No. 12.
Mr. Fish to Mr. Frelinghuysen

No. 17.]

Sir: The sending back of destitute Russian emigrants is attracting attention, and if followed by the return of considerable numbers of those of other nationalities, will serve to check the abuses now being carried on. The weak points in the present system of returning objectionable emigrants are that there is a lack of uniformity in its operation, and that the expense is borne by the American public, either in the way of taxes or by voluntary contributions.

The inclosed extract from the “Étoile Belge” of this morning gives an account of the return of forty destitute Russian Israelites by the Pennland. In it there is a tacit reproach to America for not keeping them, while the refusal of the Russian consul at Antwerp to recognize them as Russians, on the ground of having lost their nationality by emigrating without permission, is described as “cruelly correct.” The tacit reproach to the United States is thoroughly in accord with the prevalent European sentiment that anything or anybody is good enough for America. The article in the “Étoile Belge” is taken from the “Précurseur”, of Antwerp, and is reproduced in the “Independence Belge” of this morning without the invidious comments of the original article.

The Antwerp Israelite association deserves credit for aiding their coreligionists in proceeding towards their native land. It remains to be seen whether the Russian officials will permit them to return to their native country; and this question may give rise to a controversy between Germany and Russia which will furnish at least one of the European powers an opportunity of testing the advantages derived from having foreign paupers cast upon its territory.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 17.—Extract from the Étoile Belge, July 31, 1882.—Translation.]

Some forty Russian Israelites arrived yesterday at Antwerp on the Pennland, of the Red Star Line. These unfortunate people, driven from their country by the cruelties of persecution, sought a refuge on the hospitable soil of the New World, but, totally destitute, they found it impossible to establish themselves.

It is in this condition that America sends them back to us.

The Russian consul at Antwerp states that his country people are totally without means of existence, and he adds conscientiously that having emigrated from Russia to America without permission of the Russian Government (emigration will go on nevertheless!), they have lost their Russian nationality, and consequently he has nothing to do with them. He therefore addresses them a cruelly correct nescio vos.

The exiles were, by the assistance of the Israelite association of Antwerp, lodged at No. 14 Canal St. Jean, and yesterday morning were shipped to Cologne, thence to be forwarded to the Russian frontier.—[From the Précurseur of Antwerp.]