to Mr. Frelinghuysen.
London, June 30, 1883. (Received July 10.)
Sir: Referring to your instruction No. 596, of the 25th of May last, in relation to the action of Her Majesty’s Government in assisting the emigration of inhabitants of Ireland to the United States, in reply I have the honor to state that my attention had been naturally already drawn to the subject, but that I concluded upon reflection that there would be great difficulty herein ascertaining the facts and identifying the persons sent out, and that the laws already existing in the United States making it a penal offense to import paupers would suffice to check and remedy the evil. The class whom the Government proposed to assist were, as I had always heard and believe, to be from that one called the “congested districts” in Ireland, and were persons able and willing to work, but prevented from maintaining themselves by the unfavorable conditions of soil, climate and superabundant population. They were [Page 437] to be precisely such immigrants as the United States had always welcomed when they came, and even encouraged to come, and great numbers of whom had been aided in coming by their relatives and friends in America, who had remitted money for the purpose. I had at one time gone so far as even to make the draft of a note of remonstrance to Lord Granville, but reflecting that I had no more stable grounds to go on than the telegraphic reports to the newspapers, I thought it wiser to wait for definite instructions from the President.
In the meanwhile, however, in accordance with your directions, I took the first occasion of speaking with Lord Granville on the subject, telling him that the exportation of paupers would be naturally resented by the people and Government of the United States, and that I should address a private note to him calling for information. This I accordingly did, and in reply received an unofficial note from him conveying a statement from Lord Spencer, the highest and most trustworthy authority, to the following effect:
We have had no desire to send emigrants to the United States; hut many wished it, and we put upon them the check of requiring those asking to go there to show letters from relatives and friends indicating that they would be helped to find work.
This was carried out in no illusory way.
Remember, too, that families have been selected with a view of their being able to support themselves. As we want the scheme to suceed, it is against our policy to send out those who would fail and become paupers.
About 11,000 persons have been, aided to emigrate to the United States, or have been approved of as emigrants to that country.
Very few can properly be called paupers. In some cases persons in receipt of relief in workhouses have been sent out with other emigrants, but they are a very small proportion of the whole number selected.
In some few instances the aged father or mother of the emigrant has been allowed to accompany the family, but only when there is reason to believe that the working members of the family are sufficient in number to maintain by their labor the aged persons referred to, as well as the younger children.
The practice is to give one pound for each adult, and ten shillings for each child over one year of age, as an allowance on landing; but in consequence of a report received by the local Government board on the subject of the demand for labor in the United States, instructions have been given to the emigration committee to take care that in determining upon the destinations of persons who may be selected for emigration under the provisions of the twentieth section of the “arrears of rent” (Ireland) act, the emigrants are not allowed to proceed to the United States unless they desire to join friends or relatives there and unless they can show that their friends or relatives are in a position to put them in the way of procuring employment and can help them to maintain themselves until they obtain such employment. * * *
I also addressed a note to Mr. Sidney Buxton, M. P., agent for the so-called “Tuke fund,” and received from him the following reply to my questions:
Only one family (out of about eight hundred whom Mr. Tuke’s fund is sending) came from the workhouse. This family was going straight to the man’s father in Wisconsin. They went by the first ship, and most satisfactory letters have been received from them.
No families were sent to the States who could not produce letters from some near male relative out there promising them a welcome and help in getting work when they should arrive.
Mr. Buxton always saw the letters, so as to be sure they were of recent date and were not forged. Those people who had no friends in the States were sent to Canada, if they were suitable and willing to go. In Canada they will be met and looked after by the agent and friends of our committee.
The assistance given (in addition to the free passage) was a suit of clothes usually for every member of the family, and a sum of money (varying from £8 to £1 for a single person) to be handed to the head of each family on landing. The amount was calculated according to the length of the journey, the number in the family, ages, &c.
I may add to this statement, written on behalf of Mr. Buxton, that a late article by him, contributed to the Fortnightly, gives a detailed account of these proceedings.[Page 438]
I inclose, as containing additional information calculated to throw some light on the matter, a letter of Mr. J. H. Tuke, reprinted from the Times of the 15th of June, instant. * * *
I shall transmit further facts in relation to this subject as soon as I shall be able to obtain them.
I think I may, in conclusion, express my conviction that nothing could be farther from the wish of Her Majesty’s Government than to promote or connive at the exportation of paupers to the United States, or to do anything that would be so surely and properly offensive to the Government at Washington.
I have, &c.,