No. 696.
Mr. Fish to Mr. Blaine.

No. 403.]

Sir: Having noticed in the New York Evening Telegram of the 5th ultimo a letter from Mr. John Feierabend to the superintendent of Castle Garden respecting the case of Friedrich Kienast, of Riesbach, canton Zurich, who emigrated to the United States in June, 1880, and whom Mr. Feierabend described as a “notorious vagrant,” sent by the municipality of Riesbach on the ground that he did not want to work, I directed the vice-consul at Zurich to inquire into the circumstances of Kienast’s emigration.

I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy and translation of the reply of the commune council to Mr. Syz.

It appears that this assisted emigrant is able-bodied, but disinclined to work, and consequently had been two years in a compulsory labor establishment, and that he was afterwards employed as a scavenger. In 1879 he inherited a small fortune, which was placed in the custody of a guardian, and after he had been assisted several times he applied, in May last, to have the means to emigrate to the United States. The commune council granted his request, being of opinion “that it might be useful to him if he should live at a place where he would have to work,” and furnished him out of his own property 420 francs for the journey to Colorado, and 400 francs in cash on his arrival in America. It is stated in this letter that Kienast had recommendations to natives of Zurich in Denver City, but, as is customary in such cases, the names of the parties are not given. The balance of his property, amounting to about 500 francs, remains in the hands of the guardian at his native place.

My dispatch No. 218* will show you what difficulties Kienast might expect to encounter should he reform his ways, become a citzen of the United States, and seek to recover those 500 francs. Unfortunately, this trial of the United States as a reformatory for European delinquents has not thus far been attended with success, as the commune council state that Kienast has squandered his money in loitering about New York, a statement which is corroborated by the reported comments of the superintendent of Castle Garden respecting the man:

When lie returned from the West he threw himself on our hands. The labor-bureau manager obtained him several situations where he might have earned a fair livelihood, but he was so outrageously lazy that no employer would keep him more than a few days.

I respectfully suggest that the facts concerning Kienast’s emigration be made known to the State board of charities of New York, with the recommendation that he be sent back, if possible, to Riesbach.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 403.—Translation.]

Commune council of Riesbach to Mr. Syz, May 2, 1881.

To the Consulate of the United States in Zurich:

Sir: In reply to your inquiry of the 25th April respecting Friedrich Kienast, who emigrated to America (June 30, 1880,) we have the honor to inform you as follows:

Kienast is an able-bodied man, but has an aversion to work, on account of which [Page 1157]he was confined for two years in the forced-labor establishment at Utikon, the director of which assured us at the time of his discharge that he could work very well when he was so disposed, but that it did not at all suit him so to do, and that he tried in every manner to avoid having to work, at one time making believe that he was stupid, at another that he was ill, in order not to be compelled to work; and on that account we beg you, in your report to America, to mention the fact that he is neither ill nor stupid, but pretends to be so. From the time of his discharge from the forced-labor establishment (middle of May, 1879) to the end of May, 1880, he has worked here as a scavenger, and at times very satisfactorily; at times again he shammed illness, and on that account had to be assisted from time to time. In 1879 a small inheritance fell to his lot, and that was a source of evil to him, inasmuch as he imagined that he was no longer obliged to work. At the end of May, 1880, he, of his own accord, gave up his position of scavenger, and then himself presented the proposition of emigrating to America, and the commune council was of opinion that that might be useful to him if he should live at a place where he would have to work.

Out of his own little property the cost of the journey to Colorado was allowed to him, amounting to 420 francs, besides which 400 francs cash were paid him upon his arrival in America, apart from his outfit. He also had some recommendations to natives of Zurich in Denver City; but instead of going there and seeking work, Kienast appears to have loafed about New York. Kienast has not yet directly addressed the commune council from America.

His property and guardianship here amount to about 500 francs now.

Informing you of these facts, we remain, very respectfully,

In the name of the commune council,

The president:

The town clerk: