . . 204 From Kragerii ............................................................... . . 100 From Skien . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. .. .......... .. . ................................ . . I03

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From Christiansand ................ . . . ...... . .
From Grimstad .............................................................. . . .
Total .................................................................. . . 889

The Norwegian emigration by way of Havre ceased, we believe, in 185], in which year the last vessel arrived with 60 passengers, from Brevig.

Of late years indirect emigration has not been extensive, and _has been chiefly by way of Liverpool, from which port 300 Norwegian emigrants are stated to have sailed for Quebec from I )852—’54, occasionally by way of Gottenborg, and also by way of Copenhagen, (Mormons.

The direct emigration from Norway was formerly to New York alone, but is now almost entirely to Quebec. The reason of the chan e was the repeal of the English navigation act in 1849. Since that time Norwegian vessels ave been largely engaged in the freight trade from the British possessions in North America to Europe. The greatest number of Norwegian ships go to America in ballast, but not a few take emigrants.

The following table of the number of Norwegians who have arrived at Quebec and New

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York is taken from copies of despatches relative to emigration to the North American colonies, as also from reports from the commissioners of emigration of New York:

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If the statements here given be compared with the previous ones of the total number of emigrants for each year, it will be found that the number from Quebec and New York is somewhat lower, viz: 51,734 against 55,955. The following are the reasons:

The American reports on Norwegian emigration to New York are very inexact, which cannot be wondered at when we take into consideration how small the number of Norwegians is compared with the hundreds of thousands from all other nations which annually arrive at that city. An instance or two will show this inaccuracy. In 1847 there arrived, according to the American statement, 882 Norwegian emigrants only; but in the Norwegian quinquennial report, 1.360, exclusive of a number of persons who emigrated from 1846-’50, without the year being given. In 1853 the Norwegian emigration to New York, according to the same report, amounted to 377; but, by adding together the special tables of the Norwe ian consul for every vessel that arrived at New York, we find that there came from Bergen 86, from Stavanger 85, and from Christiania 182, passengers. As regards the statements from Quebec, they seem pretty accurate, but the figures here given have reference to emigrants landed at Quebec, which, on account of the mortality during the passage, represent somewhat less than the number of emigrants who sailed from Norway.

Finally, the indirect emi ration must not be forgotten.

With reference to the a ove, the whole of the Norwegian emigration from 1836-'64 has proceeded in the following manner:

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Direct: g >~ Year. 5 E Total. c z ‘*5 : 3 Pa 2’ 2 =5‘ 55‘ E3 5 rsse-so ....................... ..... .. 248 11,960(?) 6,gg8(1) , 1s,200 185]-’53 ............................... .. 7 51 4 550 12 120 1854-‘G4 ........ .................... .. 401310 '520 1,605 421435 To ether ......................... 48,060 11,030, 8,265 13, 355 s

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