No. 680.
Mr. Fish to Mr. Blaine.

No. 373.]

Sir: After mailing my No. 372 to you and a letter to the collector at New York, and after the outgoing mail had left, I received from Consul Mason a private letter in which he inclosed me a copy of his No. 31 of this date to the Department. The facts therein stated made me decide to telegraph you concerning the shipment of the prostitutes on board the Suevia, as follows:

Commune Böttstein, Argovie, paid passage of Fridolina Vögelin, seventeen; Theresa Hauser, older; notorious prostitutes, Suevia; sixteenth Havre.

Particulars mailed. Disregard 371.

I have addressed a note to this government requesting the return of the women on the ground of their immoral character, and also of their destitute condition. Should they be, by some defect in our law, or the negligence of our authorities at New York, allowed to lend, such a request might possibly have some effect, but I see but slight grounds to hope that this government will take any decided and effectual measures to break up the large assisted emigration from the canton of Argovie, of which the present case is a specimen, and I fear by no means an exceptional one.

I respectfully ask your approval of my action in telegraphing you and in addressing this government.

In view of the method of discussion of previous cases of a similar nature by this government it is most desirable that the women should be returned as promptly as possible, and for a like reason the speedy announcement of their return would have a most beneficial effect on emigration from Switzerland, which is assuming enormous proportions. Unless we employ means to counteract the action of the communes we are, in the absence of efficient congressional legislation, bound to receive a large number of objectionable emigrants who could never reach the United States but for the assistance of the authorities.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 373.]

Mr. Fish to Mr. Droz.

The undersigned, chargé d’affaires of the United States of America, has the honor to inform his excellency Mr. Droz, President of the Swiss Confederation, and through [Page 1123] his excellency the high federal council, that this legation is informed that the communal council of Böttstein, in the canton of Argovie, about the 1st of March instant, applied to an emigration agent by the name of Frei, at Klingnau, in Argovie, to secure transportation to New York for two women, viz, Fridolina Vögelin, aged seventeen, and Theresa Hauser, somewhat older, two notorious and depraved prostitutes, living by their shameless calling, who are reported to have been frequently arrested in other communes and cantons and returned by the police to Böttstein on account of their dissolute and immoral life.

The legation is further informed that the said commune council through the agency of Frei contributed 390 francs for the passage of these women to New York, 350 francs of which was paid to Rudolf Werdenberg, an emigration agent at Basle, who furnished them tickets from Basle to New York, and that the remaining 40 francs was divided between the two women, who are now on board the Suevia, which sailed from Havre on the 16th of March.

The law of the United States of 3d March, 1875, as published in Feuille Fédérale Suisse, II, 661, of that year, sufficiently explains the views of the United States respecting such shipments.

Should these women evade the vigilance of the authorities at New York, they must, if of the character described, inevitably augment the number of prostitutes in the United States. Were they of stainless character, their destitute condition would, with almost equal certainty, consign them to the public charity there.

The undersigned therefore entertains the hope that the high federal council will cause these women to be returned to Switzerland, and that in the future efficient means may be taken to prevent the communes from assisting persons to emigrate who must, of necessity, become burdens to the public charity, or otherwise objectionable, upon their arrival in the United States.

While reserving to his government the further discussion of this subject, the undersigned avails himself of this occasion to renew to his excellency Mr. Droz, President of the Swiss Confederation, and to the high federal council, the assurances of his most distinguished consideration.