Law Promoting Swedish Immigration
An act to promote immigration and to facilitate the settlement of the public lands.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in Legislature assembled, as follows:
SECT. 1. There shall be a board of immigration in this state, composed of the governor, secretary of state, and land agent, but the members of said board shall receive no compensation for the services they may render by virtue of this act.
SECT. 2. It shall be the duty of said board to collect statistics and other useful information concerning the climate, soil, and resources of the state, and the amount of the unsettled lands, together with the terms offered by the state to settlers, and such other information as said board may deem proper, and to cause the same to be printed and translated into the Scandinavian languages, and distributed in Sweden, Norway, and such other countries as may be deemed desirable, and best calculated to promote the purposes of this act; provided the whole amount expended for this purpose shall not exceed the sum of five hundred dollars.
SECT. 3. Said board may appoint some suitable person as agent, to proceed to Sweden or Norway for the purpose of obtaining a first colony of immigrants, and superintending their passage to this state and their settlement on the public lands; and the salary and entire expenses of such agent shall not exceed the sum of three thousand dollars.
SECT. 4. The agent aforesaid shall be sent out for the purposes herein provided as early as practicable in the year eighteen hundred and seventy, and shall return with the colony as soon thereafter as may be.
SECT. 5. The board aforesaid may cause said first colony of immigrants to be settled on any of the public lauds of the state not otherwise appropriated, and assign to each head of a family and male member of the colony twenty-one years of age, one hundred acres of land, and the land agent shall, at the expiration of said five years, cause each of the persons, aforesaid to whom lots have been thus assigned to receive a deed of warranty, or other valid title of the lot thus assigned them; provided each of said persons has established his residence on the lot assigned him, and has built him a comfortable house thereon, and has cleared not less than fifteen acres of land, within the time aforesaid, ten of which shall be laid down to grass; and all the immigrants thus settled shall be exempt from state taxation until January first, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy-six.
SECT. 6. The board aforesaid may, if in their opinion the circumstances of said first colony, of immigrants upon their arrival shall require it, cause advances to be made to them of such provisions, tools and implements, as may be necessary to enable them to commence labor; provided the whole amount thus expended shall not exceed one thousand dollars.
SECT. 7. The governor is hereby authorized to draw his warrant upon the treasurer for any of the sums specified in this act.
SECT. 8. All acts and parts of acts inconsistent with this act are hereby repealed, and this act shall take effect when approved.
Approved March 23, 1870
Source: Laws of Maine, 1870, pp. 133-134.
The sign at right notes that the “Swedish Colony” was spread among New Sweden, Stockholm, Westmanland, Woodland, Perham, Madawaska Lake, Connor, and Caribou.