No. 130.
Mr. Davis to Mr. Everett.

No. 280.]

Sir: With reference to your dispatch No 313, of the 28th ultimo, requesting information as to the regulations concerning pauper emigrants landing in this country, I have to inclose herewith a copy of a communication which I have received from the secretary of the board of commissioners of emigration at New York, in response to my inquiries on behalf of your legation. It is thought that the letter in question will furnish you with all the information you desire.

I am, &c.,

Acting Secretary.
[Inclosure in No. 280.]

Mr. Jackson to Mr. Davis.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 12th instant, and in reply to state that no formal regulations have been adopted by the board of commissioners of emigration in relation to the prevention of the landing of pauper emigrants, the action of the board being governed by the provisions of section 2 of the act of Congress to regulate immigration, of which a copy is inclosed.

[Page 199]

Where it is apparent, by reason of insanity or other permanent disability, that an emigrant is unable to care for himself or herself, such persons are detained on board the vessel and are prohibited from landing. But in cases where, from attending circumstances, emigrants arriving are thought likely to become a public charge, they are transferred from the vessel to the landing depot and their cases are investigated by the commissioners, each case being determined on its own merits.

Where such emigrants have relatives or friends resident in this country, they are promptly communicated with, and if they can show that they are willing and able to provide for the emigrants, such are permitted to depart. If the contrary, or that it appears, in the judgment of the commissioners, that immigrants of this class are likely to become a charge on the community, they are either returned to the vessel or detained at the Emigrant Refuge until the sailing day of the vessel, when they are placed on board by the officers of the Commission, and are returned to the port from whence they came, at the expense of the steamship company that brought them. The courts of this State have recently decided that it is not necessary to make the examination of the emigrants on board the vessel, and that it may be made at the emigrant landing depot, the emigrants being considered still in the custody and under the jurisdiction of the commissioners, and their right to prevent such emigrants from landing, and to return them to the vessel, being unimpaired.

I am. sir, &c.,

[Section 2.]

That the Secretary of the Treasury is hereby charged with the duty of executing the provisions of this act, and with supervision over the business of immigration to the United States, and for that purpose he shall have power to enter into contracts with such State commission, board, or officers as may be designated for that purpose by the governor of any State to take charge of the local affairs of immigration in the ports within said State, and to provide for the support and relief of such immigrants therein landing as may fall into distress or need public aid, under the rules and regulations to be prescribed by said secretary; and it shall be the duty of such State commission, board, or officers so designated to examine into the condition of passengers arriving at the ports within such State in any ship or vessel, and for that purpose all or any of such commissioners or officers, or such person or persons as they shall appoint, shall be authorized to go on board of and through any such ship or vessel; and if on such examination there shall be found among such passengers any convict, lunatic, idiot, or any person unable to take care of himself or herself without becoming a public charge, they shall report the same in writing to the collector of such port, and such persons shall not be permitted to land.