No. 244.
Mr. Bancroft to Mr. Fish.

No. 527.]

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.

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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.

* * * * * * *

I remain, &c.,


Mr. Bancroft to Mr. Von Balan.

Mr. Secretary: In conformity with the suggestion of your excellency, that I should make a written communication on the subject of our yesterday’s conversation respecting the recent expulsion of American citizens from the German Empire without trial by law or conviction of any offense, I do myself the honor to present some suggestions for your consideration.

There are two grounds on which the United States may claim the right to make representations on the subject.

I. As a question of international law, it is very clearly laid down by the highest German authorities that the government of which a citizen is thus expelled has a right to expect information of an expulsion and of the reason for it. Heffter, in his Europäisches Völkerrecht, § 33, vo., p. 64, lays down this rule:

“Kein Staat kann die gehorig legitimirten Unterthanen eines anderen hefreundeten Staates zuruckweisen, oder, nachdem sie einmal von ihm aufgenommen sind, wieder ausweisen ohne bestimmte ihrer Regierung mitzutheilenden Ursachen.”

II. Another ground exists in the treaty of May 1, 1828, between the King of Prussia and the American Republic, by the terms of which, as distinctly expressed in Article I, American citizens are at liberty to sojourn and reside in all parts whatsoever of Prussia, and shall enjoy the same security and protection as natives of the country, on condition of their submitting to the laws and ordinances there prevailing.

There is another point of view which I desire to bring to your excellency’s attention. The Government of the United States, equally with the German government, desires its citizens residing in a foreign country to conform scrupulously to the laws of the land. But when a new interpretation is put upon existing laws, or a different practice under them is suddenly followed, it is obviously desirable to give warning of the change in advance, in order to obviate its infringement.

The special case to which I now beg leave to direct the attention of your excellency is that of Mr. Allardt, now resident in Leipsic. He has published a pamphlet and an occasional newspaper on the subject of the State of Michigan. I inclose the pamphlet and specimens of those papers for your exact information, and I cannot but agree with the observation of your excellency, that the simple publication of information is not an offense or a breach of German law. So far as I know, it is not charged against Mr. Allardt that he has ever attempted to persuade any person to emigrate to America.

I beg leave further to add, that, as far as Mr. Allardt is known to this legation, he is held to be a man of truth and honor, and every way worthy of esteem. Yet he has been expelled and a respite of but one week allowed him for his preparations.

I inclose the papers in his case, with the request, first, that a delay may be granted him until the question of his expulsion may receive further consideration; and, next, I would ask permission for him to continue to reside in the German Empire, obeying its laws, which, so far as he is informed, he has not violated.

I gladly avail myself of the occasion to renew to your excellency the assurance of my most distinguished consideration.


P. S. Dr. Bluntschli, in section 384, of the second edition of his “Modernes Völkerrecht,” fully confirms the opinion of Heffter.

G. B.