NAHA Header

NAHA Logo

The Norwegian Quakers of 1825*
by Henry J. Cadbury (Volume I: Page 60)

*This study appeared in the Harvard Theological Review for October, 1925, and is here reprinted with the kind permission of the editors of that periodical and of the author. A few additions to the notes have been made by the author and are indicated by brackets. Ed.

The story of Quakerism in Norway and the story of Norwegian immigration to America have been told more than once, each by its separate historians, {1} but they need to be dovetailed together. The following paper is an effort to make some combination between them, appropriate to the centennial year of 1925.

The odyssey of the sloop "Restaurationen" has been rehearsed for three generations in Norwegian homes of the American Northwest, and several independent but consonant accounts are in print. {2} Probably none is earlier or more authentic than that in the True Account of America for the Information and Help of Peasant and Commoner by Ole Rynning. This man, himself a Norwegian of the next great tide of immigration, and his book, written in Illinois in 1837-38 and published in Christiania in 1838, are both of the greatest interest, but I proceed at once to quote from a recent English translation {3} of his story of the earliest party.

"In 1821 a person by the name of Kleng Peerson from the county of Stavanger in Norway emigrated to New York in the United States. He made a short visit back to Norway in 1824 and, through his accounts of America, awakened in many the desire to go there. An emigration party consisting of fifty-two persons bought a little sloop for eighteen hundred speciedaler and loaded it with iron to go to New York. The skipper and mate themselves took part in this little speculation. They passed through the channel and came into a little outport on the coast of England, where they began to sell whiskey, which is a forbidden article of sale at that place. When they found out what danger they had thereby incurred, they had to make to sea again in greatest haste. Either on account of the ignorance of the skipper or because of head winds they sailed as far south as the Madeira Islands. There they found a cask of madeira wine floating on the sea, which they hauled into the boat and from which they began to pump and drink. When the whole crew had become tipsy, the ship came drifting into the harbor like a plague-ship, without command, and without raising its flag. A man on a vessel from Bremen, which was lying in port, shouted to them that they must immediately hoist their flag if they did not wish to be fired upon by the cannons of the fortress, which, indeed, were already being aimed at them. Finally one of the passengers found the flag and had it raised. After this and other dangers they at length reached New York in the summer of 1825. In all, the voyage from Stavanger to America had taken fourteen weeks, which is the longest time I know any Norwegian to have been on the way. Nobody, however, had died on the sea, and all were well when they landed. It created universal surprise in New York that the Norwegians had ventured over the wide sea in so small a vessel, a feat hitherto unheard of. Either through ignorance or misunderstanding the ship had carried more passengers than the American laws permitted, and therefore the skipper and the ship with its cargo were seized by the authorities. Now I can not say with certainty whether the government voluntarily dropped the matter in consideration of the ignorance and childlike conduct of our good countrymen, or whether the Quakers had already at this time interposed for them; all I am sure of is that the skipper was released, and the ship and its cargo were returned to their owners. They lost considerably by the sale of the same, however, which did not bring them more than four hundred dollars. The skipper and the mate settled in New York. Through contributions from the Quakers the others were enabled to go farther up into the country. Two Quakers in the company established themselves in Rochester. One of these, Lars Larson by name, lives there still. The others bought land in Murray, five miles northwest of Rochester. They had to give five dollars an acre, but, since they did not have money with which to liquidate the entire amount at once, they made arrangements to pay by installments within ten years. Each one bought forty acres. The land was thickly overgrown with woods and difficult to clear. Consequently, during the first four or five years conditions were very hard for these people. They often suffered great need, and wished themselves back in Norway; but they saw no possibility of getting there without giving up the last mite of their property, and they would not return as beggars. Well-to-do neighbors assisted them, however, and by their own industry they at last got their land in such condition that they could earn a living from it, and live better than in their old native land."

Further information concerning this voyage may be culled from other sources. Lars Larson is the only ' slooper' mentioned by name, and by common consent he is regarded as the leader of the party. The names of the other fifty-one have been industriously collected with such information as could be recalled of them and their descendants. {4} According to tradition the date of starting was, very appropriately, July 4, 1825, though contemporary newspaper reference suggests July 5. The landing in New York was on October 9. The clearance papers at the custom-house at Stavanger have been found, {5} and in the American newspapers some extended account of the "Novel Sight" of the arrival, as .well as formal notices in the shipping news. The New York American for example, on Monday evening, October 10, 1825, contains under "Marine Journal, Port of New York," the following item, "Arr. Danish sloop Restoration, Holland. 78 days from Norway via Long Island Sound, with iron to Boorman & Johnston, forty two passengers." Except that the sloop was neither Danish nor from Holland, {6} and that the days should number ninety-eight and the passengers fifty-two, the item is substantially correct. Strictly speaking the passengers should number fifty-three, for to Lars Larson and his wife was born, on September 2, their first child, Margaret Allen Larson.

The smallness of the vessel, which subjected the captain to some inconvenience in New York harbor, is mentioned by Ole Rynning. It appears that a law of March 2; 1819, allowed only two passengers to each five tons, {7} while "Restaurationen" had more than twice its quota. This we see from the tonnage named in the following description of the ship and party in the New York Daily Advertiser of Wednesday, October 12, 1825.

"The vessel is very small, measuring as we understand only about 360 Norwegian lasts or forty-five American tons .... Most of the passengers belong to families from the vicinity of a little town at the southwestern extremity of Norway, near Cape Stavanger. Those who came from the farms are dressed in coarse cloaths of domestic manufacture, of a fashion different from the American, but those who inhabited the town wear calicos, ginghams, and gay shawls, imported, we presume, from England. The vessel is built on the model common to fishing boats on that coast, with a single mast and topsail, sloop-rigged.

For the earlier history of Lars Larson, leader of the "sloopers," as they are called, we must turn elsewhere, and principally to Quaker letters and journals. Lars Larson Jeilane, to give him his full name, was born in Stavanger in Norway, September 24, 1787. He became a ship carpenter and served on board a Norwegian merchant vessel. In 1807, while Denmark and Norway .were at war with England, the ship in which he was employed was captured by the English, and he and the rest of the crew remained prisoners of war for seven years until after the treaty of Kiel. It was among these prisoners that he met the Quakers, and from this time their records begin to throw light on his history. A survey of their experiences is given by Stephen Grellet, that prince of Quaker missionaries, in his journal in connection, with a visit he paid them in 1814. He writes: {8}

"From Rochester I went on board a large prison-ship, below Chatham, to endeavor to have a meeting among the prisoners of war on board. They were generally Danes and Norwegians. Many of them were taken on merchants' vessels; some during their fishing excursions. A very remarkable visitation of the Holy Spirit took place on this prison-ship; three or four of the prisoners felt so powerfully convinced of sin that they sat together in the crowded ship weeping and praying. This drew upon them the sneers of the crew and the abuses of their fellow-prisoners; but they bore all with so much patience and meekness that some of their persecutors felt constrained to join them. Through living faith in Jesus Christ, the Saviour of sinners, some of them now felt their sorrow because of sin to be exchanged for joy and gratitude, a lively hope being begotten in them in His mercy and redeeming love. Their minds were so far illuminated by the Spirit in the deep things of God, that, witnessing a spiritual communion with the Father of Spirits, a right sense was given them of the nature of that worship which is in spirit and in truth: they accordingly sat together in silence, having their spirits gathered before God, undisturbed by the noise about them, or the revilings and reproaches, and even the stripes inflicted upon them. What greatly encouraged them was, that amidst so much suffering their number increased, and several of their most cruel persecutors became one in spirit with them, and in their turn endured with Christian patience the same sufferings that they had before inflicted upon others. During that time some on board, happening to tell to the men in a boat which had brought provision to the ship what a strange people they had among them, one of the boatmen said, "They were like the Quakers." That account came to the knowledge of a Friend, who sent to the ship a copy of "Barclay's Apology," in the Danish language. The little company read it very carefully, and found there several Christian testimonies of which they had been convinced before. They easily apprehended that against war and oaths, and in favour of silent worship, etc. Their number increased to thirty, nineteen of whom are Norwegians. Their good conduct attracted the attention and kindness of the captain of the ship, who generously granted them several privileges. He received me and the friends that accompanied me with great civility; he had the spacious decks covered with awnings, and seats prepared, and we had a meeting with about seven hundred prisoners; many were much affected. After this we had a private opportunity with about forty of the Norwegians and Danes, whom the Lord has so mercifully visited. It was a very tendering time. They appear acquainted with genuine piety. Free communication was allowed us on board this ship, because peace is now made between the European nations. These men are waiting till there is an opportunity to send them back to their respective nations."

There are extant letters also to English Friends from the prisoners themselves. One of the latter was Enoch Jacobsen of Stavanger. He ran away from home in 1808 and, joining a privateer, was captured three days later and imprisoned for three years in Scotland, and later at Chatham with some six hundred other prisoners. He was evidently the first of them to become interested in Quakerism. Another was Elias Tastad, also of Stavanger, and both these continued for many years leaders of Norwegian Quakerism. They tell how a group of them under conviction of sin lived a life of circumspect conduct and piety in spite of the ridicule of their fellow prisoners. Enoch Jacobsen became aware of the existence of Friends through a glimpse he had of a Danish copy of Robert Barclay's Apology, the classic statement of Quaker belief, and with the help of a dictionary he wrote to some English Friends in Chatham and London asking them if possible to come to see them. The letter concludes as follows: {9}

"I was on board another prison-ship, and there I saw one of Robert Barclay's books, and wished to have had it longer; but it belonged to the ship, and I was moved from that ship to this. I saw that the Spirit of Cod had led and enlightened you, and that you were counted worthy to suffer reproach for his name's sake; that he had chosen you to be his people, and that you should shine in darkness; that unbelievers should see your good works, and glorify our Father which is in heaven.

My desire was so great that I had no rest without using every means to mention all these things to you. How could I dare to write and call you brothers, if I had not been led to it by the Spirit of God? For I do not know you after the flesh, nor you me, but after the Spirit; and I can feel that I have unity with your zeal, and that you are led by the Spirit of truth, and that it is God, of his great grace, who doth these things. May he be praised and honoured now and eternally!

I beg you, my brethren, if you cannot come yourselves on board to speak with me, that you will send me some of your books, and write me a few lines. Now, for the present, I have relieved my mind. The great and almighty God, who has in a wonderful manner performed all this, be thanked, praised, honoured, and glorified for ever. Amen.

Grace and peace be with your spirit.

ENOCH JACOBSEN.. Fyen prison-ship, 8 mo. 21, 1812."

The Friends paid the visit, and though "they could not, then, at all converse intelligibly with each other, yet by signs, in love and friendship, they understood a little of each others' feelings." More visits followed; books were given by the visitors, including books on Quakerism and for the study of the English language, and the visitors were finally allowed to hold meetings on board in a manner congenial to both parties, for, as Elias Tastad later recorded, {10}

"We began to hold silent meetings, before the Lord, previous to our knowing any thing of the manner in which Friends in England hold their meetings, and were almost strangers to their writings. At first, we got a little room to meet in, where only three persons could sit at once, until we took our little cabin in the ship for our public meeting-place, which was in the view of all the prisoners, who now seemed very kind to us, though previously they appeared to hate us. It then seemed as though the truth had more power over our outward than over our inward enemies.

In the latter part of our captivity, we were about thirty persons, Danes and Norwegians, who professed with Friends. We held our meetings for worship thrice in the week; but there was seldom any instrumental ministry amongst us."

In 1813 efforts were made by English Friends to get permission from the transport board for some of the prisoners to attend Friends' meetings on shore. The group was becoming larger and more definite. Both Jacobson and Tastad offered to supply the Friends "a list of those on board who were inclined to embrace the principles of Friends, most of whom were from Stavanger" (Jacobsen). Tastad's list is preserved. {11} It contains twenty-four names ending with his own. The first is Anders Andersen Regends. The second is Even Samuel Mogleboust. The third is "Lars Larssen Geilene." Here then is a contemporary reference to the future leader of the sloop "Restaurationen," then awaiting release from "Fyen prison-ship near Chatham."

The feelings of the prisoners at their prospective liberation may readily be imagined. They were to say good-by to one another and to the English Friends whom they had learned to love. They were to return to their homes, not knowing what persecutions awaited them nor whether their own loved ones would receive the new religious message that they were yearning to give. Like many others in Christian history they felt that while in prison they had become truly free. To the English Friends one of them writes: {12}

"I sincerely wish it was in my power, in this language, to express my feelings of thine and thy fellow brothers' goodness towards me and my companions; for I understand that it is you, next to God, to whom thanks belong, for our knowledge of the blessing of the truth, which I hope we are about to receive. I have been your enemy; and you have treated .me as your friend .... There will. as thou saidst, come a winter season; but let it come; if it please God, he can carry me over it. I am not sorry to suffer for a good cause."

And again, under date of September 17, 1814: {13}

"DEAR FRIEND [name not given], -- Two Swedish frigates are ready for us, and we wait hourly for orders for our being sent on board. It is my duty, on my own and my companions' behalf, to bid thee dearly farewell. We thank thee for all that care and affection thou still hast shewn towards us; and we desire thou wilt have the goodness to remember our due acknowledgments to all the Friends, who, as well as thyself, have been careful for our true prosperity. The Lord reward you for it!

We are somewhat afflicted because we are now to be separated one from another, and because we may now have to experience severe trials; but we trust in God. When he is with us, we have to fear for nothing. Wheresoever we arrive we shall give you account, if possible. Receive, all of you, our dear love, and fare well for ever.

Thy unworthy friend,

OLE EDWARDSEN LOGE."

Another, a converted ship captain: "I will say, for my part, that it was the best voyage I have done over the sea, that time I came to England; for then I found God my real Father and Preserver." {14} Another writes: "By occasion of the war, I am put in this confinement and restrained of my bodily liberty; but feeling myself to be in a sweet liberty as to my soul, I thank God heartily, who has been so kind to me, and brought me here to receive his divine blessing, and has used you as a means to save me." {15}

The English Friends busied themselves with carrying forward plans for the prisoners' release and supplied them liberally with Quaker books, part of them in Danish.

It is impossible for us to follow them all to their homes. Our interest is in those from Stavanger of whose experiences Elias Tastad gives the following summary: {16}

"In the latter part of the year 1814, we were discharged from our imprisonment, and taken, by two Swedish frigates, to Christiania in Norway, and the Danes to their own place. Then this poor and mournful little flock became separated and scattered, each to his own place of abode, far distant one from another, scarcely two or three Friends to any one place. We were, however, four, belonging Stavanger, viz., Lars Larsen, Ole Franck, Even Samuelsen, and Elias Tastad. On our return, we were as poor and strange servants; yet we came to live so near one another that we kept up our meetings for worship, two or three times in the week, constantly; when a few others sometimes came and sat with us, either in a loft or in a chamber. We were then as a strange and despised people to the great professors; but the Lord preserved us in our testimonies, through many and various trials and afflictions, which we then had to endure for the truth's sake. Our sufferings were principally caused by the clergy, who stirred up the magistrates to persecution."

Of Lars Larson it is said that he remained for a time in London at the home, or in the employ, of Margaret Allen. She was an elderly Friend, a widow, and the mother of William Allen, F. R. S., the Quaker financier and philanthropist of whom we shall hear again. An indication of Larson's respect for her appears in the name of the daughter who was born on the sloop, Margaret Allen Larson. When Larson returned to Stavanger is unknown, but the first meeting is said to have been held in his home there in 1816. Until his marriage in 1824 his deaf and dumb sister Sarah Larson kept house for him; she also went with him on "Restaurationen." In 1818 Enoch Jacobsen, who had come to London, writes to a Friend in Rochester conveying an affectionate message to him from Lars Larson, and a few weeks later Jacobsen accompanied the two Quaker missionaries, Stephen Grellet and William Allen, through Norway at the beginning of their remarkable European tour. Grellet does not mention Larson by name, though he writes at length of "the dear people who became convinced of our Christian principles in the prison-ship in England, {17} who reside at Stavanger," and of their dealings with them. William Allen, however, in his account mentions Lars Larson by name: {18}

"We then went to the house of Lars Larsen, a carpenter, who is considered firmly settled in the principles of Friends. A young man, a fisherman, who lives with him, also professes with us, and had been rowing a considerable distance in his boat, till his hands were blistered, to give notice of the meeting to-morrow. We sat down together to wait upon the Lord, and presently two young women, in the station of servants, came in also."

And two days later: "We went a little way out of Stavanger to Lars Larsen's, to attend the usual meeting." Of the next year English records report: "In this same year, 1819, Lars Larsen came over to London, being desirous of learning the English language. He hoped to have found employment as a cabinet maker, and to have devoted his leisure hours to learning the language; but not finding proper employment readily, he was advised to return home." {19}

Another noted English Quaker, Thomas Shillitoe, came to Norway late in 1821. He spent perhaps a month at Stavanger but is not much given in his Journal to exact dates and names. Rather he records his own sensitive reactions both to outward circumstances and to inward doubts and divine promptings. His sense of guidance he expresses once in this fashion: {20}

"I thought I never more sensibly felt than during my labours this afternoon, the necessity of the instrument becoming like a clean tube, through which liquor passes from one vessel to another, free from the defilements of creaturely wisdom and activity, and from all the obstructions of the creaturely will in doing or not doing."

 

Shillitoe found the Danish language as unintelligible as the .Norwegians found English, and he was as greatly impressed with the wild scenery, and the dangers of sailing and riding through it, as were the Norwegian settlers at the wonders of New York. At Christiania he was attended, and more or less satisfactorily interpreted, by Enoch Jacobsen, who, after staying in England until 1816, had, settled there. From Christiania he proceeded by a fishing smack to Stavanger. The voyage was evidently not smooth, and the Tottenham shoemaker found it difficult to maintain quiet trust and confidence in his divine Protector. "The prospect of the foaming waves, with the almost continual dipping of head or stern and the violent cracking of the vessel as if she was going to pieces, made our situation appear terrific . . . . Setting my feet on shore again was grateful to my mind." {21}

On this journey we meet a familiar name in unfamiliar spelling. "I had very unexpectedly the company of Lance Lasson, a Friend of Stavanger, who spoke English, which added much to my comfort." This is without doubt the slooper of 1825, and it may be well at this point to say a word about his knowledge of English. Like the other Quaker prisoners he found the foreign tongue very difficult to master. Jacobsen had begun to study an English grammar in 1813, but says, "I found it would be too difficult to learn it before I had a perfect knowledge of my own. I have therefore put a stop to the study of the English for some time until I have learned the Danish more perfectly." {22} Evidently he did very well as interpreter for Allen and Grellet, though the latter preferred to use his native tongue in intercourse with persons of rank, who, he says, "spoke French correctly." In the relation of speaker and interpreter Shillitoe and Jacobsen were evidently at times a little impatient with each other. The old-time Quaker extempore sermons would not have been easy to translate, even for the most proficient linguist. Shillitoe writes: "My friend Enoch Jacobsen not being equal to receive and translate long sentences, by care I was enabled to accommodate him, and to order my mode of expression to suit his ability." {23}

Evidently Larson was not so proficient. In 1819, as already noted, he had tried in vain to obtain a position in England in order to learn English, and while he was with Shillitoe we are not surprised that the latter constantly mentions that his interpreter was "deficient in the knowledge of the English language." {24} He preferred to use any other interpreter that offered himself, but kept Larson "as a watcher, lest, for want of a clear view of my sentiments, any unsound principles should go forth to the people as mine; for which duty I could not doubt his being competent." {25} Throughout his stay at Stavanger Larson, was Shillitoe's constant companion.

From Stavanger Shillitoe intended to travel to Bergen, and being unable to endure the roughness of the roads he finally asked his friends to arrange to send him by sea, though, as he says, "I thought I might truly say my faith was tried, as to an hair's breadth, from the dread of encountering a voyage of near a hundred miles to Bergen on such a dangerous, rocky coast, in an open boat." {26} He then proceeds: "After inquiry being made for a boat, and a company of men to take charge of me, and nothing offering that appeared suitable, my kind friend Thomas ---, having a good boat, and he and my interpreter being well acquainted with the coast, they engaged to provide themselves with such help as would be necessary, and to take charge of me to Bergen." {27} Thomas -- is perhaps Thomas Hille, who together with Metta Hille, and Lars Larson and Elias Tastad are spoken of by R. B. Anderson as founders of the Friends' meeting at Stavanger. The interpreter is undoubtedly Larson himself. Of the voyage along the fjords, Shillitoe gives a graphic account which we must not stop to narrate. Larson was a better seaman than linguist, and Shillitoe had more reason to be concerned for his physical safety than for the purity of the tubes of divine revelation. The Friends who came with him from Bergen remained until he set sail for Altona.

It was now July, 1822, and there is no reason to suppose that Larson had not already considered the possibility of going to America. A certain Cleng Peerson of Stavanger (1782-1865) {28} had gone the previous year to America with one companion and no doubt they were the agents who all the accounts say were sent in advance of the "Restaurationen" party. Peerson himself was probably not a Friend, and he is reported to have had no religious interest but in later years to have become an atheist. Nevertheless, he was to the end an admirer of the Quakers. His sister was the wife of Cornelius Nelson Hersdal, a part owner in the sloop, and one of those who crossed in it with his whole family.

It has been conjectured that the idea of migrating to America was first suggested to the Norwegian Quakers by Stephen Grellet in his visit of 1818. {29} Grellet was a Roman Catholic of a noble French family, but had fled from the terrors of the French Revolution to America in 1795, and later had been converted to Quakerism. He could tell something of America from many years of experience there. But America needed no such special introduction; it would occur to the mind of any restless or persecuted people like the Norway Quakers. An experience that came to the attention of Shillitoe and Larson in their last days at Bergen indicates the universality of the situation which led to Larson's enterprise. Shillitoe was told that there were two Quakers in Bergen, and he came into conference with them. He found them to be not Quakers but members of a group, largely in agreement with Quaker ideals, who had already suffered great persecution "in the late King of Wirtemburg's dominions." When released on condition of leaving the country, seven hundred of them had set sail in a vessel for America and after a gruesome experience of fraud and pestilence these two survivors had been left stranded at Bergen without money to go farther. Shillitoe succeeded in raising from the people of Bergen enough money for their passage on a ship to Baltimore, and wrote letters of recommendation to Friends residing at that port. {30}

Whatever its source, the plan to emigrate to America could only mature slowly. In 1824 Cleng Peerson returned to Norway, and at Christmas of the same year Lars Larson was married to Martha Georgiana Peerson, who was twenty-one years old at the time. With five other families the Larsons converted their possessions into money, purchased the sloop "Restaurationen," which had been built in Hardanger Fjord between Stavanger and Bergen, and loaded it with a cargo of iron. Lars Larson was the heaviest investor in the enterprise. A captain and a mate were secured, the latter from Bergen. {30a} On June 27 the clearance permit was given at the Stavanger customhouse. On July 4 or 5 the party sailed.

It is necessary at this point to inquire as to the religious status of the party and their motives for emigration. It must not be supposed that they were all, like Larson, formally members of the Society of Friends. At this time the only recognized and lawful religion in Norway was the Lutheran church. The idea of choosing one's own religion, and particularly of organizing another church, could scarcely have occurred to any one. Besides, the Friends have no easy way of extending their membership to isolated individuals, since membership implies participation in a local meeting. The prisoners at London could not have joined the Society of Friends at that time. Some Friends of Rochester gave them a statement "to whom it may concern," explaining their sympathy with Friends and their inability for conscience sake to engage in war, {31} but this was not a certificate of membership. In 1818, with the help of the English visitors, official "two-months meetings" were established at Christiania and Stavanger. The meeting in the former place came into difficulties among themselves and with outsiders and was soon given up. Though the latter meeting survives, it has always been small. For 1825 the London records give its membership as ten. {32} It is evident that not many of the sloopers were technically Friends, no matter how much Quakers influenced them and furthered their undertaking.

Probably many of the sloopers belonged to a similar native movement, the Haugeans. This sect derives its name from Hans Nielsen Hauge (1771-1824), sometimes called the "Spener of the North." He carried on a campaign for the spiritualization of religion, and protested against the abuses and usurpation of the official Lutheran clergy. His followers never left the church, though their attitude was one of criticism towards it. As Quakerism rose out of the Seekers and Anabaptists in England, so in Norway its soil was the Haugeans or Laesere (readers), as they are called in Norwegian, or the "Saints" as the Quakers name them. There was more than a superficial or negative likeness between the two types of religion, though the Quakers were doubtless more extreme; and a considerable interest, if not influence, subsisted between them. Hauge probably knew of Friends only in later life, when he had read Barclay's Apology and received a visit from Thomas Shillitoe described in the latter's journal. He is said to have warned his followers in Christiania against the Friends; but elsewhere his followers and the Quaker adherents became almost indistinguishable. It was as Haugeans that the revival of spiritual life came to the prisoners at London before they made connections with Friends; Anders Andersen of Stavanger, whom we have already mentioned, was one of the Saints. The Quaker visitors developed a great curiosity in this kindred movement, and asked the prisoners to secure information about "the Norway Saints." {33} The Friends complained only that the Haugeans had not gone far enough. Shillitoe charged Hauge with being a backslider, since after "protesting against an hireling ministry," and being imprisoned and fined for so doing, he had "become a priest's assistant and collector of the priest's wages." {34}

There can be no doubt that in Stavanger the two influences largely coalesced and that one or both of them had affected the sloopers. Probably neither name would be entirely accurate to describe the whole party, though we are not surprised that the Baltimore American, referring to their arrival, says: "They belong to a religion called the Saints, corresponding in many points to the principles of Friends. We understand furthermore that they have sought an asylum in this favored land from religious persecution and that they will shortly be succeeded by a much larger body of emigrants." {35}

While the newspapers in America called the immigrants Saints, the Norwegian newspaper account of their departure was evidently understood to mean that they were Quakers. In Den Norske Rigstidende; for July 25, 1825, was published a statement from Stavanger, dated July 7, of the departure two days before (iforgaars) for America, where "they expect to find Canaan's land," of "five families of farmers, said to belong to a religious society that has secured several adherents in recent years in the neighborhood." Upon reading the notice the chief officials of the church department wrote promptly to the Bishop in Christiansand, saying they had read in the Rigstidende that" several families said to belong to the Quaker sect had migrated to America." They asked how many Quakers had gone and how many were left. To this ominous inquiry Bishop Munch replied, on the authority of Elias Tastad, leader of the Quaker society in and about Stavanger, that fifty-one persons had gone, but only one single one of that sect, namely Lars i Geilene was included in those that went, and that there were in Stavanger city and environs twelve members, namely eight males and four females. {36}

There has been some effort made to show that the sloopers were not mainly influenced by religious motives or the desire to escape repression. American Norwegian historians of Lutheran affiliations find it difficult to glorify the settlers as refugees from persecution without throwing obloquy on the Lutheran church in the homeland. Some, therefore, prefer to assert that there .was no substantial persecution and that the emigrants' motives were not idealistic. They point out certain incidents in the voyage as discreditable and lay weight on the absence of extreme persecution in Norway. Though their position can be understood, their conclusion is certainly erroneous. The exiles' motives were doubtless mixed, but the desire for religious liberty was one of the most powerful. Their disobedience to local regulations in every foreign harbor they entered, in England, at Madeira, and at New York, is more probably due to the ignorance of men unskilled in official red tape than to any lack of Christian uprightness. The sale and use of intoxicants was not strictly forbidden even by the Quakers one hundred years ago. Besides, the whole history of Norwegian Quakerism from 1818 to 1845 (when religious toleration was established) is full of ominous references. {37} From their prison-ship they went home with grave forebodings. Hauge was a warning to them. He told a Norwegian Quaker that he had been in eleven prisons for his religious convictions. He had just secured his freedom by compromise after ten years of persecution. In 1816 a Quaker marriage had caused considerable comment. In 1818 Jacobsen wrote:

"There are no laws yet made in favour of Friends; so that those who stand firm in their principles act contrary to the laws of the country. Friends must be resigned to take the consequence . . . . All is quiet at present, so that we have not suffered any imprisonment yet; though we may, in some respects, have many difficulties. {38}

In the same year Stephen Grellet interviewed the king of Sweden (Bernadotte), and, to use his own words, "pleaded on behalf of the little flock of his subjects who have embraced principles similar to ours, and who have in some instances been brought into suffering for maintaining their testimony against war, oaths, an hireling ministry, etc." {39} It was in connection with the state church that the greatest difficulty arose. Aside from public disapproval the dissenters had many occasions to feel uncomfortable, and the clergy many opportunities to avail themselves of the law against them. In 1818 at Christiania, William Allen found in the house of correction "about twenty young persons confined because they had neglected to learn their catechism and consequently could not be confirmed by the priest." Every birth, death, and marriage required by law the official action of the church. In 1821 Elias Tastad was fined for not having buried two of his children in ground that was consecrated, the fine to run on at the rate of five dollars a day until he should dig them out again. From this he was released only when an appeal from his sentence was made to the king. A letter of the following year from Bishop Sorensen to the constituted dean of Stavanger is preserved, in which beside requiring that each Friend must produce a certificate of membership if he is to "be allowed to live in this country or kingdom in quality of a Quaker," he adds that it will be expected that "they bind themselves not to make proselytes, and from admitting new members, as also to pay taxes and duties as other subjects or bergers of the state." {40} In the same year Shillitoe refers to the fact that "the laws of Norway are severe on an attempt to proselyte." On October 2, 1823, ten Friends from Stavanger, including Tastad and Larson, petitioned the government for the right to remain in the realm as Quakers. The sheriff, in forwarding the petition, though he acknowledged it would be hurtful in time of war to allow every man whose duty it was to be a soldier to remain in the realm as a Quaker, acknowledged that the petitioners were diligent and industrious, and recommended that they be permitted to remain as Quakers, since the refusal to allow the practice of their forms of religion would not change their belief but would result ultimately in their leaving the realm. These words of the sheriff were prophetic. On April 22, 1825, the same Friends repeated their request. The petition was not granted until May 11, 1826; by that time one at least of the petitioners was safely in America. Apparently the laws became more severe rather than less so until "in the year 1830 Friends in Norway were forbidden to hold their religious meetings; and those of Stavanger were required, by the local authorities, to keep within three-quarters of a mile around the town." {41}

Evidence of convincing character has recently become known. It consists of a sixty-page report on the emigration from Norway to the United States prepared for the Norwegian government in 1843, based on many authentic sources, preserved in the official publications of the Storthing and in the royal archives at Oslo. It refers explicitly to the Quakers who formed the sloop party of 1825, and admits that "they were discontented, and had good cause to be discontented, with their treatment by officials of state and church under Norwegian laws. Their faith was at least a contributory (medvirkende) motive." {42} This report was prepared to meet the desire of the government to devise some way to reduce the rate of Norwegian emigration, which had reached alarming proportions. No restrictive measures, however, were adopted, but the investigation contributed to the passage in 1845 of a law granting full religious toleration. In this indirect way "Restaurationen" was of enduring importance not only for America but also for Norway. And in that country, just as in other countries in other centuries, the conspicuous, persistent, and innocent nonconformity of the Quakers was largely responsible for securing religious freedom for all.

We may not follow further the fate of the Friends whom Larson and his companions left behind in 1825. But it is clear that even without any instances of actual martyrdom the emigrants of this period had ample reason to seek escape from the intolerant clergy and sheriffs. A few may have been indifferent to matters of religion, but most of them were doubtless in sympathy with Quakers or Saints and were subject to the annoyance of finding themselves in constant conflict with the laws. Hardly one of them is likely to have been in full sympathy with the state church. {43} Indeed it was nearly twenty years before there was any ordained priest of that church among the American immigrants. Today in this country millions of Lutheran Norwegians are celebrating the arrival of the "Restaurationen." So do the prophets continue to be honored by the children of those that persecuted them.

The later history of Larson, so far as it is known, is fully told by the Norwegian historians. In New York the party was welcomed by Quakers, who helped them with food and clothing and also provided them funds to reach their farms. These were in the township of Kendall, county of Orleans, New York. Joseph Fellows, a Friend, is said to have secured their title for them. {44} Larson sent his wife and baby on with the party, while he remained behind to sell the ship and its cargo. When he was able to follow them, the newly opened Erie Canal was frozen, and he skated from Albany to Holley near Kendall. He finally settled in Rochester, and made canal boats until his sudden death in the canal in 1845. It is easy to understand the choice of place and occupation on the part of the ship carpenter of Stavanger. Two American Quakers had largely been responsible for putting through the great canal in the governorship of DeWitt Clinton. The Quaker agents of the emigrants knew well the great prosperity which lay before the territory near it. The circumstances are curiously assembled in three references in a single issue of the Boston Daily Advertiser. One is notice of an honorary degree conferred on the Honorable DeWitt Clinton by the young Ohio University. One is a shipping note; "Danish sloop Restoration, Holland. 78 days from Norway." The third is as follows:

ROCHESTER, N. Y. Oct. 5. The census of our village, as taken
by Messrs. Burr and Stilson, under the act of legislature produces the following result:

On the east side of the river 
On the west side of the river   

1905
3366
5271

Making an increase of more than 1000 since February last!

Most of the sloopers and those who followed them moved out of such crowded areas to the freer West, but Larson's home was a regular station on their route and there they enjoyed great hospitality. In Norway Elias Tastad seems to have remained as a kind of shipping station for this forwarding agency. In the "Description of a Journey to America" written in 1837 by one Ole Knudson Nattestad, a kind of predecessor to Ole Rynning, we read, "At Stavanger we got trace of a man by name Elias Tastad with whom all who wanted to go to America inscribed their names." {45} The Larsons kept in touch with their old associate and named for him one of their eight children. The messengers coming westward were more numerous than those going eastward. Four letters to Norway from the Larson family in 1837 and later, have been recently unearthed from the Quaker archives at Stavanger and published [in part] in English. {46} They are addressed to Elias Tastad, except one from Margaret, the baby born in the sloop, which is addressed to "My dear Grandmother if living and uncle John." This and one of the letters from her mother are in English. These all throw much light both on Norwegian emigration and on the feeling of the Norwegian Quakers in the presence of the unfortunate situation following the separation of 1827-28 in America. A few quotations from Martha Larson will suffice.

"ROCHESTER, 11th of 10th mo., 1837.

Twelve Norwegians came here today, and are now sitting at the table eating their supper. About two weeks ago there arrived from ninety to a hundred people. They stayed at our house and my brother's house about a week, and we furnished meals for nearly all of them ....

The dissension among the Friends is the same now as before. Those who have left have shown the world a very poor example. But I shall not say much about them, for I wish them well, and have often prayed that God might grant them time for repentance.

I am glad to say that, as far as I know, my dear Lars no longer associates with them, which is the greatest joy I could desire here on earth. He is greatly interested in church work, is diligent in his work, and we live together with great happiness, for God has blessed us with both temporal and spiritual' gifts. We are blessed with six children, five girls and one boy. They are good, healthy, well-behaved children, who give us great joy ....

Elias, I want to ask you as a friend that you advise no one to come here who cannot help himself, because practically all of them come to us and we cannot help so many. We, of course, do what we can for them all. I have gone around town looking for work for them, and Lars has taken many of them out into the country. We spare no pains to make them satisfied.

[no date]

MY DEAR FRIEND ELIAS TASTA:

I can't let this good opportunity go by accept writing these few lines to you for to express little of my feeling and situation. I have not for sometime past been very well but at present I am better. I and my husband went away last 5th month on account of my health. We went from home the 16th of the same month and got to New York the 20th about 5 o'clock in the morning and 6 o'clock we took the steamboat for Philadelphia. Then we went about thirty miles by water, then we took the rail road car for about 30 miles cross the New Jersey and through Berlington where Steven Grellet live, and from there we took the steamboat again across Delawere River into Philadelphia, and there we staid for four days. We meet there excedingly kind friends and we tended meting twice and there we found Tormon Bournson, and from there we went again to N.Y. to tend the yearly meeting, witch was very interesting to me. I had the comfort to be in company with our dear friend Steven Grellet, also, with a great minister from England of the name Joseph John Gerny. We all put up together to a friend of the name Collins. The meting lasted about 5 days. O my dear Friend Elias, thou cannot have any idea what a good meting the yearly meetings are. It has felt to me as a kingdom on the earth, and, if I may express myself, the friends has piered to me like angels for their love and chareity are very great towards each others. I have often thought of thee as well as the rest of the friends there and I feel a great love towards you all, more than I can with pen express. O that we may remember the Savour's word when he says love one a nother. I concider that for the greatest part in the society, for where there are love there are forbearance and where there is no love there is no forbearance for Paul says if he has evry thing els that belong to a Christean but has no love, it is all in vain. Therfore first and last let us love one another.

I must tell thee a little about Metha. I have not seen her for about nine months but I have heard that she is well, but I calculate to go and see her as soon as possible. She lives about 20 miles from Rochester in a place that is called Farmington, with respectfully friends, witch is called the Authordox friends, for she said she could not for consiecienes sake unite with those there is called Hicksides, but I for my part feel a great love for that side as well as towards my own friends." {47}

"Restaurationen" has been called the Norse "Mayflower." It belongs also among the famous ships of Quaker history---with the "Woodhouse," the "Industry," the "Welcome," and many others unknown to fame. Even the "Mayflower," if we can trust Rendel Harris's ingenuity, is a kind of member of the Quaker fleet. The Society of Friends has just been celebrating (in the Quaker way) the tercentenary of George Fox's birth in 1624. Probably few of them have claimed much share in the public centennial of 1825.

Recalling, however, many stages of Quaker story, both the earliest and the most recent, this unfamiliar episode from a middle period shows how consistent and repetitious is the habit of history. Whenever in any land men seek release from priestcraft or conscription they are dubbed Quakers, and they find in the Quakers friends in need. From the Mennonites of 1683 to the Dukhobors of 1899, exiles for conscience sake have been assisted by the Quakers on both sides of the Atlantic with generosity and sympathy. As from the prison ships at Chatham a little band of friends of the Friends returned in 1814 to spread their influence in Norway, so a century later the German and Austrian "alien enemies" whom the Friends had befriended in the prison camps in England, returned with deep gratitude to their homes, and still count themselves, if not Friends, at least "friends of the Friends." In this way the chance of circumstance and the persistent habits of a tiny sect have given it an opportunity 'for influence out of proportion to its numbers, and the strangers' children's children rise up to call them blessed.

APPENDIX

1. CLENG PEERSON

[Strictly speaking Peerson came from Tysvaer in Stavanger Amt. The month of his arrival in America was August, 1821, according to a signed statement he made later (1849), quoted by Malmin in Decorah-Posten for February 6, 1925.] For information concerning him see the article by R. B. Anderson, "Kleng Peerson, the Father of Norwegian Immigration to America," in the American Scandinavian Review, 8:502-509 (July, 1920). Much new information was published by T. C. Blegen in an article on "Cleng Peerson and Norwegian Immigration," in the Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 7:304-331 (March, 1921). He had access to a copy of a letter written by Peerson from New York, December 20, 1824, to his "father, brother, sister, brother-in-law, and friends." "This letter proves clearly that Cleng Peerson was the advance agent of the immigrants of 1825, that he was directly urging the enterprise and encouraging its backers, that he arranged in 1824 for the purchase of land for his friends, that he was attempting to arrange for the sale of their ship should they purchase one for the journey, that he received cooperation and aid from a group of friends in New York City who are known to have been Quakers, and from acquaintances in western New York, that he made active preparations for housing the immigrants when they came ... and that, far from being a scoffer and an atheist, he evinced at this time a pious religious attitude" (p. 312). Mr. Blegen has kindly lent me a copy and a translation of the 1824 letter. [The original is printed in Skandinaven for July 11, 1924.] It has a religious tone, but nothing recognizable as distinctly "Quaker idiom."

[The genuineness of this letter is attacked by Anderson, in Skandinaven for March 21, 1924, and in his book Cleng Peerson og Sluppen Restaurationen, 57-60, and is defended by Blegen in an article, "Cleng Peerson in 1824," in Skandinaven for July 11 and 12, 1924. Without attempting to decide between these writers I may call attention to a single point. Anderson gives among other reasons against the letter the argument that Peerson could not write while Blegen refers to other letters which purport to come from Peerson's hand. But in one of these Peerson's signature, as the original publication in Hamars Budstikke, 1850 (see Decorah-Posten for February 6, 1925), shows, was written "med paaholden Pen." I think that in like manner the letter from New York of December 20, 1824, is genuine but that it was not written by Peerson with his own hand but with the help of some more literate Scandinavian. A phrase qualifying the signature may have occurred in the original and have been omitted when the letter was copied, for it is not the original missive that is preserved but a copy made in Norway by Thormod Madland on June 28, 1825. Even in the original the signature may have been written without qualifying words. The petitions referred to post, n. 32, show that in such cases of illiterate persons the same signatures are sometimes qualified by such phrases and sometimes not. The same explanation is applicable to two other letters of Peerson printed respectively in Democraten for September 7, 1850, and in Bergens Stiftstidende for April 29 [?], 1843. The latter is quoted in full in A. Ragnv. BrÚkhus, "Cleng Peersons Norgesbesèk i 1843," in Nordmandsforbundet, 18: 227-231 (April, 1925).]

Blegen reports: "Elling Eielsen . . . told Svein Nilssen in 1869 that Peerson and Eide were Quakers sent by the Friends of Stavanger in 1821 to investigate conditions in America. Their expenses, he declared, were paid by the Quakers of Stavanger and possibly in part by English Quakers" (Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 7:309, n.). As early as 1818 Dean Sèren reported that Kleng Pedersen Hesthammer, then abroad [in exile?] in Denmark had "given offense, even misleading others to absent themselves from attendance of public worship and the use of the communion." Malmin, in Decorah-Posten, November 21, 1924. On Peerson's antecedents see Scheel in Nordmandsforbundet, 16:323-327. Blegen, in the Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 7:310, n., understood Peerson's brother-in-law mentioned in the letter to be Lars Larson, but writes me that he is "practically certain now that there is no foundation for the statement." Perhaps he was led astray by Anderson, Norwegian Immigration, 47, but Anderson recently writes explicitly that Martha Peerson who married Lars Larson was not related to Cleng Peerson. On the other hand, another member of the party of 1825, Cornelius Nelson Hersdal, was married to a sister of Cleng Peerson (Kari Peerson Hesthammer). Anderson, Cleng Peerson og Sluppen Restaurationen, 8, 38. Whether Hersdal is the brother-in-law included in the address I do not know.

2. THE NUMBER OF THE QUAKER MEMBERS

The documents are given in full by Malmin, in Decorah-Posten, November 21, 1924. I see no way to escape the statement of Tastad that only Lars Larson was officially a Quaker, no matter how much one supposes his associates on the sloop to have been influenced by Quakerism without being actual members of the Society. It may be argued that Tasted, having in 1823 sent in the names of certain members (see ante, n. 32) petitioning for permission to reside in the country in accordance with the requirements of the government, could not now, without getting himself into difficulties, acknowledge that others of the emigres were also Friends, since they must have joined secretly and against the law. But their petition was not granted until 1826. Besides, the English Friends themselves were conservative about admitting to full membership persons whom they did not know, and the difficulties were sufficient to dissuade many sympathizers from conforming to the requirements of the government. In 1823, according to a statement of the Stavanger Amtscontor, the applicants for permission to be Quakers included only men above military age and their wives--the former "having left the realm as Lutherans and after several years of English internment having returned as Quakers." Malmin, in Decorah-Posten, November 21, 1924. Now of the names of twenty-four sympathizers given to English Friends (Richardson, Friends in Norway, 8) "Lars Larssen Geilene" alone reappears in the list of sloop passengers. The records of Friends' meetings in New York state seem to confirm this also. Only one minute of membership dated 1825 is apparently extant, and that is for "Lars Larssen": "As this our friend and member Lars Larssen Geilen with his family (viz. his wife Martha and child named Margaret) think proper to leave us, to spend the rest of his days in the United States of America we can give him no farther help than to recommend them to their friends in that country, who no doubt will give him the best advice; in other respects we must recommend him to the help of his Maker. Stavanger the 30th day of the 6th mo. 1825. Elias Eliasen Tastad." Rochester Monthly Meeting Records (Hicksite). That other passengers on the sloop subsequently became full members of the Society of Friends and that other members of the Quaker meeting in Stavanger came to America subsequently is evidenced by minutes of the Friends in New York state. See ante, n. 32, and the articles by Cox and the present writer mentioned post, n. 47. Anderson regarded most of the sloopers as Quakers, and names several explicitly as such. Dr. Andreas Seierstad, the church historian at Oslo, who has made a careful study of Quakerism in Norway in his Kyrkjelegt Reformarbeid i Norig i Nittande Hundreaaret, 219-254 (Bergen, 1923), thinks that besides Larson three other sloopers were Quakers, though not formally, namely Cornelius Nelson Hersdal, Ole Johnson and Daniel Stenson Rossadal. [Even Norlie, in his Norwegian People in America, 190, overestimated the official Quaker membership among the sloopers when he wrote: "While possibly not more than five of the Sloopers were Quakers, the members on the boat [sic] were to a large extent affected by the Quaker spirit of dissent." Rynning (see ante, p. 62) wrote in the winter of 1837-38 that "Two Quakers in the company established themselves in Rochester. One of these, Lars Larson by name, lives there still." I suppose the other Quaker is Ole Johnson, but he first joined the Friends after coming to America, at Farmington, New York, in September, 1826. I have tried elsewhere to collect evidence about him, --- in Decorah-Posten for November 20, 1925,-- but I cannot determine the dates and places of his residence, in spite of Anderson, Norwegian Immigration, 104, and Norlie, Norwegian People in America, 129. He does not appear in the Rochester Directory for January 1, 1827, but his name appears in the Rochester Quaker minutes for 1828, 1833, 1834, 1837, and 1839. Perhaps he was really living at Kendall. But there is more than one piece of evidence showing that at least later he lived in Rochester. He was living there certainly in his own home in October, 1857. I cannot, therefore, explain why Ole Rynning in the winter of 1857-38 implied that he was not still settled in Rochester. In the summer of 1838 he went to see the land he had bought in Illinois intending the next summer to migrate thither.] Meanwhile we await further evidence perhaps to be found in the Quaker records of Stavanger, London, New York, and possibly Illinois. Though there have been many Norwegian Quakers in Iowa, I am not sure of Illinois. About 1835 the majority of the surviving sloopers and their children moved from Kendall, New York, to the Fox River settlement in Miller and Mission townships, La Salle County, Illinois. Yet neither the two histories of La Salle County -- that by Elmer Baldwin (Chicago, 1877), and an anonymous volume (Chicago, 1886)--nor the History of the Norwegians in Illinois, compiled and edited by Algot E. Strand (Chicago, [1905]), suggest in any way that these first Norwegian settlers in Illinois had any Quaker organization or connections. In 1847 the consul general reported to the Norwegian government that "a few of those who came with the sloop" were still living at Fox River. Wisconsin Magazine of History, 8: 77.

Notes

<1> The principal books available to me in English are the following: Rasmus B. Anderson, The First Chapter of Norwegian Immigration (1821-1840), Its Causes and Results (Madison, 1895). The articles in the American Scandinavian Review mentioned in notes 5 and 28 are merely repetitions of parts of this book. Neither its later editions nor the author's anniversary articles in Skandinaven, collected as a book, Cleng Peerson og Sluppen Restaurationen (Chicago, [1925]), represent any substantial fresh research during thirty years. O. N. Nelson, History of the Scandinavians and Successful Scandinavians in the United States (second, revised edition, two volumes in one, Minneapolis, 1900); George T. Flom, A History o[ Norwegian Immigration to the United States (Iowa City, Iowa, 1909); K. C. Babcock, The Scandinavian Element in the United States (University of Illinois, Studies in the Social Sciences, vol. 3, no. 3 --- Urbana, 1914); O. M. Norlie, History of the Norwegian People in America (Minneapolis, 1925). On the Quaker side, George Richardson, The Rise and Progress of the Society of Friends in Norway (London, 1849); John F. Hanson, Light and Shade from the Land of the Midnight Sun (Oskaloosa, Iowa, 1903); Barthinius L. Wick, "Quakerism in Norway," in The Friend (Philadelphia), 67:258 f., 268 f. (1894); and other literature referred to below. Albert J. Crosfield, "The Rise and Progress of Friends in Norway," in the Friends' Quarterly Examiner, no. 110 (Fourth month, 1894), reprinted in 1907 in The Friend (Philadelphia), 80:234 ff. In Norwegian there are many books and articles not easily accessible to the general reader. Special mention should be made of a series of nineteen articles entitled "Norsk Landnam i U. S.," by Gunnar Malmin, in Decorah-Posten (Decorah, Iowa), beginning November 14, 1924, from which some newly discovered data are quoted.

<2> Anderson's account is based on interviews with at least eight members of the party; Wick's in The Friend, 67:269, on the recollections of Ore Rosdal, a Friend. There is also extant the report of the Norwegian consul general, in the Wisconsin Magazine of History, 8:77 ff. (September, 1924). Oral tradition, as collected by Anderson, has required correction with the discovery of written records. Further errors may lurk undetected in the account that is given in the present article, so far as it rests on oral sources. The spelling of. Norwegian names and the manner of reference to persons often vary. Here also is a fruitful seed of error. [Nelson, History of the Scandinavians, 1: 125-134p., treats the whole story of the sloop with the maximum of skepticism and gives the sloopers the worst possible character and motives.]

<3> Translated with introduction and notes by Theodore C. Blegen in the Minnesota History Bulletin, 2: 221 ff. (November, 1917). The quotation is from pages 240-242.

<4> Anderson, Norwegian Immigration, 45-47, 64-66, 91-131; Norlie, Norwegian People in America, 122-135. [The lists of persons thus collected are not quite certain. Norlie, in his Norwegian People in America, 123, gives reasons for doubting whether either Johannes Steen's son Svend or Andrew Stangeland came in the sloop. He quotes family traditions to the effect that the latter came to America before the sloop, the former not at all. In the case of Stangeland his doubt is in part confirmed by a "copy of a letter written by K. Pedersen in New York, December 20, 1824" (see post, n. 28), in which Cleng Peerson refers to his comrade Andria Stangelan as in article "Paa Jagt i de norske Arkiver," in Familiens Magasin, vol. 36, no. 12, p. 14 (September- America; he had left him at "Faningtaun" (Farmington, New York). Gunnar Malmin, in his October, 1925), gives good reasons for a similar doubt about Knud Anderson Slogvig. The letter of Munch, August 27, 1825, quoted by Malmin in Decorah-Posten, November 21, 1924, suggests that Simon Lima, wife and three children should be reduced to Simon Lihme (see Malmin, "Rettelse," in Decorah-Posten, November 28, 1924), wife and one child, and perhaps that we should add Torwad Holde and wife. Finally we have in Gahn's report (see post, n. 7) a contemporary list of the crew which contains in Johannes Jacobsen Sollidal, aged thirty-nine, a member of the sloop's personnel whom tradition seems to have entirely forgotten. Unfortunately there appear to be no lists of the "Restoration" passengers in the records at New York Harbor. In response to inquiries I am informed by the commissioner of immigration that the records of arrival at Ellis Island prior to June 15, 1897, were destroyed by fire, and by the collector of customs that "the passenger list is missing, and there is no record of seizure at this port."]

<5> A facsimile from the customs book is published in the American Scandinavian Review, 13:353 (June, 1925). [A transcript of the principal entry (June 27, 1825) was secured in 1896 by Nelson from the records at Christiania and used in his History of the Scandinavians, 1:27.] Yet it was argued that the whole story was unhistorical since "the clearance records of Stavanger show no such name as the Restauration." See Babcock, Scandinavian Element, 25 n. Another entry includes the information that "Restaurationen," when the cargo was loaded, drew only seven and a half feet of water. For the Norwegian newspaper referred to see post, p. 81, and Malmin, in Decorah-Posten, November 21, 1924, and the discussion between Anderson and Malmin in the same paper for November 28 and December 12, 1924. The statement in the American press, namely, arrival on October 9 after ninety-eight days' voyage, if accurate, would fix the sailing on July 4 at the latest. Besides stopping at Madeira, the sloop is said to have sailed to New York by way of the West Indies and the Gulf of Mexico (Vestlandet, Stavanger, Norway, October 25, 1910, cited by Blegen in Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 7:313 n.) and via Long Island Sound (Commercial Advertiser, New York, October 10, 1825, quoted by Anderson in his Norwegian Immigration, 69-70.

<6> Malmin, in Decorah-Posten, November 21, 1924, ingeniously suggests that "Holland" in these notices is due to the fact that the skipper's name was, according to the marine records, L[ars] O[lson] Helland.

<7> Babcock, Scandinavian Element, 26 n. The smallness of the vessel chosen is perhaps explained by the advice which Cleng Peerson sent to the immigrants in a letter which they received while planning their voyage (see post, n. 28): "I spoke with many persons in New York in regard to selling the vessel. You will certainly be able to dispose of a small ship, but the law forbids the sale of a large one." Norlie, in his Norwegian People in America, 121, gives the length as fifty-four feet, tonnage as thirty-eight or forty tons. This tonnage is less than one-quarter of that of the "Santa Maria" or of the "Mayflower." [The tonnage actually entered for the sloop in the records of the collector of customs in New York (October 14, 1825) is sixty tons. This, however, is probably no real contradiction of the smaller figure but is due to the generous attempt of the authorities to scale down the breach of the law. The Swedish-Norwegian consul wrote the following day: "In spite of the most earnest desire to overlook this transgression, it has not been possible to figure the capacity of the vessel to more than 55 tons."] On the size of the sloop see further the information collected and published by the national archivist at Oslo, Fr. Scheel, in his "Kleng Persson [sic] og Restauration," in Nordmandsforbundet, 16:323-327 (August, 1923).

The fullest account of the difficulty at New York Harbor has just been unearthed from the archives at Oslo by Mrs. Gudrun Natrud and published [in part] in Familiens Magasin, vol. 36, no. 12, p. 11 (September-October, 1925). It is a report [in Swedish] of Henry Gahn. Swedish-Norwegian consul at New York, dated October 15, 1825. He mentions explicitly the requirements o£ the law regarding tonnage per passenger, giving the number of passengers exclusive of crew as forty-five and mentioning the birth of a forty-sixth during the voyage. He further adds as giving the vessel illegal standing the fact that among its papers "a Latin pass and an Algerian pass were lacking." He also mentions the general interest of the public and the desire of the American officials to overlook if it were possible the violation of law. Altogether his report presents a most attractive picture of the welcome extended by American officialdom to immigrants a century ago. In addition to the lack of proper papers mentioned, another new item given is that officially the owner of "Restaurationen" was Johannes Steen. He was otherwise known only as one of the six heads of families on the expedition who were regarded as joint owners of the sloop. Anderson, Norwegian Immigration , 92; Norlie, Norwegian People in America, 122 f. But the records of clearance at Stavanger (see ante, n. 5), as I observe, also name him as owner.

<8> Memoirs of the Life and Gospel Labors of Stephen Grellet, 319 f. (Philadelphia, n. d.).

<9> Richardson, Friends in Norway, 5. The presence of Quaker books on the prison ships was no accident. The records of the executive committee of Friends in England show that it planned to reach these prisoners. Anna L. Littleboy, "Quaker Embassies a Century Ago," in the Friends' Quarterly Examiner, no. 209, p. 43 (First month, 1919), says: "In 1808 the Meeting for Sufferings was informed that there were about 2,700 Danish prisoners of war in England, and Wilson Birkbeck and William Allen undertook to distribute Friends' books among them .... Bar-day's Apology and Catechism, Penn's Key, Dell on Baptism in Danish . . . . were the books granted." Compare the anonymous Account of a Religious, Society in Norway (see post, n. 33) which contains the earliest printed record of the prisoners' conversion to Quakerism. Even before his release Enoch Jacobsen began to disseminate the same Quaker books in Norway, and he made a Danish translation of Penn's Rise and Progress.

<10> Richardson, Friends in Norway, xi.

<11> Richardson, Friends in Norway, 8.

<12> Richardson, Friends in Norway, 11 f. Ole Edwardsen is the writer.

<13> Richardson, Friends in Norway, 14.

<14> Richardson, Friends in Norway, 21. From Thornes Johnsen.

<15> Richardson, Friends in Norway, 13. The writer is given as Kaaver O. Dahl.

<16> Richardson, Friends in Norway, 16.

<17> Grellet, Memoirs, 361 f. (This journal was not available to Richardson when he wrote.)

<18> Life of William Allen, 1: 272

<19> Richardson, Friends in Norway, 34.

<20> Journal of the Life, Labours and Travels of Thomas Shillitoe, 221. The references are to the edition in the Friends Library, vol. 3 (Philadelphia, 1839). The passage quoted is from an entry made at Christiania on December 30, 1821. At Bergen he refers to his hope "to have such beds as we might venture to get into."

<21> Shillitoe, Journal, 236.

<22> Richardson, Friends in Norway, 6.

<23> Shillitoe, Journal, 220.

<24> Shillitoe, Journal, 236 and passim.

<25> Shillitoe, Journal, 237.

<26> Shillitoe, Journal, 244.

<27> Shillitoe, Journal, 245.

<28> See appendix 1, printed at the end of the present article, for a discussion of Cleng Peerson.

<29> Wick, in The Friend, 67: 259 [and in Iowa Historical Record, 16 : 23 (January, 1900)]. According to Shillitoe's Journal, 237, Larson met another American Quaker, a young man from New Bedford, while traveling with Shillitoe in 1822.

<30> Shillitoe, Journal, a47-249. [For a further chapter in the unhappy experiences of this couple see page 274 of the same volume.]

<30a> [See Anderson, Norwegian Immigration, 64. This author speaks of "the mate Mr. Erikson, who by the way was the only one in the sloop party from Bergen, Norway." Norlie, in his Norwegian People America, 121, 123, 124, names him Nels Erikson; and the name is similarly given in Flom, Norwegian Immigration, 45, 47, 54- But the customs book at Stavanger (see ante, n. 5) calls him P. Erickson and says he had brought the sloop from Egersund in May, and the ship's papers copied by Gahn (see ante, n. 7) give his home as Egersund, his name and birth place as Peder Erickson Meeland, and his age as thirty-one.] There has been a small comedy of errors also concerning the name of the captain. It is given by Gahn as Lars Olson Helland. Anderson refers to him frequently as Lars Olson. Nelson having learned from the records (see ante, n. 5) that his name was L. O. Helland, taxes Anderson with inaccuracy because, though he professes to name everyone on the sloop, "Helland is not mentioned at all" (History of the Scandinavians, I: 127). In New York the laconic custom house record spelled his name Kelland, while the newspapers gave Holland (see ante, n. 6).]

<31> One of these certificates is given by Richardson, in his Friends in Norway, 15, as follows:

To all whom these may concern.

Canute Halversen, whilst having been a prisoner of war at this port, has, we believe, been favoured with the tendering influences of the love of God; and becoming a little acquainted with us, members of the Religious Society of Friends (called Quakers), a people, in those parts, who, amongst other noble testimonies (an able Apology for which he has with him, in his own language), hold the inconsistency of war with the Gospel Dispensation, and therefore cannot, for conscience sake, engage therein. And we believe that he, with others of his countrymen, are made partakers, with us, of the same precious peaceable testimony; and we are desirous of recommending him to the kind attention of those with whom his lot may be cast, that he may be permitted to have their support in this religious scruple, and witness preservation.

Chatham, county of Kent, England, 12th of the end month, 1814.

<32> Rufus M. Jones, The Later Periods of Quakerism, 822 (New York, 1921). Richardson, Friends in Norway, 57, says that when the meeting was organized in 1818, "eight individuals were recognized as members of the Society," and adds in a footnote: "Four of this little company afterwards emigrated to America." This and perhaps two like references are the only hint given by the Quaker historian in 1848 of Lars Larson's memorable voyage, which was so significant in the history of both Norway and America. He evidently regarded emigration to America as a cowardly effort "to avoid afflictions in bearing the cross" (p. 52).

This article was already in proof when I at last secured contemporary lists of the members of the Society of Friends at Stavanger. These come not directly from their own records but (through the kindness of Mr. Malmin) from the royal archives at Oslo (Kirkedept. 3die Aflevering 27). They occur as signatories to petitions in the years 1823, 1825, and 1826. None of the sloopers except Lars Larsen appears, on the lists. Two of the signers are mentioned in the Quaker minutes of Western New York in 1828 as having their membership transferred from Stavanger. They are Even Samuelsen Mogleboust (see ante, p. 70) and Mallena Asbjorns Datter Waaga. The latter had married in 1820 Ole Franck (died 1822), one of the Quaker prisoners of war (see ante, p. 71), and in 1828 she married one of the sloopers, Ole Johnson Eie, who had joined the Society of Friends in America. Another signer, MÚtha Truls Datter Hille, is mentioned in America in 1837 by the Larsens in their letters. See the end of note 47, post, and the articles there cited. [On the basis of this additional information the present writer has prepared a series of articles that aims to collect from all sources available some personalia of the first Quakers of Stavanger. See Decorah-Posten, May 21 and 28, and June 4 and 11, 1926.]

<33> See Richardson, Friends in Norway, 9-11, 21, and passim. The Quaker William Alexander, of York, is said by Richardson, p. 38, to have published a little tract on the Haugeans. Joseph Smith in his Quaker bibliography makes no mention of it, but lists under the name of Frederick Smith an anonymous pamphlet which I suspect is identical with it: An Account of a Religious Society in Norway Called Saints (London, 1814). Biographies of Hauge have been written by A. Chr. Bang (third edition, Christiania, 1910) and A. Olaf Rèst (Chicago, 1910). For his autobiographical narrative see the notice in the Harvard Theological Review, 17:287 (July, 1924). An independent Lutheran synod formed about the middle of the century in America, and named for Hauge from 1876 to 1917, perpetuated the memory of his influence on the immigrants.

<34> Shillitoe, Journal, 225 f. A Norwegian Quaker had interviewed Hauge about 1814. See Richardson, Friends in Norway, 20 f. [For a collection of Quaker impressions of Hauge see an article by the present writer in Teologisk Tidsskrift for April, 1926.]

<35> Quoted in the New York American, October 22, 1825.

<36> See appendix 2, at the end of this article, for a discussion of "The Number of the Quaker Members."

<37> Richardson, Friends in Norway, passim. Among many incidental evidences in the Norwegian records that religious repression was a motive in the early emigration is the fact that originally one chapter of Rynning's True Account of America was devoted to a criticism of the official clergy of Norway. Unfortunately for us, one of them, Dean Kragh in Eidsvold, expunged this chapter from the proof. [See Svein Nilsson in Billed-Magazin, 1: 94, quoting Ansten Nattestad.]

<38> Richardson, Friends in Norway, 23.

<39> Grellet, Memoirs, 374. In the same year a written appeal to the king was made by the "Meeting for Sufferings," as the executive body of English Friends is still quaintly designated.

<40> Richardson, Friends in Norway, 37.

<41> Richardson, Friends in Norway, 53. The belated arrival of certified copies of these petitions (see ante, n. 32) enables me to avoid some errors, but they raise some interesting questions. The petition of April 22, 1825, adds three new names among the petitioners, but omits Lars Larsen. It is natural to suppose that he had already decided to emigrate and did not care to ask again for permission to remain in the realm.

<42> Blegen, in Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 7: 317, 318 n. "In general the migration of the Quakers and their associates in 1825 acquires added importance as the background, motives and influence of that movement become clearer." The same author gives a fuller account of the material in an article on "The Norwegian Government and the Early Norwegian Emigration," in Minnesota History, 6: 115-140 (June, 1925), and Gunnar Malmin, in Decorah-Posten for January 9, 1925, gives some selections from the letters and journals of immigrants which originally formed an appendix to the report, though not printed with it. None of this material is available in English.

<43> "Ole Olson Hetletveit, who came on the sloop in 1825, is said to have been the only one of that company who remained true to the Lutheran faith." Strand, Norwegians in Illinois, 140. [He is said to have preached in the Kendall colony and even on the sloop. Anderson, Norwegian Immigration, 398; Norlie, Norwegian People in America, 132.] On the beginnings of Norwegian Lutheranism in the United States see E. O. Mèrstad, Elling Eielsen og den "Evangelisk-lutherske Kirke i Amerika (Minneapolis, 1917), and J. Magnus Rohne, "Norwegian American Lutheranism up to 1872," a thesis for the degree of doctor of theology at Harvard University [to be published by the Macmillan Company, New York.]

<44> Kendall Township on Lake Ontario was part of Murray Township until it was set off from the latter in 1837. Hence Ole Rynning in the quotation printed ante, p. 61 still called it "Murray." In his letter written in 1824 (see appendix x), Cleng Peerson said he had arranged with the land agent at Geneva for the purchase of land. Now Geneva is in Ontario, not Orleans, county, but this difficulty is removed (see Blegen, in Skandinaven, July 12, 1924) by the fact that Joseph Fellows, though he had his office at Geneva, was subagent (later agent) for the Pultney Land Office, which controlled lands in Orleans County, including Kendall Township. The newspaper notices in Niles's Weekly Register, 29: 115, and elsewhere, speak in a similarly misleading way of the emigrants as "destined for Ontario County, where an agent has purchased a tract of land for them."

On Fellows and Kendall see O. Turner, History of the Pioneer Settlement of Phelps and Gorham's Purchase, 281 (Rochester, 1851); Arad Thomas, Pioneer History of Orleans County, New York, 269, 273, 284 (Albion, 1871). The Kendall settlement passed through difficulties, in-eluding "the sickly season" of 1828. Many of its members removed to La Salle County, Illinois, about 1834 or 1835.

<45> Translation in Wisconsin Magazine of History, 1:168 (December, 1917).

<46> American Scandinavian Review, 13: 361-364. [These letters were also published, but not in full, in Decorah-Posten for December 5 and 12, 1924. The text given above has been corrected to agree with the transcripts made by Gunnar Malmin.]

<47> The date of this letter is not given, but it is limited to the three years 1838, 1839, and 1840, which are the ones when, according to his Journal, Joseph John Gurney attended the New York Yearly Meeting. Probably it was written before the eighth month of 1839, when he spent two days in Rochester, the population of which then was, he says, about 20,000. Memoirs of J. 1. Gurney, 2: 184 (Philadelphia, 1854). [The visit of the Larsons to New York and Philadelphia and this letter about it can now be definitely dated in the year 1838. The minutes of the Yearly Meeting for Minister and Elders regularly list the visiting ministers present at the annual gathering and only in 1838 do those records of the New York Yearly Meeting (Orthodox) name both Gurney and Grellet. In spite of Malmin's conjecture that Martha Larson's letter was written a few years later, it probably was sent back by the same messenger (Lars Boe?) as the letters of Lars Larson, dated the ninth of the seventh month, 1838, and of Margaret, dated the eleventh of the seventh month, 1838.]

Farmington was a Quaker community, having been bought by some Quaker settlers from Massachusetts in 1789. See [W. H. McIntosh], History of Ontario County, New York, 193 f. (Philadelphia, 1876), and the county histories of G. S. Conover and C. F. Milliken as cited by Blegen in the Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 7: 311 n. Cleng Peerson had been in touch with "friends [Friends?] in Masedon" and "Faningtaun" when he returned to America in 1824. Macedon and Farmington lie near each other, east of Rochester. Metha is called in another letter Metta Hille (see ante, p. 75), while her brother Thomas Hill is greeted as still in Norway. Thomas Shillitoe visited Rochester and the neighboring Quaker communities in 1827, [according to his Journal, 383]. Did he and Larson meet each other again at that time? Elias Hicks traveled to this part of New York several times, for example in 1820, in 1825 (opening of Scipio Quarterly Meeting), and in 1828 (holding meetings at Farmington, Macedon, Rochester, and a dozen other places). See the Journal of Elias Hicks, 390, 397, 435 f. (Fifth edition, New York, 1832). Ole Johnson and several other Norwegians joined his party, but not the Larsons. See post, p. 93, and Norlie, Norwegian People in America, 152. On evidence from Quaker records about Norwegian Friends in western New York, see the article on "Norwegian Quakers in Western New York," by John Cox, Jr., in the Friends' Intelligencer, 82: 829-830, 848-850 (1925), and by the present writer in Decorah-Posten, November 20, 1925.

<<   Previous Page   |   Next Page   >>


 
To the Home Page