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himself, in the second number of the Amerikanischen Ansichten, a respectable German paper lately begun in Philadelphia, were sent to the press by M. de Gagern, without having been designed by the author himself for publication.
The instructions consist of twenty-seven articles, of which the first seems to indicate, on the part of the gentlemen concerned in this mission, a tolerably exalted opinion of its importance.
§ 1. You shall and will devote yourself to the service of the human race, and of your poor countrymen, whom want or the surplus population drives from Germany. And if destiny has precluded you from exerting in other ways a beneficial influence on the fortunes of the nations, your spirit may find its compensation in this.'
The instructions proceed to state, that the fortunes of the German and Swiss emigrants to America are but imperfectly known at home, and that many have attempted to call the attention of the German public to the subject. The mission of M. de Fürstenwärther is intended to clear up these doubts, and he is directed to begin his inquiries in the ports of the Netherlands, examining into the facilities for embarkation and the nature of the passage, and the situation in which the emigrant, particularly the poor emigrant, finds himself on landing. This last is a favourite topic of declamation with those of the German writers, who are employed by the governments to write down emigration, and to vilify America, in order more effectually to dishearten the emigrants. We have seen the most moving, and we may add, the most exaggerated accounts of the treatment of the redemptioners in this country, who are stated by these writers to be sold as slaves in the American markets. The ninth article of M. de Gagern's instructions indicates a more correct conception of the state of the case.
§ 9. It has been said, that on the landing of emigrants without means, contracts of service are formed, by which the American pays the expenses of the passage, and remunerates himself by a term of years of service. In this there is no injustice, and it seems in fact necessary. But are the conditions on both sides, in general, observed?' &c.
The Rev. Mr. Weems, in his Life of Washington, informs us, that among the methods which the English officers made
use of to inspire their Hessian mercenaries with valour, it was usual to tell them that the Americans were savages, and made a rule of eating ther prisoners. A relic of some such lurking fear seems to have dictated the 18th paragraph of these instructions, What are the relations of the German planter with the savages?'
The closing article in the instructions is thus conceived.
6 § 27. As there is throughout nothing secret in your instructions, you are at liberty to show them and appeal to them on all occasions. You speak in the name of a society of respectable and philanthropic Germans, and upon objects, which, if duly explained, must every where meet with open doors. We are resolved no longer to witness the scenes of suffering, which this year has produced, nor this perplexity of notions and plans. We wish to extend a helping hand to all, and to promete, with all our activity, the good of both hemispheres.'
This document being subscribed by M. de Gagern, as the minister plenipotentiary of the king of the Netherlands to the German diet, and fortified as well with the Dutch seal of state, as the private arms of the worthy plenipotentiary, may seem to deserve the formal notice we have thus taken of it.
M. de Fürstenwärther's first letter is dated Amsterdam, July 3, 1817. He thus expresses himself with regard to the condition of the emigrants in the Dutch ports.
I have found the misery of the greater part of the emigrants greater, and the condition of all more forlorn and helpless, than I could have imagined. If our governments do not feel their obligation to do any thing to relieve it, humanity and the honour of the German name call upon you, to do something forthwith to relieve the present distress; and if further emigration is per mitted in future, to devise some measures for its better regulation. my journey hither, Lencountered whole troops of returning families, who, deprived of every thing, were begging their way back. At Cologne the government [the Prussian] had made provision that a great number should be stopped, taken care of, and sent back to their homes. Inconceivably great however is the number of those unhappy persons in Holland, where all the towns are overflowing with them.
The Swiss emigrants in general, are best off Their government concerns itself more for them. They do not lose their citizenship at home, as the Würtembergers do; who are obliged to make a formal renunciation of it in the passport, which they re
ceive, to leave the kingdom. The Swiss, on the contrary, receive what is called a certificate of home, and if they find themselves deceived in their expectations and choose to return, are welcomed back with paternal kindness. Nay, in such a case, each one receives two Louis d'ors for his expenses back from the Swiss consul, with an addition of three florins a week to the sick. The same indulgences are also enjoyed by the emigrants from the [French] provinces of Lothringia and Alsace.'
This humane and politic treatment of the unfortunate Swiss and French emigrants, forms a striking contrast with the neglect experienced, according to M. de Fürstenwärther's report, by the Germans, particularly the Würtembergers. We have been informed that a very onerous property tax, in addition to the renunciation of citizenship, is imposed on all emigrants from the kingdom of Wü temburg. It is possible that this cruel imposition may have been abolished by the present king, who gave a proof of his humanity on his accession to the throne, in the great year of scarcity, 1816, by selling the menagerie of his royal father, and distributing to the starving populace of Stuttgard a large quantity of potatoes, which had been amassed for his majesty's kangoroos and elephants. From the sketch of the contract for the passage to America, we extract the following articles.
Such as are in a condition to do it, pay their passage in Amsterdam, a man or a woman 170 florins or 68 dollars.
• Children under four years are free.
From 4 to 14 years 85 florins or 34 dollars.
From 14 years and onward 170 florins or 68 dollars. Those who are unable to pay in Amsterdam, and are to pay in America, are charged a man or woman 190 florins or 76 dollars, and under 14 and over 4 years half that sum.
Every one, thus contracting to pay his passage in America, is bound to do it within ten days after his arrival. In case of death, if it happen when the voyage is more than half made, the surviv ing friends are holden to pay the passage of the deceased; if before the passage be half made, no passage money is to be paid.
The provisions stipulated are dealt out on the principle of full portions to those who pay full fare, half portions to the half fares, and children nothing, as follows:
Sundays. a lb. of beef with barley, two cups to five fares, [in soup, we suppose.]
Mondays, a lb. of flour and a lb. of butter for the whole week. ‹ Tuesdays, lb. fat boiled with pease, 3 cups for 5 fares.
Wednesdays, a lb. of flour
Thursdays, a lb. of beef with potatoes, a quarter of a peck [Fass] to 5 fares.
Fridays, lb. of rice.
Saturdays, lb. fat with pease,3 cups for 5 fares, a lb. of cheese, and 6 lbs. bread for the week.
A jug of beer and another of water per day: instead of the beer which sours, water is given for a part of the voyage. Moreover half the water assigned is for cooking.'
With regard to the persons, who conduct the trade of shipping these emigrants, we need add little to what is said page 343 of our last volume. It is enough to observe, that from the nature of the case, the commissaries, employed in this business in the Dutch ports, are by no means likely to be Americans, and that the names given by M. de Fürstenwarther, as the names of the agents in this business, are all foreign. The following extract from a letter dated at the Helder, July 7, 1817, will give our readers an idea of the extent of this sort of business.
'I was this morning on board of a vessel, formerly a Russian ship of the line, which a Dutchman had bought on account of the Rudolfi whom I mentioned in a former letter, for the sake of carrying German emigrants to Philadelphia. There are already four or five hundred souls on board, and the vessel will not sail till she has her complement of passengers.'
The following facts may be new to some of our readers, and will show that the interest of these unfortunate emigrants would have been promoted, had there been more truth in the assertion of our brethren of the Quarterly Review, that this trade is confined to American vessels.' They are contained in a letter dated Philadelphia, Oct. 28, 1817.
'As soon as a vessel arrives with such passengers, it is imme diately advertised by the captains in the papers. Mechanics and farmers, sometimes from a distance, repair to the vessel, select such persons as they wish, and pay their fare to the captain; and a particular contract is made by which they are bound to service for a term of years. Commonly also the vessels are visisted by some members of the German society, under whose inspection these transactions take place. They also inform themselves, as to the treatment of the passengers on the passage, and institute a strict investigation if circumstances seem to require it; but it stops here, except it be in the case of American ships.
Not a year since arrived a Prussian ship with passengers, whose captain had been guilty of the most shameful abuses, particularly of the females, on board. The affair excited universal indignation in the city. An account of it reached Germany, and was inserted in the Gazette of Cologne, and orders were accordingly given to the Prussian consul, who arrived here a few days ago, to investigate the affair with the greatest severity, and report thereon. This summer also the treatment on board the brig Hope, captain Klein, of Amsterdam, was highly reprehensible. I send you the protocol of the investigation.
The German society proposes only to relieve and assist, as much as possible, the destitute emigrants. They have done much for their German brethren. But the number of emigrants this year was out of proportion to the means of the society. Their number is estimated at six thousand, and many more are still expected.' p. 19, 20.
We took occasion, in quoting the first article of M. de Fürstenwärther's instructions, to insinuate an opinion that the notions entertained by himself and the gentlemen who deputed him, of the importance of the objects of his mission, were somewhat too elevated. That this was not an unnecessary remark, may be confirmed from the following murmur from a letter dated Nov. 15.
I am just beginning to be known, and am obliged to put up with taking many a fruitless step. For you are not to imagine that a very great interest is felt here in my mission. This does not lie in the American character.'
This is truly edifying; we have been so used to being complimented with these courteous salutations by our English brethren, that we had begun really to put on a little sad and sober diffidence, and doubt whether we were not after all a degenerate race. But to hear the deputy of the plenipotentiary of the Dutch king, at the German Diet, because in seventeen days after he had arrived in Philadelphia from Amsterdam, without speaking a word of the language, his mission had excited little interest, to hear this worthy gentleman talking of what does or does not dwell in the American character, has cheered us up a little, and gives us courage to encounter the flattering notice which our brethren at Edinburgh or London may take of the calumnies of the next shop-keeper sent out to explore us. Whatever they may now report to