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The Delaware Finns

E. A. Louhi

Chapter I.  The Finnish emigration to Sweden, from where their path led to the American shores.
Chapter II.  Motives and inducements that led Sweden to establish a colony on the Delaware River.
Chapter III.  A colony established on the Delaware River.
Chapter IV.  The second expedition. The Dutch withdraw from the company. Dutch colonists coming to the Delaware.
Chapter V.  The third expedition. Finnish colonists brought to the Delaware River.
Chapter VI.  The fourth and the fifth expeditions. More Finnish colonists brought to America.
Chapter VII.  The sixth, seventh and eighth expeditions. The Finns beseeching the queen to be permitted to go to America.
Chapter VIII.  The ninth and tenth expeditions. The Finns flocking to get passage for America.
Chapter IX.  The Delaware settlements under the Swedish administration.
Chapter X.  The Delaware colony conquered by the Dutch.
Chapter XI.  New expeditions of Finns arriving at the Delaware River.
Chapter XII.  The first period of the Finnish settlements under the Dutch rule.
Chapter XIII.  England replacing Holland as the ruler of the South River.
Chapter XIV.  The first period of the Finnish settlement under the English rule.
Chapter XV.  The second period of the Finnish settlements under the Dutch rule.
Chapter XVI.  The second period of the Finnish settlements under the English rule.
Chapter XVII.  The third period of the Finnish settlements under the English rule.
Chapter XVIII.  The last stages of the Finnish settlements on the Delaware.

Chapter IV. The Second Expedition. The Dutch Withdraw from the Company. Dutch Colonists Coming to the Delaware.

Admiral Fleming, who became the principal supporter of the colonial enterprise, had made preparations already in summer of 1638, for a new large expedition, but all the resources of the Swedish realm were required to the prosecution of the war, and the preparations to continue the colonial trade met countless obstacles. Furthermore the Dutch stockholders of the company showed unwillingness to continue the expeditions, as they were members in the Dutch West India Company and their membership in the rival company was made unpleasant for them. However, after many delays the ship Kalmar Nyckel was again assigned for an expedition. Supplies for the voyage and merchandise for the trade were bought by Blommaert in Holland. Captain Cornelius van Vliet, a Dutchman, who was appointed commander of the expedition, was sent to Holland to hire officers and sailors that could be used for the journey. And Johan Hindricksson, governor of the province of Elfsborg was instructed to hire some soldiers, to replace the Dutch soldiers in the colony, as the Dutch and Swedes did not get along well together. However, in his letter of July 24, 1639 to the government, the governor informs that he had tried his best but had been unsuccessful to secure soldiers. But he had a proposition to make, he had learned that there were some soldiers who had deserted the army and returned home. Hindricksson thought that it would be a proper punishment to such soldiers and other criminals to send them to New Sweden. Accordingly the government instructed Hindricksson on August 7, and on the following day Olof Stake, governor of Vermland and Dal, to capture any such soldiers that were found in their districts and send them immediately to Gothenburg to be in readiness for departure.

In the letter to Governor Stake, the royal government says that, "The company's ship, which in June, last, returned from New Sweden to Gothenburg, shall again immediately go back there, and we have deemed it advisable to permit the married soldiers and others who from your province as well as from the province of Elfsborg without delay can be gathered, who have either deserted or otherwise forfeited their lives, to be sent on the ship to New Sweden with their wives and children. For this we present them with their lives as well as give to each soldier a suit and ten dollars in copper. Therefore if any such offenders are found in Vermland and in a hurry can be gathered such a way that no tumult will arise, we graciously order you that you at once let them be captured and immediately, without delay to be sent, well guarded, with their wives and children to Gothenburg. Correspond without neglect about the matter with Governor Johan Hindricksson, to whom we have likewise written. The offenders who have well deserved their punishment, must be made known by you that in return of this voyage we have permitted them to keep their lives and that they will be pardoned and be free to return to their homes after one or two years, if they do not desire to stay longer in New Sweden. As there is no doubt that such a journey shall cause among the wives and children, who are innocent for their men's crimes, a great crying, and lamentation among their friends and relatives, so you must the most carefully and with discretion handle this case, and while you use the power of your office, you shall try to prevail upon them with gentle and good manner for this journey, so that no new tumult and riot will rise for us in that district."

The ship Kalmar Nyckel left Gothenburg for the colony in the beginning of September 1639, having on board Joost van Langdonk, a Dutchman who was sent out as factor, and Peter Hollander Ridder, another Dutchman, who had lived some time in Finland, was sent as commander of the colony on the Delaware. In the North Sea the ship sprang a leak and had to be taken to Medemblik, Holland, for repairs. After they had gone to the sea, they soon found the ship leaking again and were compelled to return. The ship had to be unloaded and new repairs were made. A second time they left the harbor, but before long the ship was leaking as before and had to be taken to Amsterdam for new repairs. The company's agents in Amsterdam found that the captain had charged the company for goods that were not found on board. He had to be removed from service and Pouwel Jansen was engaged in his place. New sailors also had to be hired as the old sailors refused to go neither with the ship nor the captain. On December 27, the ship was ready to sail, but a great storm swept over the coast and she was prevented to leave until February 7, 1640. The skipper and factor were accused by Gregorius van Dyck, a Dutchman who also went to the colony, in his letter to Admiral Fleming. on May 23, 1640, of having spent their time on the voyage in smoking and drinking and damning the Swedes. They hated especially the Swedish priest the Rev. Reorus Torkillus and refused the pastor a little drink of fire water when he was feeling bad, although there were barrels of liquor on board. The journey was rather rough and many people were sick, but the ship arrived safely in the colony on the seventeenth of April, 1640. About the middle of May she set sail for the return voyage, with a large cargo of skins, and arrived happily to Gothenburg about the beginning of July. Several soldiers and people returned with her from the colony, among them Henrick Huygen the factor and Mans Kling the only Swedish officer in the colony.

The future of the commercial venture did not look very bright, the expeditions had brought a considerable deficit, as the expenses of the expeditions for the long delays and many mishaps on the sea had risen very high. The Dutch stockholders became dissatisfied and wanted to withdraw from the company, but the Swedish government was desirous to continue the enterprise and decided in February 1641 to buy out the Dutch stockholders.

The Dutch founders of the company had intended to bring over colonists to the Delaware from Holland, and there were some families in Utrecht who had prepared to go to the colony. Samuel Blommaert wrote on their behalf to the Swedish government in 1639, and at the end of the year they sent their agent Joost van Bogaert to Stockholm on the same mission. A charter was issued to their patron Henrik Hooghkamer on January 24, 1640, allowing him to establish a colony about twenty miles above Fort Christina, on the west side of the Delaware River, with their own government but under the suzerainty of the Swedish crown. They left Holland on board the ship Freedenburgh about the end of July 1640 and arrived to the colony on the second of November, being about twenty families and fifty souls in all. Joost van Bogaert was their director. The ship Freedenburgh left the colony for Holland about December 3, with a quantity of skins belonging to the New Sweden Company.

Publication: E. A. Louhi: The Delaware Finns or The First Permanent Settlements in Pennsylvania, Delaware, West New Jersey, and Eastern Part of Maryland. New York, The Humanity Press Publishers. 1925, 331 pages.

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