Excerpt from Olof Wijk's North American Diary of 1829

".. In 1802 it [New Orleans] had only 5,000 inhabitants, today [1829] it has 50,000. The reason for this considerable increase is the number of traders who come here from other parts of the United States as well as from all parts of Europe to deal in the multitude of products which are now produced in the western part of the country and which are transported to here on the Mississippi, which is navigable all the way to Pittsburgh, 2031 miles from Balize at the mouth of the river. These products, of which cotton and tobacco are the most important, are transported to New Orleans either on steamers or on so-called flatboats. These latter are of the type that are used in Russia on Lake Ladoga and on the Neva River; they never return, but are sold as fuel or for building construction. The products which are brought down the river are then shipped from New Orleans to other parts of the world, especially to Europe. As a result, New Orleans can now be counted among the major commercial cities of the world." (Page 11)

"I returned to Washington, and with Baron Stackelberg [Swedish and Norwegian chargé d'affaires in Washington] I visited Secretary of State van Buren [Martin van Buren later became the eighth president of the United States] and Mr Branch [US Senator from North Carolina]. I gave them Mr Silsbee's [US Senator from Massachusetts] letters of introduction, and they received me very politely. In Mr van Buren's office I met my old friend Mr Cambreleng [Churchill Caldom Cambreleng, US congressman and diplomat], and also a Mr Edward Wyer.
I visited the Russian Minister Baron Krudener, ... At 1:30 p.m. Stackelberg and van Buren introduced me to President Andrew Jackson. He was dressed in black like me, and he shook my hand and said how pleased he was to meet a traveler from so far away. He invited me to sit down, which I agreed to do provided he too would take a seat, and once we were seated and the mutual compliments about health and looks had been done with, he asked me to tell him about the journey which I had undertaken in this country, telling me that I was a modern day La Fayette. He was pleased to hear that the great task of constructing the Göta Canal [connecting the west and east coasts in Sweden] was now almost completed. After half an hour's conversation I took leave." (Page 37)

Back