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[284] While the New England men were thus en-
Chap. XV.}
croaching on the Dutch on the east, a new competitor for possessions in America appeared in Delaware Bay.

Gustavus Adolphus, the greatest benefactor of humanity in the line of Swedish kings, had discerned the advantages which might be expected from colonies and widely-extended commerce. His zeal was encouraged by William Wsselinx, a Netherlander, whose mind for

many years had been steadily devoted to the subject; at his instance, a commercial company, with exclusive privileges to traffic beyond the Straits of Gibraltar, and
1626. June 14.
the right of planting colonies, was sanctioned by the king, and incorporated by the states of Sweden. The
1627. May 1
stock was open to all Europe for subscription; the king himself pledged 400,000 dollars of the royal treasure on equal risks; the chief place of business was established at Gottenburg; a branch was promised to any city which would embark 300,000 dollars in the undertaking. The government of the future colonies was reserved to a royal council; for ‘politics,’ says the charter—and the expression marks the nation and the times—‘politics lie beyond the profession of merchants.’1 Men of every rank were solicited to engage in the enterprise; it was resolved to invite ‘colonists from all the nations of Europe.’2 Other nations employed slaves in their colonies; and ‘slaves,’ said they, ‘cost a great deal, labor with reluctance, and soon perish from hard usage; the Swedish nation is laborious and intelligent, and surely we shall gain more by a free people with wives and children.’3 To the Scandinavian imagination, hope painted the New World

1 Argonautica Gustaviana contain the Documents.

2 Ibid. 3.

3 Ibid. 3, and compare 22.

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