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Chapter II

What effect Newhall had in. England there is no way to show; and the same may be said of the influence of other writers. (20) There is, however, sufficient evidence to prove that as early as 1850, when the United States census first began to record the nativity of the nation's inhabitants and when the occupation of the woods and prairies of Iowa had been going on for twenty years, settlers of British birth had already appeared upon the American frontier. Of the 192,214 people in Iowa at that time, it appears that 20,969 were born in foreign countries; and of these more than half were British - 4885 Irish, 3785 English, 1756 British-Americans, and 712 Scotch. (21) Furthermore, it is a noteworthy fact that the people of British birth exceeded those of German origin not only in 1850 but also in every census year for three decades thereafter.

No direct effort (other than by means of such booklets as those written by John B. Newhall and Alice Mann) seems to have been made before 1860 to induce British people to leave their homes and come to Iowa. The Dubuque Emigrant Association, organized in 1858, may have brought its influence to bear on emigrants after their arrival at Castle Garden in New York City, but it did not directly encourage emigration from the British Isles, though a pamphlet (22) intended for people in the eastern States very likely fell into the hands of foreigners as well. Not until observing Iowans awoke to the fact that the States of Minnesota and Wisconsin were actively engaged in luring emigrants within their borders did Iowa legislators provide for a commissioner of immigration in New York City. (23) At his office there during the years 1860 and 1861 he imparted information and distributed literature to all who came; but before his retirement he pointed out the futility of approaching foreigners whose final destination in America was generally determined previous to their sailing from Europe. During the Civil War and the reconstruction period following, the government of Iowa did practically nothing to encourage immigration to the State.

Competitive publicity measures on the part of neighboring States, however, again served to shake the Iowa legislature out of its persistent indifference to the subject. Created by law in 1870, the Iowa State Board of Immigration began its duties by printing and distributing small circulars and sending out newspaper notices inviting correspondence from persons who desired information about settling in Iowa. A. R. Fulton, secretary of the Board, prepared for publication in various languages a pamphlet on the agricultural, mineral, and other resources of the State. (24) Various railroad companies and the Hamburg Steamship Line were instrumental in carrying, such advertising matter to Europe at very slight cost to the Board. Governor Merrill's letter to the Workingmen's Emigrant Association of London was also widely distributed among the branches in the cities and towns of England, Scotland, and Wales. The Board commissioned Edward T. Edginton of Lucas County, Rev. Alexander King of Ireland, and Alexander A. Wise of London to disseminate information throughout the British Isles. Both King and Wise as resident agents were afterwards highly praised for their valuable services in attracting attention to Iowa, Mr. King having contributed many ably written articles to leading religious and secular journals in his country. (25)

Because four of the members of the State Board of Immigration of 1870-1871 were foreign-born and represented the Dutch, the German, and the Scandinavian elements in the population of Iowa, the Irish of Iowa expressed considerable dissatisfaction through the Roman Catholic clergy of the diocese of Dubuque. To the Hon. Richard O'Gorman of New York City they addressed a letter for the benefit of their fellow countrymen in Ireland on the subject of emigration. Furthermore, because Governor Merrill, in alluding to the foreign-born people in the State, had omitted to mention the large Irish element, thirty-seven Irish clergymen took him to task by asking whether their religion or politics or both were a barrier to recognition. Thousands of Irishmen, they declared, were prosperous, independent farmers in a State that was even then taking the lead in American agriculture. The clergy directed attention to the vast land holding of various railroad companies and the terms on which immigrants could still purchase farms; they also showed the rapid spread of Catholicism in Iowa as another special advantage, and they offered to supply any further information on the subject so close to their hearts. In conclusion, they promised to appoint an agent to represent them at New York in the spring of 1871. (26)

Immediately after his appointment, Edward T. Edginton left Chariton, Iowa : he arrived in Liverpool on August 18, 1870. Here he at once opened an office; but owing to the lateness of the emigration season and the lack of printed matter advertising Iowa he could do little except to collect the names and addresses of persons who intended to emigrate in the corning spring. When the pamphlets on Iowa did arrive, there were not nearly enough to supply all applicants. Mr. Edginton had a list of two thousand agents residing in all parts of the British Isles whom he also intended to furnish with an ample number of the State's booklets: his repeated requests for more and also for a cheaper document for wider distribution were not complied with because the State Board of Immigration had too little money at its disposal for such purposes.

How many individuals Mr. Edginton induced to go to Iowa by his distribution of six thousand copies of the pamphlet, he could not state, as most of them booked their passage to America through local passenger agents; but he distributed pamphlets and information to all who were interested in Liverpool, London, Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Lincoln, Leicester, Nottingham, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Hereford, Bristol, Neath, Swansea, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen, Inverness, Stirling, and other cities. (27) He also inserted a short advertisement in a leading religious paper and received over five hundred letters of inquiry. (28)

In the report of his activities Mr. Edginton suggested that the Iowa legislature make more liberal provision not only for printed matter but also for the payment of agents "who should be constantly employed during the entire year in visiting and lecturing, in the agricultural districts, especially." If this were done, he had no doubt that the result would equal if not surpass the most sanguine expectations. Judging from the fact that the State of Iowa paid Edginton $121.25 for freight, postage, and wrappers on pamphlets and $150 as salary during his seven months of service abroad, he was probably one of the agents who had been employed by the Board of Immigration to serve both the State and such railroad companies as had agreed to pay most of their salaries. (29)

The second State Board of Immigration appointed for the years 1872 and 1873 also sought to reach British ears, like its predecessor, through Alexander A. Wise at London. (30) How thoroughly he did his work, there is no report to show. During the next six years, however, the State of Iowa did practically nothing to attract settlers to its huge unoccupied areas.

Despite the operations of railroad and other agencies in the land markets at home and abroad, men like Governor John H. Gear realized that the State was not receiving a fair share of the immigration which had been coming to the West. He informed the General Assembly that American consuls in Great Britain and Germany had notified him that there would be a very large emigration of most desirable people to the United States in 1880. (31) Because this prediction had been "corroborated by the public speeches of many of the leading English statesmen, and by utterances of the influential press in discussing the agricultural conditions of their country" and because neighboring States were openly bidding for such settlers, Governor Gear urged the State legislature of Iowa to enter "the race for empire". Accordingly, for the last time in the history of the State, the General Assembly in 1880 appropriated $5000 annually for two years, $1200 being designated as the annual salary of a commissioner, the remainder to be expended by him in showing "to the people of the United States the natural advantages and resources of the state of Iowa." George D. Perkins of Sioux City, who was appointed to the new position, at once announced that according to his interpretation of the law no part of the funds at his disposal could be spent in foreign countries. (32)

The last reminder of the State's undertaking to lure trans-Atlantic emigrants to its vacant lands is a four-page pamphlet prepared in 1881 by J. Duehurst Shuttleworth of 45 Sunny Road, Southport, England, who gave his representations added but apparently unauthorized weight by signing himself "Commissioner of Immigration for the State of Iowa". An English newspaper contained the following editorial mention or advertisement of Iowa and its self-styled commissioner:

The State of Iowa invites the attention of Emigrants to the following facts: It is the first State in the amount of Indian Corn grown, in the number of pigs raised, and first in Wheat. For the Dairy Iowa has no equal; at the World's Exposition in Philadelphia bearing off gold and silver medal award on Butter; in St. Louis, 1878, on Cheese; and again on Butter at the International Dairy Fair, New York, in December, 1879. Iowa lies midway between Texas south and Canada on the north, and in belt of population, commerce and wealth. Canada exported, in 1877, 13,659,949 pounds of Butter, and produced 25,000,000 bushels of Wheat; Iowa, the same year, exported 27,262,724 pounds of Butter and produced 54,500,000 bushels of Wheat. Ontario, Canada, had in 1875 of Horses, Cattle and Pigs, 9 to the square mile. The farmers of the State of Iowa, of whom a large number are from Great Britain, own of Horses, Cattle and Pigs, 5,236,482, or 95 to the square mile. Of the 64,000,000 bushels of Corn received in Chicago last year, 29,709,340 bushels were from Iowa. By the laws of Iowa, any British subject, whether naturalized or residing in the United States or not, may exercise all the rights of a citizen in regard to buying, holding or the transfer of property. (33)

A pamphlet entitled Iowa Resources and Industries was the last one prepared at State expense for home and investment seekers and was published in 1885 by J. P. Bushnell, Commissioner of Immigration, with the endorsement of the State Executive Council. Though not issued for circulation in the British Isles, it undoubtedly served the general purpose of keeping Iowa before the eyes of English-speaking people everywhere. The document seems to have been intended to fall into the hands of visitors to the World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition and to the North, Central and South American Exposition - both held at New Orleans. Iowa could not withhold a suitable display on both these occasions because a similar participation at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876 had served to attract both capital and immigrants to the State. (34)

Meanwhile the railroad companies whose trunk lines had been pushed westward at great expense had bent every energy to sell the thousands of acres of public domain granted to them by a generous government: so long as these lands along their right of ways lay townless and unimproved or unused for agriculture or stock raising, the railroads had little more than a desert to tap. By purchase from these corporations and from homesteaders and preemptors, land companies had procured titles to vast bodies of land adjacent to the railroads. The agents of the railroads and the private land companies, therefore, left no stone unturned to unload their extensive holdings upon foreign immigrants and land-seekers from the older parts of the United States. In every possible way - by newspaper advertising, by pamphlets, and by agents in foreign lands - they sought to bring settlers to the territory tributary to their newly-built lines across Iowa. (35)

How much these private agencies exerted themselves to persuade Americans and Europeans to purchase land in the State of Iowa can never be known until their books and, records have been thoroughly searched for information of that character. By the beginning of the last decade of the nineteenth century very little vacant or unsold land, it is believed, remained in the hands of railroad grantees or large land companies in Iowa.

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20 Newhall issued a third volume, A Glimpse of Iowa in 1846; or, the Emigrant's Guide, a book of 106 pages. His favorite title page inscription was a statement of Coleridge "The possible destiny of the United States of America, as a nation of a hundred millions of freemen, stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific, living under the laws of Alfred, and speaking the language of Shakespeare and Milton, is an august conception. Why should we not wish to see it realized?"
     Colton's The Emigrant's Hand-Book (1848) contains some information on Iowa. On pages 116-123 appears an address of the Irish Emigrant Society of New York to the people of Ireland.

21 Historical and Comparative Census of Iowa, 1836-1880, pp. 168, 169.

22 Northern Iowa. By a Pioneer. Containing Valuable Information for Emigrants. (40 pages).

23 See Marcus L. Hansen's article, Official Encouragement of Immigration to Iowa in The Iowa Journal of History and Politics, Vol. XIX, pp. 165-167.

24 Iowa: The Home for Immigrants, being a Treatise on the Resources of Iowa, and Giving Useful Information with Regard to the State, for the Benefit of Immigrants and Others.

25 For these facts see Iowa Legislative Documents, 1872, Document No. 27, pp. 3-9.

26 Iowa State Register (Weekly, Des Moines), July 13, 1870.

27 Mr. Edginton's work is reported in the Iowa Legislative Documents, 1872, Document No. 27, pp. 22, 23.

28 In the Christian World of London appeared an article by Christopher Crayon on Iowa as a Field for Emigration. This account is reprinted in the Iowa State Register (Weekly, Des Moines), February 1, 1871.

29 This arrangement between the State and certain rail­road companies is referred to in the Iowa Legislative Docu­ments, 1872, Document No. 27, p. 7, and the Iowa State Register (Weekly, Des Moines), May 25, 1870.

30 Reported in the Iowa State Register (Weekly, Des Moines), May 15, 1872.

31 Shambaugh's Messages and Proclamations o f the Gov­ernors o f Iowa, Vol. V, p. 84.
     American consuls in England must have heard of the plans of the Close brothers of Manchester to establish a community of Britishers in northwestern Iowa.

32 The Iowa Journal of History and Politics, Vol. XIX, pp. 188-190.

33 The Manchester Guardian, quoted in the Iowa State Register (Weekly, Des Moines), February 11, 1881.

34 Iowa Legislative Documents, 1886, Vol. V, Report of H. S. Fairall, Commissioner, p. 3.

35 See, for example, the Iowa Railroad Land Company's Choice of Iowa Farming Lands, 1870, and the Sioux City and St. Paul Railroad Company's Farms and Homes in the Near West Located in Northern Iowa and Southern Minnesota. The land commissioner of the latter company seems to have had an office at 57 Charing Cross, London, S. W.

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