Franklin D. Roosevelt

Address at the Tercentenary Celebration, Wilmington, Delaware.

June 27, 1938

Your Royal Highnesses:

This is a day of happy significance to three nations. I welcome you, for you represent a true friendship under which we have lived from the earliest times unmarred by any rift, unbroken by any misunderstanding. You are thrice welcome to our shores.

It is a matter of keen sorrow and regret to me that His Royal Highness the Crown Prince is unable to be at this historic spot today, but all of us pray that his recovery will be speedy and complete- and I personally look forward to welcoming him and his family at Hyde Park or at Washington the end of this week.

And I am grateful to Prince Berchel for the message that he has given to us from his distinguished grandfather. When he returns to Stockholm, I hope that he will give to His Majesty King Gustavus V my affectionate regards and the affectionate regards of all the American people.

I accept with profound gratitude, in behalf of the people of the United States, this noble monument placed here through the generosity of the people of Sweden. I am confident that to generations yet unborn in Sweden and in the United States it will typify close association and continued good will between our two nations.

It is therefore with much pleasure and sincere appreciation, that I turn over to the Governor of the State of Delaware this monument to hold in perpetuity in custody for the American people.

I am fortunate in having personal association with the Colony of New Sweden, for one of my ancestors, Wilhelm Beekman, served as Vice Governor of the Colony of New Sweden on the Delaware River from 1658 to 1663. And I am also proud that Swedish blood runs in my veins, for another of my ancestors, old Martinus Hoffman, was an early Swedish settler in New Amsterdam.

My friend, the Governor of Delaware, holds office in direct official succession from the old Governors of New Sweden-which reminds me of a recent rhyme descriptive of that famous Swedish Governor, Johan Printz, that doughty pioneer who is said to have tipped the scales at more than three hundred pounds.

"No Gov. of Del.

Before or since

Has weighed as much

As Johan Printz."

Your Royal Highnesses, it is a privilege to make grateful acknowledgment of the outstanding contributions made to our national life by men and women of Swedish blood. To this spot came the pioneers. But in the succeeding centuries tens of thousands of others have come to our shores and added their strength and their fine qualities of good citizenship to the American nation. In every phase of our history, in every endeavor-in commerce and industry, in science and art, in agriculture, in education and religion, in statecraft and government, they have well played their part.

Nor have we as Americans forgotten that after the War of the Revolution, Sweden was the first neutral European power to negotiate a treaty of amity and trade with our young and struggling nation. All these things we Americans recall today with grateful hearts.

And to you who are here as representatives of the people of Finland, I extend an equally hearty welcome. Men and women from Finland through the generations have also contributed greatly to our American civilization. Finland, small in size but mighty in honor, occupies an especially warm place in the American heart.

Sweden, Finland and the United States will continue their service in the days to come in the cause of friendship and in the cause of peace among the nations of the world.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Address at the Tercentenary Celebration, Wilmington, Delaware. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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