to Mr. Blaine.
Berne, March 25, 1881. (Received April 11.)
Sir: Referring to my Nos. 371,372, and 373, I have now the honor to inform you that I have received from Consul Mason, at Basle, an affidavit of Mr. Henry Hofacker, a native-born citizen of the United States, employed as clerk of the consulate at Basle, respecting the shipment of Fridolina Vögelin and Theresa Hauser to New York by the communal authorities at Böttstein, in the canton of Argovie, setting forth the circumstances of the shipment and the action of the communal council and agents engaged in this case of “assisted” emigration from the canton of Argovie.
Mr. Hofacker’s statements I fully believe, and have every reason to consider him a most trustworthy and truthful man. It appears from his affidavit that Frei, the emigration agent at Klingnau, stated that he knew of no insane girl having been recently transported to the United States from Böttstein.
It was owing to similar information sent me by Consul Mason (see inclosure 4 to my No. 372) that I added to my telegram: “Disregard 371.”
The fact that the investigation concerning the alleged shipment of the girl mentioned in the article in the Bund should reveal the shipment of two prostitutes from the same village (having but 420 inhabitants in [Page 1124]1870) is a striking proof of the frequency of improper emigrants being assisted by the communes of that canton to emigrate to the United States, without the assistance of whom these emigrants could never reach New York. It will be remembered that a similar circumstance attended the case of Daniel Senn, an inmate of the poor-house at Basle, who was not sent owing to the opposition of the legation, where the New York officials found a woman on board of the steamer they searched who was described by the New York papers as combining the elements of pauperism, crime, and insanity, whose passage was paid by the authorities of her commune in the canton of Basle, and she was landed on our shores with the munificent sum of $2.83 as her share of the commune property, or, as the Federal Council expressed it in 1855, “as an indemnity for the non-enjoyment of their commune privileges.” Similar cases among the assisted emigration from this country are and have been of too frequent occurrence to make it desirable for the United States to longer extend to it “the distinction in favor of Swiss emigrants in the tide of emigration” requested for it by the Swiss Government in 1855. The present case shows that the Swiss tributaries of that tide contain elements of pollution and filth that no government should “distinguish” except by exclusion and condemnation.
If those women are landed in the United States, there will be hundreds of the same class who will follow in the same manner. If they are sent back, the announcement of their return would serve to check some of the latter from being forwarded. I therefore respectfully suggest that the legation should be informed by telegraph whether they are allowed to land at New York or whether, as in the case of the Danish convicts, they are sent back by the vessel bringing them.
I have requested Consul Mason to procure, if possible, the copies of the minutes of the town meeting at Böttstein at which their shipment was decided upon, of the “Transportbefehl” under which the police arrested them, and the affidavits or statements of other parties as to the character and antecedents of the women.
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I have, &c.,