« PreviousContinue »
our discredit, and however gravely their calumnies may be reviewed, we shall be able to say
τέτλαθι δὴ κραδίη, καὶ κύντερον ἄλλο ποτ ̓ ἔτλης.
The following circumstance strikes as quite unexpected and curious. It is from a letter dated Baltimore, 26 Nov. 1817,
There arrived this summer a ship from Amsterdam, addressed to Mr. Graff, one of the richest merchants in this place A greater part of the passengers had not paid their freight. Two families were bought by free negroes, of which there is a large number in Maryland. This disgusted the Germans in Baltimore to the degree, that they, and among them Mr. Graff himself, the consignee of the ship, without whose knowledge the thing had taken place, immediately re-bought them, and formed an association to prevent the recurrence of any such degrading abuse.' p. 27.
We add, from the same letter, the following fact, in regard to which we apprehend our author to labour under a mistake; the result of misinformation from the sugar-boiler.
"I have accidentally made the acquaintance of a German, who has been long an inhabitant of the state of Kentucky, and has established a sugar manufactory there. He has travelled through all the western states, and I am indebted to him for many notices. He assures me that this summer Germans had been engaged by speculators, and publicly sold at auction to the highest bidder, and, according to him, Dutch or white slaves is there a common expression.'
We are the more inclined to doubt a part of this anecdote, as we have observed our southern and western brethren to be very sparing of the word slave, even when applied to the blacks.
The following extract will give our readers some idea of the views entertained by the American government, on the subject of encouraging emigration. It is from a letter dated Philadelphia, Dec. 28, 1817.
I have been presented in Washington by Tenkate [?] to Mr. Adams, the secretary of state. I should have gladly avoided these formalities, but could not well excuse myself. Tenkate had fore. warned me that I should find in the secretary of state a dry and extremely cold man. On the contrary, I found him extremely polite and friendly toward me. He heard me at first, with great attention, and interrupted me afterwards frequently in the course of my remarks. I gave him your pamphlet. On my second visit, he asked me if I had instructions. I felt myself obliged in
truth to answer in the affirmative, and professed myself ready to show them. His reply in substance was as follows: That it had hitherto been the supposition of the government, that the European states, and particularly the German powers, were not pleased with emigration: and that therefore, from motives of poliey, and not to disturb the friendly understanding with such powers, it had not directly encouraged the emigration, or at any rate had avoided the appearance of wishing to encourage it. If, however, it could be made certain, that the German princes would throw no obstacle in the way of emigration, there might perhaps arise a greater inclination on the part of the American government to conspire with them in aiding it: though, added the secretary, rather out of kindness towards the emigrants themselves. For [this is the judicious remark of M. de Fürstenwärther] either from principle and conviction, or national pride, they have or affect to have, throughout America, a great indifference toward foreign emigration, and appear to be of opinion that, even without this aid, the population of the United States increases rapidly enough.' pp. 28, 29.
At the conclusion of the extracts from M. de Fürstenwärther's letters, follows a report on German emigration' to America, in which little is contained of moment, that had not previously appeared in the extracts. Some pains were taken in the Quarterly Review of Fearon, to impress upon the British public the belief, that the trade in the transportation of redemptioners was confined to ourselves, and the reviewer was so unguarded, as to assert in his own person, that the infamous traffic is confined exclusively to American vessels.' In our notice of Mr. Walsh's Appeal in the last number of this journal, we quoted the passage from his work, in which this false and injurious statement is refuted. The following testimony of M. de Fürstenwärtner will settle the question, if it still remain one.
"It is usually Dutch, but occasionally also American, Swedish, Russian and English vessels, which transport the emigrants to America. The ships made use of in this service are commonly of the worst quality, old, and unseaworthy, and the commanders sent in them ignorant, inexperienced, and brutal characters. The American ships are the best, and deserve the preference before the others. They sail quicker, the treatment is better, and the responsibility of the captains is greater.' pp. 35, 44.
Among the reasons which prevent the resort of this class of emigants to New York, our author mentions a law of that
state, by which the captains of the vessels in which they come are obliged to give security that the emigrants shall not become a burden to the state or city.
Several laws have been passed in the state of Pennsylvania for the protection of the redemptioners, and M. de Fürstenwärther expresses his opinion that the provisions of these laws are adequate. He complains, however, that they are scarce pretended to be put in execution against foreign ships, and that they are but imperfectly executed against the Amercan captains. Among these laws is one, which obliges the captain of the vessel to support the redemptioners gratis for thirty days after their arrival; after this period he is allowed to charge their board. In case the captain is compelled to bind out his redemptioners for a less sum than the amount of the passage, then the persons so bound out are obliged to enter into a farther bond, to pay the remainder of the debt, after the expiration of the first in enture. These indentures are made under the inspection of an officer appointed for that purpose by the government of the state, who keeps a list of all the emigrants, with a note of the place where they are bound. The extreme term of service in ordinary cases for adults is four years, and two years the shortest terin. Children, under four years old, are not bound, but follow their parents, and are at liberty when the parents are. Males, over four years, are bound to serve till they are twenty-one, and females till they are eighteen years old. Six weeks' schooling annually is stipulated for the children, and two suits of clothes, one of which is to be new, at the expiration of their term of service. It is also provided by the law, that no redemptioner shall be bound out of the state of Pennsylvania without his consent; that man and wife shall not be separated but by mutual consent, nor children taken from their parents but in extreme cases. The efforts of the German societies are confined to pecuniary relief of the emigrants, who are wholly destitute, and their activity has been checked for want of funds. There are two of these societies in Philadelphia, one in New York, and one in Baltimore.
From the 12th of July, the day of the arrival of the first ship with redemptioners in 1817, up to the beginning of 1818, there arrived nineteen vessels, bringing passengers of this class to the number of more than 6000.
So far from looking upon this indenture as a hardship, our author expresses his opinion that it is a benefit to the needy emigrant, and says, that many even of those who pay their passage in Holland, bind themselves, in like manner, on their arrival here, for the sake of being immediately provided for in a strange land,-learning the language by going of necessity into an American family, and laying up in the purchase money a little capital for future support. Our author adds, that the treatment of the emigrants while in service is so kind and good, that just complaints are oftener made by the masters, that their servants run away, than by the servants that they are ill treated. Among the classes of emigrants most likely to be employed, our author enumerates masons, carpenters, cabinet-makers, wagonners, coopers, smiths, shoe-makers, tailors, and bakers; and as least likely to find employment, all those whose trades are connected with the arts of luxury. Persons of both sexes, from fourteen to twenty years of age, are most sought for, and it is a great folly,' says our judicious author, when women of eighty years old wander over, as happened in one instance last summer.' The greater part of the German emigrants remain in Pennsylvania, from which without their consent they cannot be carried. Our author how
ever informs us, that he saw a letter from forty such persons, who had entered into indentures in Ohio, and who were contented with their treatment and condition. The following observation will show the correct and discriminating character of our author's observations.
A great part of the population of the United States consists of blacks, especially in the southern states. The German agrees but poorly with them. He is regarded by them, with envy and jealousy. It is degrading to the German name and character, to have the German stand on a similar footing with them. The natural cunning of the Negro, his superiour dexterity, and fluency in English, give him too great an advantage over the simple, good-natured German peasant. He considers himself [the Negro] as of a higher nature, and looks down upon the poor German. The latter is confounded in treatment with the blacks, nay is often treated worse.' p. 55.
Our author, among other points, was instructed to inquire into the possibility of introducing an hereditary tenantry on large landed estates. He does not appear to have been informed of the state of our laws in this respect.
Hereditary contracts between large landed proprietors and colonists, in the German way, are not usual. I am unable to assign at this time the particular obstacles, that may stand in their way. Meantime there seems a general prejudice against them, as a feudal institution. It is only in New York that such large proprietors enter into hereditary contracts with their tenantry, in the European manner, in which, however, they have more their own interest in view, than that of their tenants, [in Europe the landlord having in view more the tenant's interest than his own.] But these are only exceptions. In this free country, each ore loves to possess a property of his own, and finds not only a possibility but a facility of so doing.' p 64.
The following pretty tender question in our author's instructions—“ Are the Germans esteemed in America?' is answered in a calm, impartial way, which we are sure will please our readers.
Is the German esteemed in America? Personally he is esteemed, like others, without reference to their descent or nation, when he is rich or distinguished for public services. Schneider [Sny. der the last governor of Pennsylvania, was of German origin. The path to offices and posts of honour is open to every German. He is in general esteemed for his industry, frugality, love of home, for his honesty, and his peaceable temper; qualities which still characterise the German and his descendants in America, particularly the farmers. Pennsylvania owes to the German her universally acknowledged superiority over all the other states in respect to agriculture. The German emigrant is more welcome than the Irishman or the Frenchman. The last particularly are no favourites with the Americans. Personally, they are disliked, notwithstanding the public sympathy once felt in the fortunes and princiciples of the French nation.
But notwithstanding this, a great undervaluing of the German name and nation is evident in America. The Americans, themselves too young to deserve the name of a nation, possess nevertheless a national pride beyond that of any people in the old world, and look down with disdain on those [?] from whom the first germ of their improvement came Of none however have the Americans a poorer opinion than of the Germans. The main reason of this is perhaps the political insignificance of the German nation, and the consequent want of conscious importance and of arrogance of its individuals; to which cause also it is to be ascribed that so little justice is done to the Germans by the other European nations With no land have the Americans had so few important relations, as with Germany. For want of other means of infor