Scots in Sweden, by Jonas Berg
and Bo Lagercrantz
in this century were to continue the development in trade and business,
but the background to Scottish immigration remained the stormy political
situation in the home country. The first wave of immigrants followed the
Stuart rising 1715-16 and the second followed Culloden in 1745.
The ship Prins Gustaf in the Stockholm
harbour. Detail of the title-page for
"Architectura navalis mercatoria" by Fredrik Henrik af Chapman, printed in
The Jacobites and
The links of the Jacobites
with Charles XII in the years 1715-17 is an extremely interesting chapter
in the history of Scottish-Swedish relationships.
After the final failure of
his Russian campaign at Poltava in 1709, and five adventurous years in
Turkey, Charles XII appeared in Stralsund in 1715 in an effort to save the
remains of the Swedish empire in Germany. His opponents now included
George I, who desired to bring BremenVerden, then a Swedish possession,
under Hanover. Contact was established between the Duke of Mar and the
Swedish government, through the good offices mainly of Count Carl
Gyllenborg, the Swedish Minister in London, and the adventurous diplomat
Georg Heinrich von Görtz, who had entered the service of Charles XII. The
Jacobites subsidised Swedish armament in return for a promise that Sweden
would support the restoration of the Stuarts. A landing by Charles XII in
Scotland or England was planned, but it is not known just how far
negotiations advanced. All such plans were in any case crushed early in
1717, when the English government had Gyllenborg arrested, in spite of his
diplomatic status. The plans were in fact revived once more, but were
completely abandoned in November 1718, when Charles himself fell at the
siege of Fredrikshald in Norway
Colin Campbell and the
Swedish East India Company
In the 1690s there lived
in Edinburgh a notary named John Campbell. He is first mentioned in the
sources as being accepted into the guild on 14th December 1691, after a
period of apprenticeship under John Dallas. On 9th September he became a
burgher of the city, and in the years 1697-99 he was the citys
representative. He died an old man and was buried on 14th April 1699. This
notary was married to Elisabeth Campbell of Moy, born 20th May 1658. Her
father was probably Captain John Campbell of Moy (some time Captain in
Colonel Monros regiment) whose will was registered in Edinburgh 13th
February 1694. The couple had three sons, Archibald (died 1727), who
followed the same profession as his father, Hugh, who was a businessman
and paid a short visit to Sweden, and Colin (died 1757) who became a
burgher of the city of Gothenburg. On 3rd August 1720 Archibald and Colin
became burghers in Edinburgh, as a recognition of their fathers services.
Colin was then referred to as "of London, Esq.,".
Colin Campbell lived in
London 1720-23, and was involved in the transactions that led to the South
Sea Bubble. He appears to have fled when the bubble burst and is next to
be found in Ostend. 1723-30 he worked, largely as super-cargo, in the
Austrian East India Company, which was based in that city. This company
was a clear attempt to compete with the British East India Company, and
many Scots were engaged in the enterprise. It did not, however, prove the
success that the Emperor had expected, and Campbell left it a couple of
years before its liquidation.
The next similar attempt
was to be made from Sweden. In 1730 we meet Colin Campbell for the first
time in Sweden, to which he had been called by the powerful Gothenburg
merchant Nikias Sahlgren to assist in the formation of the Swedish East
India Company. It is difficult to determine whether it was Sahlgren or
Campbell who took the initiative originally but the latter clearly played
a dominant role in the Swedish company from the very beginning. In 1730
Campbell was in Stockholm, but in the following year he settled in
Gothenburg, where he lived until his death. He applied for Swedish
citizenship on 14th June 1731,and we learn from his application
that he was born in June 1686, and regarded himself as a member of the
noble family of Argyll through the Campbells of Cawdor. From 1731
until his death he was a director of the new company.
The fortlet Gota Lejon in Gothenburg.
Engraving by von Avelen in 1709,
probably after drawing by Karl Magnus Stuart.
As a company of this kind
must formally be managed by a Swede it is often only possible to guess at
Campbells role as one of its leading spirits. In 1731 the Swedish
government granted the new company its privileges, and in the following
spring the Swedish East India Companys first ship, the FRIEDERICUS REX
SUECIAE sailed for China. Colin Campbell himself accompanied the ship on
her voyage, armed with a letter of credit that made him the first ever
Swedish envoy to the Emperor of China. Financially the voyage was a
brilliant success, as were the majority of the 22expeditions made
in the first 15 years of the company, in spite of the fact that both the
English and the Dutch did their best to hinder the Swedes from encroaching
on what they regarded as their exclusive market.
After the death of Colin
Campbell in 1757the management of the company became increasingly
Swedish. Its two most successful decades were in the 1760s. After this
came the decline that led to liquidation during the Napoleonic Wars.
Robert Campbell, the son of
the Under-Secretary in the Board of Trade Robert Campbell of the same
family as Colin Campbell who had immigrated in 1707, was appointed
British Minister in Stockholm in 1757,but owing to the current
antagonism to England in Stockholm never presented his letter of credence.
The Blackwell case
(1700-47) was a Scottish doctor and economist who came to Sweden in 1742
and continued there certain experiments in agriculture that he had started
in Aberdeen. These concerned, among other things, the breeding of horses
and sheep, dairy management and the growing of colorific plants. He was
richly rewarded for his initiative, and became physician to Frederick I.
Politically he was concerned to bring Great Britain, Denmark and Sweden
closer together. Since Great Britain had no diplomatic representative in
Sweden he made contact with the Minister in Denmark. He was imprisoned on
extremely flimsy evidence, accused of conspiracy against the Crown Prince,
tortured and finally put to death in 1747. The event is one of the most
famous legal murders in Swedish history.
Sir William Chambers
It was in the employment of
the Swedish East India Company that Sir William Chambers travelled, in the
1740s, to China, where he received the influence that was later to
dominate his work at Kew Gardens and elsewhere. He came to serve in this
company because his father lived in Gothenburg, as a merchant. The list of
subscribers to Chambers A Treatise on Civil Architecture (London,
1759) contains a striking number of Gothenburgers, of both Scottish and
The Tottie Family
The Tottie family came to
Stockholm in 1688 with a tobacco dresser named Thomas Tottie, born in 1664
in Jedburgh, where his father was a customs officer. In the 1690s Thomas
Tottie set up his own tobacco dressers, which seems to have thrived. When
he died in 1724 he was a very rich man. His wife and three sons continued
for some years to run the factory, but in 1728 one of them, Samuel Tottie
(1702-50) started a new factory in Gävle. The two other sons Charles
Tottie (1703-76) and William Tottie (1705-66) operated from the 1740s a
large-scale wholesale business. William Tottie was regarded as one of the
richest men in Stockholm. Charles Tottie distinguished himself in a
variety of fields, and was among other things one of the founders of the
Stockholms City Fire Insurance Office. The family still flourishes in
His manor, once situated
just outside Stockholm, was removed about twenty years ago to Skansen, the
open-air museum in that city.
The Carnegie Family
As early as in 1620 a
merchant named Hans Carnegie had been active in Gothenburg but he
apparently died without issue.
After the Battle of
Culloden in 1745, one George Carnegie, who in the battle had fought
against his elder brother, fled to the hills of Flenesk and Glenmark with
James Carnegie, Laird of Balnamoon and an Ochterlony of Guynd. The three
rebels shortly escaped in an open boat from Montrose, were picked up by a
Swedish ship, and landed safely in Gothenburg.
George had apparently
studied commerce in Scotland, but broke off his education to fight for
Bonnie Prince Charles, of whose lifeguard he was a member. He was outlawed
after Culloden, and in Gothenburg worked first as a shop assistent, but
later became a wholesale dealer. In 1764 he had working in his office
Thomas Erskine (later Earl of Kellie), John Hall (of British origin,
although probably not a Scot, and later a man of great wealth) and James
Carnegie Arbuthnott the younger. The firm exported bar-iron and boards to
England, and imported from England wheat, butter and pitcoal, and from
Russia rye and flax. In all probability George Carnegie was also a
In 1769 he returned to
Scotland, where he had some years before bought back his family seat of
Pittarrow, and another estate, Charleton, both in Southesk and near
Montrose. He married in the same year a Scottish woman by whom he had
three sons, John, James and David. David, and James son of the same name,
maintained contact with Sweden. George Carnegie died in 1799.
James Carnegie, "the rebel
laird", was third cousin to George. It is uncertain how long he remained
in Sweden. He was proscribed until 1758.
James Carnegie Arbuthnott,
son of the above, was born in 1740, and we first learn of him in
Gothenburg in 1764, when he worked in George Carnegies office. In 1766 he
obtained his citizenship, as an inn-keeper, and was known in Gothenburg as
"Old Man Carnegie of Klippan". He died unmarried in 1810.
David Carnegie (the Elder),
son of George Carnegie, was born in 1772 in Montrose, and was in 1786 sent
to Gothenburg where from 1787-92 he worked as clerk for Thomas Erskine,
the British Consul. From 1793-c. 1800 he was accountant with John Hall &
Co. In 1800 Thomas Erskine having inherited the title Earl of Kellie
returned to Scotland, and David Carnegie took over his firm. In 1799 he
became member of the Royal Bachelors Club. He was made a burgher, as a
whole-sale merchant, in 1801. When in 1803 he took an accountant named Jan
Lamberg into partnership, the name of the firm was changed to D. Carnegie
D. Carnegie & Co. exported
timber and iron. From England colonial goods, wines, porter, meat, flour
and salt were imported and from Russia flax and tow. The firm was also
interested in herring fishery and owned curing houses. It also had certain
mills in Värmland after John Hall & Co. had gone bankrupt.
In 1873 David Carnegie the
Elder died in Gothenburg. He had a Swedish wife and a daughter, Susan Mary
Ann Carnegie, from 1845 married to her cousin, David Carnegie the Younger,
who had taken over the firm. David Carnegie (The Younger), nephew of the
above, was born in 1813 in Scotland. He came to Gothenburg straight from
Eton in 1830, to work in his uncles firm. In 1836he bought at an
auction the Lorent sugar mill and brewery. Later in the same year he took
over also D. Carnegie & Co. The sugar mill was managed by John Nonnen and
the firm of F. Malm, who took is over compietely in 1848. David Carnegie
had a partner, W. Robertson. In 1850, when both Nonnen and Robertson had
died, there was founded a company under Oscar Ekman. Carnegie apparently
returned to Scotland in 1841, and four years later married his uncles
daughter. They lived in Scotland but particularly during the 1880s D.
Carnegie donated large sums of money to Gothenburg. He died in 1890.
Thomas Erskine and the
Thomas Erskine was born
c.1746, of a family that were strong adherents of the Stuart cause, and
who had suffered severely from the confiscation of estates after Culloden.
In 1759 Thomas Erskine, then 13 years old, was in Gothenburg, where he
worked until 1765 as a clerk in the offices of George Carnegie. 1765-67he was accountant with John and Benjamin Hall. In 1767 he was made a
burgher, and became part owner of John Hall & Co. He married a Swedish
girl in 1771, and was for a number of years British Consul in Gothenburg.
From 1794 he ran a business under his own name, for a while in partnership
with David Mitchell, a Scot from Montrose. In 1793 he became, by
inheritance, Sir Thomas Erskine, Bt., and in 1799 Earl of Kellie. No
estates accompanied these titles, however. At the turn of the century he
returned to Scotland, where he settled in Cambo House, Fife, which he
purchased himself. There he died, in 1828.
Many members of the British
colony in Gothenburg in the 1760s were interested in billiards, a game
forbidden in Sweden on public premises. As many were fairly young men,
bachelors who worked as clerks and accountants in the various merchant
houses, they had no homes in which they could indulge their passion for
the game. On the initiative, mainly of Thomas Erskine, who was at that
time still unmarried, there was founded in 1769 the Bachelors Club, for
"billiards, and pleasant, undisturbed fellowship". Erskine was Member No.
1, and the 19 founder members include such names as Robert Innes, Henry
Greig, David Lyall, John Scott and John Fraser. This club since 1787 the
Royal Bachelors Club is apparently the fifth in age of the worlds
It was long debated whether
Rutger Maclean, one of the most important Swedes of the 18th century, was
of German or Scottish origin, but it is now generally accepted that he
stemmed from Scotland. His father was one of Charles XIIs officers, and
the first of his ancestors in Sweden was probably Johan Macleer, the
Gothenburg merchant who actively helped Montrose during the latters visit
to Gothenburg in 1650. Johan Macleer had been raised to the Swedish
nobility in 1649, and in the following year was created an English baronet
by Charles I as a reward for his services in helping Montrose. His Swedish
wife had a sister who was married to Jakob Makeleer, a silk mercer in
Stockholm. The two brothers-in-law were obviously related and possibly
brothers. They seem to have been the first of their family to settle in
At the age of 40, in 17-,
when he was an indigent captain, living in modest officers quarters in
southern Sweden, Rutger Maclean inherited from his mothers family the
great estate of Svaneholm in the richest part of fertile Scania. Farming
in Sweden, not least in Scania, was at that time still primetively
organised, and the land split up into countless small allotments. The
production of grain by then had begun to prove profitable, and the big
landowners began to show an interest in agricultural reforms, and more
effective large-scale farming. This was to be Rutger Macleans lifes
work. He was one of the most well-read landowners in the country, and he
had deepened his experience by travels on the Continent.
Map of the Svaneholm estate in Scanie,
showing how Rutger Maclean's reform in
land distribution changed the landscape.
When Maclean took over his
estate he found the peasants in his four villages so weighed down by their
obligatory "daywork" for the landowners manor, that they were unable to
look after their own land, which was also split up into numerous
allotments, often as many as 60-70. But as a landowner Rutger Maclean was
a benevolent despot. He called a surveyor, had the land measured up, and
reorganised the many small allotments into one or two large ones. He also
split up the villages and made the peasants live in new houses by the new
ground they were given. The "day-work" system was abolished, and the
putting of old pasture land into cultivation encouraged.
Within the space of some
ten years Svaneholm was transformed into a famous model farm. The radical
reforms introduced by Rutger Maclean provided a pattern for the single
allotment system introduced by law in Scania in 1802, and was later
followed in legislation for the country as a whole.
One of Rutger Macleans
most outstanding successors was Carl Georg Stjernswärd (1767-1825).
Stjernswärd was of entirely Swedish birth, but his work is very largely
the result of influences from Scotland.
With a view to raising the
yield of his estate of Engeltofta in Scania he made contact in 1794 with
Thomas Erskine, Earl of Kellie, who was then still in Gothenburg. With him
as an intermediary Stjernswärd succeeded in employing no less than ten or
so young Scottish farmers, who in 1803 set about reforming the system at
Engeltofta. Some of them were skilled smiths, and introduced modern
Scottish ploughs into Sweden, which were greatly superior to the old
Swedish ones. Stjernswärd also built a factory on his estate for the
smithying of ploughshares, and from here the new implements spread over
Sweden. The Scots at Engeltofta also introduced revolutionary new methods
for putting land under cultivation, and these were of great importance for
the development of Swedish agriculture during the 19th century.
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