to Mr. Cramer.
Washington , May 8, 1874.
Sir: Referring to my No. 146, respecting the Danish convicts sent to New York from Copenhagen by the Washington, I have now to inform you that Mr. Hegermann Lindencrone had an interview with Mr. Davis on the subject at the Department to-day.
Mr. Hegermann Lindencrone said that he understood that this Government was going to send back to Copenhagen some Danish emigrants.
Mr. Davis replied that it was true that this Government had refused permission to land some Danish convicts who had been sent out here.
Mr. Hegermann Lindencrone said that the persons referred to had served out their terms as convicts, and had come like other emigrants.
Mr. Davis answered that the information received by this Government was not exactly to that effect, and he asked Mr. Hegermann Lindencrone whether he had any personal knowledge on the subject.
Mr. Hegermann Lindencrone replied that he had not, except that he was informed that the persons had served out their terms as convicts. If they had been sent here, it was doubtless by some persons who desired to reform them, or possibly by the police, certainly not by the government; and he suggested that, if we would consent to defer sending the convicts away, it would give an opportunity for inquiry.
Mr. Davis replied that it was not for a moment to be supposed that the Danish government had sent these persons here; we felt sure that it could not have been a party to so unfriendly an act. But we were convinced that the persons were convicts, although they might have served out their terms; and we felt equally sure that they were not voluntary emigrants, but had been sent here. If, therefore, Mr. Hegermann Lindencrone could give no assurances to the contrary, we thought it due to his government to send the persons back, in order that it might have the means of investigating the subject, and an opportunity to punish those who had sent them here. He added that you would receive full instructions on the subject, and that this Government would not consent to make this country a refuge for either paupers or convicts. These persons, therefore, would go back to-morrow, unless Mr. Hegermann Lindencrone could give an assurance that we were mistaken in their character.
I am, &c.,