No. 514.
Mr. Cramer to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 33.]

Sir: Referring to my note to the high Federal Council of the 14th of last November (a copy of which I transmitted to you with my dispatch No. 18, of the 16th of the same month, and which you had been pleased to approve in your No. 16, of December 6 ultimo) in relation to the shipment to New York by the town authorities of Woelflinswyl, canton of Aargau, of a certain Conrad Hort, a pauper and a drunkard, I have now the honor to inform you that this legation received a note from said high Federal Council, dated January 16 (a copy of which, with a translation thereof, is herewith inclosed), in reply to my note of November 14 last, informing me that an investigation had been made into this matter, the result of which is alleged to be that said Hort is not such a bad character as stated in my note, and that the town authorities of Woelflinswyl did not ship him to New York, though they confess that they had agreed to give him 200 francs for the purpose of emigration. In support of the vindication (?) of said town authorities voluminous documents used in the investigation were submitted to my inspection.

In order to show that this legation has not acted unadvisedly in this matter, nor depended solely upon newspaper reports, I take the liberty to make the following observations: (1) According to the statements of Consul Byers, of Zurich, in his letter to this legation of November 11 last (a copy of which was transmitted to you in my dispatch No. 18), said town authorities admitted that they “did send this man to America in violation of the laws of Switzerland and of the United States;” and that they “had shipped numerous other persons to the United States in order to get rid of them.” During the investigation they denied the admissions they had made to Consul Byers. The plain inference is that they have told untruths either to Consul Byers or to the cantonal authorities making the investigation. (2) That the admissions they have made in this matter to Consul Byers are true is evident from a letter addressed to this legation by a Mr. Naef, editor of the Zo-finger Tagblatt, near Woelflinswyl, in which he, from personal knowledge, confirms the statements of Consul Byers.* * *

I do not know that the note of the Federal Council concerning this matter needs a reply.

I am, &c.,

[Page 807]
[Inclosure in No. 33.—Translation.]

Federal Council to Mr. Cramer.

With the note of November 14, 1882, the legation of the United States of America communicated to the Federal Council that it had come to its knowledge that the commune council of Woelflinswyl, canton of Aargau, had shipped, through the agency of Viucenz Ursprung, of Herznach, subagent of the emigration Arm of Schnee-beli & Co., at Basel, a citizen without means, named Conrad Hort, who was regarded as a drunkard and weak-minded. The legation perceives in the action of the commune authorities of Woelflinswyl and of the subagent, Ursprung, a violation of the laws of Switzerland and of the United States, and desires that the Federal Council should cause the guilty parties to be punished, and especially the withdrawal of the concession of the emigration agent, Ursprung.

The Federal Council did not fail to cause an investigation to be made into this matter, and has now the honor to transmit herewith the reports relating thereto. From these it will be seen that Hort is neither weak-minded nor a drunkard, and that he himself made the contract for his journey with the emigration ageut, and that therefore he was not shipped by the commune authorities. It is true that the latter had agreed to pay him 200 francs for the purpose of emigration, but, not taking this into account, he had never asked for assistance, and has never received any. It is further declared that Hort was the manager of a bakery, and that he gained his support during ten or eleven years as a baker’s journeyman, among other people, which could not have been the case if he had been weak-minded.

Supported by this report of the cantonal authorities of Aargau, the Federal Council has to decline to cause the punishment of the commune authorities of Woelflinswyl or to interfere with the agency of Schneebeli & Co., at Basel.

The Federal Council is willing to assist the authorities of the United States in their endeavors to prevent peisons from emigrating whom the laws of the United States prohibit from landing, and for this purpose said Council has caused the introduction of regulations into the federal laws of December 24, 1880, relating to the operation of emigration agencies (Art. 10, No. 4); but it is of opinion, and the legation will be convinced by the inclosed reports, that the measures proposed by the legation in this case can only be adopted upon an official examination, and not by reports of newspapers.

The Federal Council avails, &c.,

    President of the Confederation.
    Chancellor of the Confederation.