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NORWAY AND ITS COMMERCE.
To the Editor of the Merchants' Magazine :
To your readers who are interested in the commercial affairs of all nations, and desire information as to the magnitude, kind, and variety of their most important resources, the subjoined figures showing in part the trade and commerce of Norway, may prove useful and interesting. They are taken from the latest published reports, namely, for the year 1860, and contain some of the principal articles of imports and exports for that year: EXPORTS.
IMPORTS. Fish, salted & dried.cwt. 567,759 Breadstuffs.. ...... bush. 5,976,996 Herring.........bbls. 829,765 Beef ....
lbs. 901,045 Roe or spawn...: 34,064 Pork
916,044 Cod liver and other fish
.bbls. 661,447 oils...
54,487 Anthracite coal...... 1,127,133 Iron ... .tops 3,321 Butter...
lbs. 3,035,335 Copper. . lbs. 1,110,795 Cheese
586,781 Timber and deal....... 808,793 Coffee..
3,550,880 Wines.... .gallons Imp. 161,957 Brandies..
... lbs. 4,121,704 Cotton, manufactures of. 1,003,037 Flax....
4,200,223 Linen manufactures. 1,049,370 Cordage..
Wool, manufactures of. 616,823 Amount of exports for the year, 18,000,000; and imports, 16,000,000, specie dalere.*
At the close of 1860 the commercial fleet consisted of 5,287 vessels, measuring 665,392 tons, manned by 33,014 sailors, and was after that of England and France, the largest in Europe.
The financial budget for the year was 4,755,000, specie dalere, of which spd 1,002,250 was for the army, and spd 503,500 for the navy.
The result last winter in the large codfisheries of the northernmost part of the country proved almost a failure, which seriously affected those districts, and consequently has diminished the usual exports of cod liver and other fish oils. On the other hand, the herring fishery in the early part of the year, on the southwest coast, was uncommonly large.
This year the country will need large importations of breadstuffs, (larger than usual,) as the heavy rains this summer-s0 says a late letter from there-have greatly injured the crops. Some importations of breadstuffs have already been made from New York, but our troubles have now frightened the merchants, and led them to turn their attention to the Black Sea.
A new feature in the trade of that country with this, is the arrival at Chicago of a hermophradite brig-Sleipner, Captain WAAGE—direct from Bergen. She left Bergen May 23d, with 150 passengers and 200 barrels of herring, arrived at Quebec July 1st, where she remained ten days, and proceeded thence to the great lakes; arrived at Montreal July 1st, went through the Welland Canal the 21st, arrived at Detroit the 25th. There she left 40 passengers. Proceeded on to Lake Michigan and arrived at Chicago August 2d. She is described as a beautiful vessel, of 350 tons burthen, and is the first arrival of a European vessel entering that port direct from Europe. A few days ago she left laden with breadstuffs for Bergen.
Norway, as your readers know, is situated between latitude 58 and 71 degrees, forming a very long but narrow strip of territory, separated from Sweden on the west side by the mountain chain“ Kjölen," and is washed on the east side by the North Sea; contains 5,800 Norwegian geographical square miles, and 1,500,000 inhabitants.
The climate is very salubrious and mild all along the west coast, but the interior is colder. The harbors on the western and northern coast are very seldom frozen, being influenced by the Gulf Stream, which runs along that coast, and has the effect to soften the atmosphere also. On the east coast the harbors are more or less frozen during the coldest winter months. The daylight is very long during the summer, extending almost through the whole twenty-four hours; but in winter the shortest days in the south of the country are only six hours long, and towards the north even shorter still.
The country is very mountainous the highest top being full 9,000 feet above the water; has several glaciers, fertile valleys, good pasture land, deep fjords (bays) running far into the country, and many lakes. The coast is rocky and studded with innumerable islands, which form fine harbors. The mountains are covered with cascades and waterfalls—one of which, “ Wöringsfossen," full 1,200 feet high, is the largest and the highest in Europe-forming maguificent scenery, which is attracting many tourists from various parts of Europe and a few from this country, whose number is constantly increasing.
The natural and principal sources of income and occupation are those of the forest, mining, the tisheries, and navigation. The manufacturing
of textile fabrics is yet in its infancy. It is only in the last 20 years that any attempts have been made in that line, which now has taken a deeper root, and is steadily increasing ; so are also many other industrial and mechanical pursuits, which cannot fail of success among an intelligent and ingenious people.
The early history of Norway is shrouded in traditions and fables, and is uncertain. At what time it received its first inbabitants, and to what races they belonged, and whence they came, is equally uncertain. It is however supposed they belonged to the Lappish race, who with the Finns, made the original inhabitants, and who at a later period were expelled by the Goths, who entered the country from Sweden. The Goths, a branch of the great Germanic race, brought with them the Asce religion and a considerable degree of culture.
Up to the ninth century the country was under the feudal system, governed by petty kings and lords, under various names as Jarls (Earls) Chieftains, &c., till Harald HAARFAGER, (Harald the Fairbaired,) in 885 gained the victory over bis enemies, by which he became master of the whole country, giving it the name of Kingdom, which title it has retained till the present time. HARALD was ten years old when his father died and he ascended the throne; he reigned from 863 to 933, and was a successful warrior. He died in 936, after having a short time previously appointed his sons as governors over various provinces, and one son, Erik, as his successor on the throne.
The people anterior and subsequent to this period were a warlike race. Their filibustering and viking expeditions, over the greatest part of Europe and into Asia Minor, have filled the early bistories of those countries with their exploits and manly deeds. They were a bardy and brave race, with many noble qualities, which they honored also iu tbeir enemies.
Their love of liberty was great; they could bear but little restraint, which caused them to roam abroad and which often resulted in interesting historical facts. Thus the brave Ganger Rolf (Ralf the Walker.) when expelled by the above named HARALD from Norway, entered France, compelled its king, Charles the Simple, to give him that province which this day is called Normandy (after Norman-Norwegian). Thus, again, while roaming over the seas, they discovered Iceland early in the vinth, and Greenland in the latter part of the same century; and by still continuing their expeditions westward, they discovered America soon after.
OLAF den Heilige (OLAF the Saint) reigned from 1016 to 1020. He succeeded during his reign in establishing the Christian religion on & firm footing. The means he used were not the most gentle, which aroused the nation's hatred against him and caused his expulsion from the country, whence be fled to Russia. He returned the following year but died in battle. After his death he was canonized and became the patron saint of Norway.
By the Calmar Union, 1397, Norway, Sweden and Denmark were united under one head, Queen MARGARETE, who was the first female Sorereign that ascended the throne of Norway. This union with Denmark lasted, with more or less interruption, over four hundred years, till 1814, when Norway was, by the treaty of Kiel, January 14th, separated from Denmark and became united with Sweden, under one head, the King of Sweden being likewise king of Norway. Norway has its own separate
and independent government, has no nobility, as it was abolished by the Storthing, 1821, and has its own flag which it received July 4th, 1844. Its constitution was adopted the 17th of May—which day is celebrated like our 4th of July. It was formed after the French of 1791 and the Spanish of 1812, and is considered the most liberal in Europe. It guar. antees re freedom of speech and of the press; by it most of th gistrates are elected by the people, and the country is mainly governed by the national legislature called Storthinget-(literally the great council) which holds its session every three years in the capital Christiania, the members being elected by the people. Storthinget appropriates the national expenditures and makes the laws which must receive the King's sanction, and which he can reto; but if the same law passes three successive Stoething, it becomes the law of the land, the King's veto notwithstanding
The Lutheran church is that of the State, but religious liberty is secured to all.
The people, dwelling among the mountains, are more readily inclined to listen to the voice of God, who speaks to them through His majestic works before them, than the dwellers of the plains. There is an earnestness in their nature, partially religious, which seems to tell them that “ life is real, life is earnest,” which pervades their whole being, gives them a solidity of character, and a desire for usefulness, which make them good members of society.
Education is a subject which has attracted much attention among them. In few countries of Europe has more been done for its extension and to secure its blessings to the whole people, and this is constantly increasing
The University at Christiania, which is very thorough in its instruction, was founded in 1811, has 600 to 700 students, with a faculty of eminent Professors, many of whom have a European reputation and are not unknown in this country. Besides this, there are Latin and other schools of learning of a high order in the cities and large towns, both public and private, and in the country schools are scattered through all the districts.
Since 1814, when Norway received its present Constitution, the country has made great progress in art and sciences. About 35 years ago the first steamboat commenced to plow its waters, since which time their number has increased on the lakes, and fjords along the coast for inland and for foreign commerce. The iron horse is conquering the rugged nature of the country, and is now traveling on a few roads whose nuinber is increasing. The telegraph spreads its net over a great part of the land, informing it of the daily events taking place in other parts of the world. To promote still more the internal communication of the country, a system of road building has been in progress the last 15 years or more, which, for solidity, elegance and comfort, would do honor to any country. The roads cross the inountains, are cut into the mountain sides, and are suspended over mountain gorges, evincing masterly engineering skill.
From the earliest times the people have been accustomed to participate in the public affairs of the country; this interest they have retained, and it has taught them self-government. The Danish Sovereigns ruled with de
spotic power, and contrary to their solemn oaths, made at times great inroads on public rights and privileges, till unpleasant warnings compelled them to desist from such a suicidal policy, when they left the people in possession of their rights, in order to regain their good will
. This watchfulness is still alive, which caused the late Mr. WHEATON—who represented this country at the Courts of Copenhagen and Berlin-to say that Norway was the hotbed of democracy in Europe."
The Norwegian of the present day is loyal, manly, independent, respectful, reliable, and a great lover of his country and its constitution. Their songs inspire them with these virtues, and with their Sages relate to them the heroic deeds of their ancestors who planted the seed of civil liberty wherever they settled, the fruits of which are seen in England and have been transplanted to this country.
The reader will observe the large import of breadstuffs and provisions. An alpine land like Norway, with fertile valleys and good grazings, ought to feed itself, but too much attention has been paid to the before-named pursuits to the great detriment of one of the most important branches of occupation wbich sustains the States, namely : that of agriculture and of cattle raising. Of late years the Statesmen and political economists of Norway have seen this great error and are endeavoring to remedy the evil by establishing agricultural schools, publishing journals, and works on agriculture, importing cattle to improve the breed, and educating and elevating the farming class to their true position in society. There is however one drawback which the farmer encounters—the early frost, which often in one night destroys the labor of the season. A more perfect knowledge of cultivating the soil by bringing the crops forward to an earlier maturity would, in some measure, prevent this misfortune.
This, no doubt, is one of the reasons which has caused so large emigration from that country to the Western States of this, which commenced twenty years ago or more. The emigrants are mainly from the farming class; some of them bring money with which to buy their land, others bring only their industrious habits and strong muscles, and occasionally their spiritual guide accompanies them. They are settled mainly in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Indiana. The Scandinavians being mainly from Norway, with their descendants numbered three years ago 150,000, published ten secular and religious papers in Danish, which is the spoken language of Norway, and Swedish languages.
Last year the number of emigrants from there was over 8000, and this year it is said to be still larger. Of late years they enter this country via Quebec, where the restriction of the number of passengers to the tunnage of the vessel has been less stringent than here, and where the vessels are more certain of a return cargo of deals to Europe. In the present war for civil liberty they are true to their cherished principles, and do their part in the field to restore their adopted country to its true position as the representative of the rights of man.
My object in sending you the above details is to give your readers a better idea than they perhaps have of the resources and wants of Norway, especially their need of breadstuffs, of which it will be seen from the above figures my native land always imports largely. Cannot the direct trade of America with Norway be increased with advantage to both parties.
Yours respectfully, Lowell, Nov, 15, 1862