Mr. de Claparède to Mr. Blaine.


Sir: My Government has recently been informed that the Commissioners of Immigration at Castle Garden have refused to permit the landing of five Swiss citizens, who, it is supposed, were considered as emigrants engaged by contract, in violation of the provisions of the United States laws of February 26, 1885, and of February 23, 1887. The names of but three of those immigrants are known to my Government. They are: Albert Bornhauser, of Weinfelden, Thurgovia; Jacob Fricker, of Läufelfingen, Bâle; Jacob Grieder, of Rennenberg, Bâle.

These three persons were sent back by the Gascogne, in the month of April last. The two other immigrants, whose names are not known, were on board of the same steamer, and had been sent by Zwilchenbart’s agency at Bâle.

The Swiss Federal Council, which is always desirous of securing the strictest enforcement of the legal provisions in force in Switzerland relative to emigration, and particularly of those relating to the operations of emigration agencies, has instructed me to have recourse to your kind mediation, Mr. Secretary of State, for the obtainment of as full information as possible with regard to the circumstances which caused the five emigrants in question to be sent back to Europe. In bringing this desire of my Government to your notice, I have the honor to inform you that the Federal law of March 22, 1888, relative to the operations of emigration agencies, provides in article 11, paragraph 4, that emigration agencies shall not (under the penalties provided in that law) ship to foreign countries any persons who are not allowed to enter there by the laws in force in those countries. It is therefore important for my Government to know, in all cases that have arisen or that may arise hereafter, the exact reasons that have occasioned the non-admission of a Swiss emigrant, to the end that the Swiss Federal Council may be able to take such measures as may be called for by the law and the circumstances against those emigration agencies that have violated the aforesaid legal provisions.

I should consequently be very much obliged to you, Mr. Secretary of State, if you would be pleased to apply to the competent American authorities not only for information concerning the five immigrants above [Page 702] referred to, but also for such as may be obtained hereafter, in case other Swiss emigrants shall not be permitted to land in the United States. Perhaps, moreover, you will think as I do, that it would be to the interest of the Castle Garden Commissioners, as well as to that of immigrants to whose admission there might be objections, for the Swiss consul at New York to be informed of the particular case before it should be decided to send the objectionable parties home, so that he might be enabled to complete the inquiry as to the responsibility of the emigration agencies established in Switzerland, and to aid his countrymen with his advice and good offices, as is done by the representatives of foreign societies, who are admitted within the inclosure at Castle Garden.

Hoping to be favored with a reply, I beg, etc.,

Alfred de Claparède.