to Mr. Blaine.
Berne, March 23, 1881. (Received April 8.)
Sir: Referring to my No. 371, I have the honor to inclose herewith copies of a correspondence with the consulate at Basle, respecting the shipment to the United States, by the commune of Böttstein, canton of Argovie, of two notorious prostitutes, Fridolina Vögelin, aged seventeen, and Theresa Hauser, for the purpose of getting rid of two shameless and burthensome characters.[Page 1121]
As the Suevia will not be due at New York until the end of this week, I defer following Consul Mason’s suggestion of telegraphing you in regard to this shipment until I can ascertain whether the case reported in the Bund was well founded, and whether the person therein referred to is on board the Suevia. The delay will also enable the consul to furnish more ample details respecting the shipment of the two women above named.
I have the firm belief that the return of these women at the cost of the commune sending them would prove the most effectual method of stopping the tendency of the communes of the canton of Argovie to get rid of their worthless and helpless citizens at the expense of the taxpayers of the United States.
The employment of a detective at Basle would, in my opinion, reveal the fact that hardly a ship-load of emigrants is forwarded by the emigration agencies of that city that has not a number of emigrants who, being public burdens or objectionable characters over here, are furnished the means of emigrating to the United States by those whose duty it is to support or take charge of them here. The cost of employing a detective for this purpose would be more than repaid to the United States, in the prevention of the increase of our public burdens, which assisted emigration from the canton of Argovie now creates. I most strongly recommend such a course, if we wish to break up this long-continued and. I fear, increasing abuse.
A couple of thousand dollars properly employed in detecting such cases, and the prompt return of the objectionable emigrants, would, I believe, teach the communes that the business was not a profitable one, and such an appeal to their pockets is the only one they are likely to heed. It is more than probable that a similar investigation at the other centers of emigration in Europe would disclose similar cases, but I doubt whether in such proportions as at Basle.
I shall await further information from Consul Mason before bringing these cases to the notice of the Swiss Government, as the delay will not materially affect the complaint, and it is now too late for any action of the Federal Council to prevent the emigrants from sailing. Moreover, there is but little to be gained by discussion of the question, in view of the manner in which previous similar complaints have been dealt with by this government. I shall consider carefully the expediency of such a complaint and be guided by the developments of Consul Mason’s report.
I have sent by this mail copies of the inclosed correspondence to the collector of the port of New York.
I have, &c.,