No. 688.
Mr. Fish to Mr. Blaine.

No. 387.]

Sir: Referring to my No. 386, I have the honor to inclose herewith an extract from the Journal de Genève of to-day, with a translation thereof, in which the action of the commune of Böttstein in sending its prostitutes to the United States is justified; the United States is regarded as the reformatory of Europe and compared with England’s penal settlements.

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The writer admits the frequency with which Swiss communes send us their infirm and helpless, and he maintains that we should not complain of their so doing; he claims that Switzerland is no worse than other countries in this respect, and alleges that the Swiss emigrants do not furnish us with a greater proportion of objectionable immigrants than other countries, and, in the particular case in question, thinks too much attention is being paid to it, “as it is not stated that the women were incapable of work.”

I invite your special attention to the article in question as emanating from Berne, and from the correspondent of one of the most influential newspapers in this country.

When I asked you to telegraph me in case the women were returned to Böttstein, I did not suppose that everybody in this country would be pleased, but I certainly did not suppose that a respectable newspaper would be found defending the action of the communal council in sending them to America.

The article is in itself an evidence of the debasing tendency of assisted emigration, as well as an admission that we are being used as a Botany Bay for the benefit of Swiss communes.

* * * * * * *

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 387.—Extract from the Journal de Genève.—Translation.]

[Special correspondence of the Journal de Genève.]

Berne, April 7.—Certainly one cannot sufficiently condemn those communes, which, to rid themselves of certain of their helpless citizens, unable to gain their livelihood in Switzerland on account of their physical infirmities, furnish them with the necessary means for transporting them to America, or elsewhere, for they thus expose these unfortunate beings to suffering, and unload the communal obligations upon our countrymen abroad.

Such cases are not rare, and those who have inhabited the large cities of the United States are well aware of it; moreover the American authorities have sometimes had to be severe with such cases. Nevertheless, is there not too much noise being made over the case of these two women of loose character, sent by the commune of Böttstein, canton of Argovie, and still more so since it is not stated that they were incapable of work? In very many cases the reformation is impossible in the native country, audit can only be attained by emigration; for example, the English have attained none but satisfactory results by deportation, which is after all nothing but a compulsory emigration.

Of late, and especially in the discussion of the law concerning emigration agencies, Switzerland has been much talked of, but it would be a mistake to suppose that Switzerland contributes a larger contingent of persons whose past is not irreproachable than other countries to the American immigration. As to pecuniary resources, the Swiss emigrants certainly have more than the Irish, and generally as much as the Germans, but it is true that the Irish land in a country where they know the language, and that they at once find numerous country people anxious to assist the newcomers in every manner, and that with an excellent feeling of unity which is astonishing to find.

No doubt the United States have a hundred reasons for not wishing that we should send them infirm persons and those destitute of means, but as that country profits largely from the honest emigration of the industrious and of those in easy circumstances, it cannot complain if Europe at the same time sends it some elements of more or less equivocal character, which is also the case as to other countries, thanks to the facilities of communication. Moreover, if some regretable facts have happened, the immigration of which America has reason to complain has never been created into a system in Switzerland.