No. 671.
Mr. Fish to Mr. Evarts.

No. 332.]

Sir: Referring to my dispatches numbered respectively 330 and 331, I have the honor to inclose herewith an extract from the Schweizerische [Page 1110]Auswanderungs Zeitung, of January 22, respecting the emigration of Heinrich Ruegger. It contains a statement from one of the guardians of the poor, who assisted Ruegger to emigrate, and who claims that the accusation of “shoving him off,” on the part of the commune, is unwarranted, because Ruegger repeatedly asked for assistance to emigrate, which was refused him by the poor-board repeatedly, “because they could not conceal the fact that the emigrant would no more find his fortune in the New World than he had in the Old, And this was not due to Ruegger’s shortsightedness, which in no way prevents him from performing agricultural labor, but on account of his aversion to labor and his dissolute life.” He also accuses Ruegger of having been an inmate of a forced labor establishment, and of having been guilty of numerous frauds or swindlings which merited punishment. He states in extenuation of the action of the people and officials of Rudolfingen that they assisted Ruegger to emigrate from motives of compassion!

This explanation appears to be satisfactory to the editor of the newspaper; it can hardly, however, prove so to the tax-payers in Ohio who have to provide for Ruegger’s support.

The explanation, coming as it does from a clergyman and one of the overseers of the poor, furnishes us with a striking illustration of the convenience made of our country as a receptacle for the paupers of very many of the Swiss communes. Its acceptance as satisfactory by the editor represents, in my opinion, the manner in which it would be viewed by a large portion of the press and of the people of this country.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 332.—Translation.]

Extract from the Swiss Emigration Gazette, Berne, January 22, 1881.


In our last number, under the head of a “few specimens,” from J., our New York correspondent, we mentioned the case of Heinrich R—, of Rudolfingen, in the canton of Zurich, complaining of R—’s helplessness, and holding the commune answerable for him and demanding the means for his return.

Mr. Simmler, the pastor in Trüllikon, the head of the committee of the poor-board having charge of Heinrich R—, requests us to publish the following letter:

“In No. 3 of your valued paper, under the heading ‘Unscrupulousness in the Old Country,’ you published a statement relating to the experience of a certain Heinrich R—, an emigrant from Rudolfingen, canton of Zurich, in which you accuse the communal authorities of being guilty of ‘a shoving off by the commune,’ much in the nature of a ‘banishment.’ This serious accusation is altogether unwarranted, and compels the undersigned to make a correction concerning the facts.

“In the first place, it should be noted that neither the commune authority of Rudolfingen nor the poor-board of that place instigated R—’s emigration. On the contrary, they repeatedly refused assistance for this purpose, because they could not conceal the fact that the emigrant would no more find his ‘fortune’ in the new world than he had in the old. And this was not because of R—’s, shortsightedness, which in no way prevents him from doing agricultural labor, but on account of his aversion to labor and his dissolute life. Among the establishments in which your correspondent mentions R—as having been, he neglected to mention a forced-labor establishment. Indeed, the aforementioned R—merited altogether another sort of treatment on account of his many swindles committed during his peddling.

“If, however, officials and persons in private life finally gave a helping hand to the unceasing requests to assist R— to emigrate, it was evidently out of commiseration. If this was misplaced, it does not, however, deserve censure. In the case of persons like R—, ‘fortune’ is to to be found only in that Utopia which unfortunately is still undiscovered.

“Here once more we find the old story repeated again to us—that as rule the worth-loss fellows of the old country, because in America the luxuries of life do not drop [Page 1111]into their mouths ready cooked to their taste, as they had expected, instead of working, raise the customary cry of complaint. For this reason, therefore, not only should those intending to emigrate turn a deaf ear to such stories, but the newspaper writers should sift such tales before giving them to the press as true.”

In the same paper was also an inquiry from C— R—, from Wölfiswyl, at present in Nebraska, asking why 21 francs had to be paid for him, to which a satisfactory answer is likewise furnished in the proceedings of the High Swiss Federal Council of March 5 and May 21 last.

C— R— emigrated to America in December, 1879, of his own free will, and at his urgent solicitation received from his native commune assistance amounting to 525 francs. In February, 1880, a letter was received by the government of the canton of Argovie, in which Mr. John Jenny, in Lincoln, Nebraska, demanded on account of C— R— a sum of $200, and in case of refusal threatening that the latter should be sent back at the cost of his commune. Thereupon the government of Argovie made an official investigation. It appears from the latter that C— R—’s circumstances are not so miserable, and that he himself would oppose being sent back.

For the requisite investigation, including postages, the commune was ordered to pay the costs, amounting to 21 francs.