Mr. Bancroft to Mr. Fish.
Berlin , October 6, 1873. (Received October 30.)
Sir: While perfect freedom remains to all Germans that wish to emigrate to the United States, the governments of the several states are becoming impatient at the presence within their limits of agents of emigration, and in two or three instances such agents have been summarily directed to quit the state in which they prosecuted their business. Perhaps not every one of the agents has conducted himself discreetly, and, as far as I have been able to observe, they have brought to the United States no increase of desirable emigration. In some cases the agent is a naturalized German-American citizen again established in Germany, apparently without an intention to return to the United States, and, therefore, feeling no kind of responsibility to our Government. Of the motives to emigration, the most influential is the low price paid in Germany for agricultural labor, which has led many of the country people to flock to the towns and cities and many to cross the Atlantic.
I have thought it incumbent on me to do what I could to restrain the arbitrary procedures of the local governments, and the only measure I could adopt is to ask that in every instance of expulsion there be notice given, with assignment of the reasons.
The books of Heffter and Bluntschli both authorize, and even recommend, this procedure, but both maintain the right of expulsion.
In two cases emigration agents have appealed to the legation. In one case it had been proved that the emigration agent had assisted afraudulent bankrupt in escaping to America. The agent, in his conver sation with me, did not so much deny the fact as insist on his own in nocence, founded on his ignorance and good intention.
A second case is that of a commissioner of immigration from the State of Michigan, of whose personal character I have received the best accounts. I have, therefore, selected his case for a more formal statement to the government, of which I inclose a copy.[Page 430]
The beneficial results which I expect from this course are two: To increase the disinclination of the government to the use of this measure, and to obtain a clearer definition of the rights and duties of emigrant agents, so that in the pursuit of their business they may know how to avoid all violations of law.
Besides the above two cases of professional emigrant agents, three naturalized Americans of the neighborhood of Saarburg, in the district of Treves, have been recently sent over the frontier for alleged enticement of laborers to go to America. I brought the case to the attention of the Prussian government, which made its explanations, without reversing its decree.
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I remain, &c.,