Alstroemer, Jonas

, the reviver of industry and commerce in Sweden, was born in 1685, in the small town of Alingsas in West Gothland, of poor parents. After struggling for a long time with the evils of want, he came | to London, where he paid particular attention to commercial speculations; and from his inquiries into the prosperity of England, he deduced the importance of manufactures and commerce. His native country, for several centuries engaged in war, had made little progress in the arts of industry, but was now endeavouring to promote them; and Alstroemer having formed his plan, returned to Sweden to assist his fellow-citizens in this undertaking. In 1723, he requested of the states a licence to establish manufactures in the town in which he was born, and it soon became the seat of activity and industry, which spread over other parts of the kingdom. In the mean time he travelled to acquire a knowledge of the inventions and the methods practised in Germany, Holland, and Flanders, collected able workmen, and the best models, and published several instructive papers. At the same time he carried on trade, in partnership with Nicholas Sahlgren, at Gottenburgh. Here he established a sugar-house, traded to the Indies and the Levant, and bestowed so much attention on rural opconomy, as to introduce some very essential improvements, cultivating plants proper for dying, and extending the culture of potatoes, then a novelty in Sweden. He also improved the wool-trade by importing the sheep of Spain and England, and even the Angora goat. The manufacture of cloth, and other articles from wool, was now much encouraged, and gave employment to a great number of hands, who manufactured to the value of three millions of livres tournois per annum, and relieved the country from the necessity of having recourse to foreign markets; but in other manufactures, as the silk, then did not succeed so well. Alstroemer has been accused of not paying sufficient attention to local circumstances in some of his schemes, and of having encouraged notions that were more showy than solid; but his design was truly patriotic, and his country readily acknowledged the benefit it has derived from his labours. The king Frederic bestowed on him the title of counsellor of commerce, and the order of the polar star; Adolphus Frederic granted him letters of nobility; and the academy of sciences chose him a member, while the States decreed that his statue should be placed on the exchange at Stockholm, with this inscription: “Jonas Alstjoemer, artium fabrilium in patria instaurator.” “J. A. the reviver of manufactures.” He died in 1761, leaving a | considerable fortune. His four sons, Claude, Patrick, John, Augustus, were distinguished for talents and patriotism, and the first three were members of the academy of Stockholm. 1


Biog. Universelle.