Report of the Secretary of State: (In compliance with a resolution of the Senate,) in relation to the practice of foreign Governments in transferring their criminals and paupers into the United States: 28th Congress, Second Session: [No.] 42 [Senate] [Digital Version]

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United States. Congress (28th, 2nd session: 1844-1845). Senate and United States. Dept. of State, Report of the Secretary of State (January 16, 1845)

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Title: Report of the Secretary of State: (In compliance with a resolution of the Senate,) in relation to the practice of foreign Governments in transferring their criminals and paupers into the United States: 28th Congress, Second Session: [No.] 42 [Senate] [Digital Version]
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  • United States. Congress (28th, 2nd session: 1844-1845). Senate
  • United States. Dept. of State
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Source(s): United States. Congress (28th, 2nd session: 1844-1845). Senate and United States. Dept. of State, Report of the Secretary of State (January 16, 1845)
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Keywords: Library of Congress Subject Headings
  • United States--Emigration and immigration--History--19th century
  • Germany--Emigration and immigration--History--19th century
  • Criminals--United States
  • Criminals--Germany
  • Poor--United States
  • Poor--Germany
  • Deportation--Germany
  • Prisoners--Germany
  • Passports--Law and legislation--Germany
  • Visas--Law and legislation--United States
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  • United States (nation)

28th CONGRESS, 2d Session. [SENATE.] [42]

(In compliance with a resolution of the Senate,)
The practice of foreign Governments in transferring their criminals and
paupers into the United States.

JANUARY 16, 1845
Read, and ordered to be printed.

To the Senate of the United States:

The Secretary of State, in compliance with the resolutions of the Senate
of the 23d ultimo, directing him "to communicate to the Senate such information
as may be in possession of the Department of State, as to the
practice of foreign Governments in transferring their criminals and paupers
into the United States; and that he also communicate copies of such instructions,
if any, as may have been given by the Government of the United
States to its consuls and other agents in foreign Governments upon this
subject; and copies of such reports, if any, as may have been received
from such consuls and agents in relation thereto:" and, also, "that he be
instructed to communicate to the Senate any information in his department,
of arrangements made by any foreign Governments, or Government, for
the removal to the United States of foreign paupers or convicts, specifying,
if the information in the department will enable him to do so, the number
of persons of the above descriptions who have, within any given time, to
which such information may extend, migrated to the United States; and
any information in possession of the department of the average number of
foreigners, of every description, annually arriving within the United
States"—has the honor to transmit the accompanying documents, which
contain all the information on the files of this department in relation to the
subject, except what may be found in the report of Mr. Forsyth to the
President of the United States, dated 10th May, 1838, (House Document
No. 370, 25th Congress, 2d session,) to which he respectfully refers.

The table accompanying this, showing the average number of persons
annually arriving in the United States, is compiled from returns to this
department for the last eight years, and embraces, as far as practicable,
the information called for by the resolution in regard to the description of
the emigrants.

Respectfully submitted.
Washington, January 14, 1845.


List of papers.

  • A.—A letter from J. Cuthbert, United States consul at Hamburg, to Mr.
    Livingston, dated January 22, 1833.
     A Letter from same to the Syndic Siveking, December 7, 1832.
     A letter from Syndic Siveking to J. Cuthbert, January 4, 1833.
     A translation of a report to the Hamburg Senate, December 25, 1832,
     by J. L. Dammert, chief of police.
  • B.—Extract of a letter from J. Dodge, United States consul at Bremen, to
    Mr. Forsyth, dated February 1, 1835.
     Translation of an act of the Bremen Senate respecting emigrants.
  • C.—Extract of a letter from F. J. Grund, United States consul at Bremen,
    to Mr. Webster, dated February 10, 1842.
  • D.—A table showing the average number of persons arriving in the United
    States annually.




On the 4th December I had the honor to receive a despatch from
the Department of State, dated the 8th October, signed by Daniel Brent,
Esq., respecting the convicts sent by the police of this city to New York;
and on the 7th I addressed a note to the Syndic Siveking on the subject,
copy of which I have the honor to enclose. On the 4th instant I received
a note from him, with a report made by Senator Dammert, chief of police,
to the Senate, translation of which is also enclosed. This document proves
that the Hamburg Senate had given its consent to the deportation, but contains
so many absurdities (not to give them a worse name) that I was of
opinion a verbal acknowledgment of its receipt would be best, which I did
on the 6th at the Syndic's table, without any remarks whatever.

I request to hand herewith the half-yearly report of arrivals and clearances,
with vouchers for payments and account current to the end of the

With great respect, your most obedient servant,
Secretary of State of the U. S., Washington.

No. 1.



I beg leave to enclose you an extract of a despatch received from
the Department of State, respecting the sending of convicts to the United
States. When informed of the affair, I was not disposed to give credit to
it, as I was unwilling to believe in such a breach of moral faith. As the


vessel had left the port before I received the intelligence, I wrote immediately,
via Liverpool, giving the information to the mayor of New York.
It will most probably come before Congress for their decision; but in the
mean time I consider my power over the American ship masters increased,
and am desired to say that my Government expects nothing of the kind
will be attempted in future.

With respect, &c.
His Excellency the Syndic SIVEKING.

No. 2.


Referring to the note of the 7th December, by which you accompanied
an extract of a despatch from the Department of State, dated the
8th October, I have the honor to transmit copy of a police report on the
passengers of the brig Dorothea.

I have the honor to be, &c.

No. 3.

In conformity to the charge received Amplo. Senative upon that which is
contained in the note of the consul of the United States of North America
of the 17th instant, I do myself the honor respectfully to state:

That in the foregoing summer many individuals [were] detained in the
prisons and houses of correction, consisting mostly of persons guilty of
boyish indiscretions, whose time of imprisonment was more or less near
expiring, and who begged for their release under the promise of leaving
the country; which request was laid before the Senate, who were willing to
grant it. Such procedure takes place frequently every where with offenders
whose crimes have not been very great; and it is well known that such
persons, with real good will, find it much more easy to gain an honest
livelihood in a foreign country than in their own, where their indiscretions
or crimes, and that they have been imprisoned, is kept constantly alive
in the public mind. Some of these persons, who had heard of a conveyance
to North America for a reasonable sum, chose the aforesaid country
to go to, and agreed for their passage on board the ship Dorothea. Many
others soon joined them. I have heard it was their intention to go into
the interior of North America, to cultivate the land, and to be useful to the
colonists, and some to purchase uncultivated land.

The number of south Germans, who shortly before had gone to North
America from Bremen and Hamburg, for the same purpose, of whom, off
and on, many came here, and of which much was spoken in public, may
have given them this idea. The police could not refuse these people the
passports they requested, which were given them by the chancery bureau;


and, as it is not customary to have the consul's visa to passports to North
America, it was also omitted this time, and thus the consul was not informed
of their departure.

That many persons from the European continent go to America without
passports, is well known to the police, from the strangers that have passed
through here. In respect to Vogelsang, who is named in the enclosure
with the note, he is among the released, and received a passport. But it is
wrong to denounce this individual as a notorious incendiary. He was imprisoned
on suspicion of having set fire to the property, but not found
guilty, and punished in consequence of having discovered the fire, and
keeping it secret for criminal purposes, and being found guilty of other

Besides, it is just this man, that has property, and, so far as my memory
serves, he was more particularly one whose intention was to go into the
interior to purchase uncultivated land—I believe in Canada.

Those who have undergone their punishment, or where a part has been
remitted as an act of mercy, have made their peace with community; and
it would be hard if such should be prevented seeking an honest livelihood
in another State.




The great number of poor Germans emigrating yearly to our country,
and who, on their landing, without any funds and without any means to
maintain themselves, become a burden to our seaports, if they cannot immediately
obtain employment, leads me respectfully to submit to your consideration,
whether the following suggestions may not be made useful to
our country in remedying the same, viz:

Every foreigner emigrating to the United States shall, before his departure
from a port in Europe, appear before the consul of the United
States residing at the port from whence the vessel is cleared, and make
oath, first, to the number of persons who compose his family, and whom
he takes with him; and, secondly, that he is the possessor of a certain sum
of money, (the amount of which to be fixed by law, according to the number
of persons which compose his family,) over and above the amount of
his passage money, and what may be necessary for his expenses previous
to embarking, and which sum of money he shall engage himself by said
oath to take with him to the United States, and produce the said amount,
and the oath signed by himself, and certified to by the consul, to a competent
officer, who shall immediately visit the vessel before the same makes
entry; and should any emigrant fail to produce to the visiting officer the
said certified oath, and the amount of money mentioned therein, the captain
of the vessel shall be obliged to give bonds, holding himself and sureties
accountable for all damages and expenses which may arise from the
said emigrant falling on the charge of the city where he may have arrived,
during the term of three years. The commutation money to be raised to


three dollars for each individual emigrant brought in the vessel, and to be
paid by the captain at the time of entry.

As the attending to this business would take up a great deal of the consul's
time, and probably occasion to him the expense of an additional clerk,
a small fee of at least fifty cents, for drawing up and administering each
oath, would be a reasonable compensation, and not heavy to the emigrants.

I enclose an act of the Bremen Government of the 13th June, 1834, and
a translation thereof, by which you will please observe, that they have
taken the precaution to protect themselves against all expenses which might
fall upon them for the maintenance of emigrants, in case emigrants embarking
from here, or from any other port on the Weser, and bound to a
port on the other side of the Atlantic, might be shipwrecked in the European
seas, or in case any other accident might happen in the said seas to
the said vessel, which might prevent its proceeding on the said voyage, by
ordering insurance, effected in this city by the owner, consignee, or freighter
of the vessel, for the passage money, and for 18 rix dollars, extra, for each
individual emigrant, and the policy of said insurance to be deposited
with the commissioner for inspecting the brokers, before the vessel is allowed
to be despatched.

I have, sir, the honor to remain, with the greatest respect, your most
obedient servant,

Secretary of State, Washington.

No. 1.
Translation of an act of the Bremen Senate respecting emigrants.

By the act published on the 1st October, 1832, sundry regulations respecting
the emigrants that arrive here have been made, chiefly to the end
that in respect of the impending sea voyage the intent of the emigrants
themselves, as well as the public interest, be secured as much as possible.

Though in general these regulations have been found to answer the
purpose, yet in respect of disasters at sea, which might happen to the vessel,
the necessity of some more extended regulations has been discovered,
particularly that the passengers may obtain the necessary help in case of
such an unhappy accident.

The Senate ordains, therefore, the following:

1. Every citizen of this place who maybe owner, consignee, or freighter
of a vessel, and who engages for the same at least 25 cabin or steerage,
passengers for a port on the other side of the sea, whether the embarkation
shall take place here in Bremen haven or elsewhere on the Weser,
has to apply to the inspection of the brokers, and to prove to that authority:

A. That the vessel is in a fully fit condition for the intended voyage.

B. That the same has been furnished with sound provisions sufficient,
according to the number of passengers, and in respect of the place of destination,
viz: if it is bound to a port of North America, in order to give
security for the utmost case, at least for a time of ninety days.

C. That for the case if a misfortune should happen in the European
seas to the vessel, whereby the same might become unable to proceed on
the voyage, the passage money of all passengers that are saved, and moreover


a sum amounting to 18 rix dollars for each of them, be ready to be
employed, in order thereby, first, to cover the costs of saving the passengers
and their effects, and the costs of their temporary maintenance, as also to
pay the passage money necessary to get them forward, and in general to
reimburse to the Bremen Government all expenses made for the passengers
in consequence of the disaster, and then to distribute among the passengers
the balance that might remain.

2. For proving as far as regards the article mentioned under C, it is
required that the amount which shall serve for employment be insured by
an insurance company here, or by a solid private underwriter of this city,
and that the policy be handed over to the inspection.

Should an accident of the said kind afterwards happen, that amount is
to be employed conformably to the above regulations by the person who
has expedited the vessel, and the same has afterwards to prove to the inspection
that such has been done.

3. As soon as a vessel is on the Weser, and intends such a voyage, its
fitness must be proved, and that it has been duly furnished with provisions,
and that the insurance has been effected must be proved at least before
the passengers go on board; and the inspection shall give a certificate
thereof to the person who expedites the vessel. It is not allowed to despatch
the vessel before receiving this certificate, under a fine of 50 rix
dollars for each contravention, and under personal responsibility of the
person who despatches the vessel, for all damages arising therefrom.

The regulations of the first-mentioned act remain in force in as far as
they are not altered by the present regulations.

Concluded at Bremen, in the Assembly of the Senate, on the 13th, and
published on the 19th June, 1834.


February 10, 1842.

One reason why American vessels cannot compete with those of Bremen
is, that the latter carry all the emigrants, from 12,000 to 16,000 a year,
which they effect by a law requiring or urging all persons who wish to
emigrate to engage their passage on board of some Bremen vessel before
entering the city. The Bremen brokers and ship owners have their agents
all over Germany, who make it a point to catch all they can on the road,
"and in many cases have obtained from $2 to $5 a head for all they
caught," when American vessels were obliged to leave in ballast.

The emigrants are not even permitted to remain in town after they have
engaged their passage, but are hurried immediately after their arrival on
board of their respective ships; the merchants being determined to derive
all the benefit from the emigration, and to share none of its inconveniences.

But this matter admits yet of another point of view. The emigrants
who are thus hurried to the United States, without having the slightest
chance of availing themselves of the benefit of the market, and who are
thus made to lose large sums which would otherwise benefit the United
States, have not even an opportunity offered them of consulting the United


States consul, in order to take his advice on all matters concerning the
country of their adoption. And yet he would be the very best person to
inform them about the laws and regulations of America, and the safest
means of investing their property. He is the only responsible person who,
himself an American citizen, has a permanent interest in their success.

From the moment the emigrant announces his intention to leave his native
country, he is looked upon as a malcontent, a person who is dissatisfied
with the institutions at home, and who, leaving his country never to
return, is a fit subject for plunder. For it must be observed that the emigrants
from this country, and from the continent of Europe in general, are
usually provided with very considerable sums of money, of a very large
portion of which they are defrauded on their way to the seaports. Were
the United States consuls authorized to exercise a species of surveillance
over all persons emigrating to America, which might be effected by requiring
a consular visa or passport of all persons arriving in the United
States, and making the captains of vessels responsible for it, a species of
self-protection and protection of the emigrants, which it appears is the
more necessary as the United States Government has no control over them
after they are once landed, the following advantages would accrue:

1st. It would prevent criminals and fugitives from justice from resorting
to the United States, because the consul would not give passports to persons
of a suspicious character.

2d. It would inform the consul of the number of emigrants, and thereby
prevent the merchants of the place from making their shipment a monopoly.

3d. It would bring the wealthy emigrants in direct contact with the American
land owners or the Government, and thus save thousands of dollars
annually which are thrown away on absurd mercantile speculations, of
which these people have no idea, but to which they are enticed by interested
persons. These people do not know the American market, much
less the degree of perfection to which manufactures have risen in America,
or they would not, at an enormous expense, charge themselves with goods,
instruments, farming utensils, &c., all which they might purchase cheaper
and better in the United States. All these sums would be saved to themselves
and the country if they were made to listen to the advice of the

The undersigned has done all in his power to advise German emigrants
through the public prints, and is just publishing a work on this subject.
He has undertaken, at his own expense, a long journey to the interior,
and has had interviews with the ministers of the States of Wurtemburg,
Baden, Hessen, and Bavaria; but all these efforts, and the good will of
these persons to co-operate in this philanthropic measure, must prove ineffectual,
if the Government of the United States, which is more interested
in it than any other, does not, by legislation, remedy the evil.

It cannot be urged against my suggestion, that the visa and inspection of
passports would cost the consul a great deal of time and trouble. If the
port be small, and the number of emigrants few, he will be able to attend
to them himself; otherwise a small fee, say from 12 ½ cents to 25 cents,
would enable him to procure the assistance of a clerk, or compensate him
for the loss of time.

Your most obedient servant,
Hon. DANIEL WEBSTER, Secretary of State.



A statement showing the average number of persons arriving in the
United States annually, their occupations, sexes, and the countries of
which they are natives, made up from and averaged by the returns to
this department for the last eight years.

Occupation. Males. Females.
No occupation 7,140 21,653
Children 6,466 5,712
Merchants 4,580 5
Laborers 9,052 427
Mariners 702
Mechanics 8,415 236
Clergymen 135
Farmers 11,462 735
Lawyers 69
Engineers 29
Shipmaster 1
Planters 14
Clerks 108
Teachers 29 1
Traders 14
Physicians and surgeons 217
Seamstresses & dressmakers   260
Students 3
Missionaries 3
Artists 59 3
Soldiers 30
Miners 24 1
Officers* 60
Servants 53 464
Players and musicians 27 2
Spinsters 226
Gentlemen 276
Ladies 236
Editor 1
Financier 1
Sisters of charity 2
Nuns 5
Priests 3
48,973 29,968
Males - 48,973
Females - 29,968
Total arrivals per annum   - 78,941

Where from. Males. Females.
United States 3,418 1,261
England and Scotland 6,736 4,679
Germany 11,061 7,186
Ireland 17,749 12,332
France 3,214 1,750
Spain and Spanish colonies   832 156
British possessions 1,353 714
Texas 1,463 176
Mexico 319 52
Prussia 842 599
French colonies 49 22
Not known 766 419
Switzerland 331 203
Norway 297 201
West Indies 205 82
South America 53 33
Italy 68 12
Portugal 33 8
East Indies 2 1
Denmark 41 20
Poland 16 13
Sweden 52 18
Russia 21 11
St. Domingo 6 2
Dutch colonies 3 2
Turkey 2
Sardinia 6 3
Persia 1
Danish colonies 5 3
Austria 13 6
Sicily 5
Egypt 1
Pacific islands 1
Genoa 2 1
Greece 1
China 1 1
Africa 5 2
48,973 29,968
Males - 48,973
Females - 29,968
Total arrivals per annum   - 78,941
Includes civil and military.

Rice University
Date: 2010-06-07
Available through the Creative Commons Attribution license