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To James Madison from Sylvanus Bourne, 27 July 1805 (Abstract)

From Sylvanus Bourne, 27 July 1805 (Abstract)

§ From Sylvanus Bourne. 27 July 1805, Amsterdam. “I have now the pleasure to inclose you a Copy of an advertisement1 to which I referred in some of my late letters2 which has been circulated throughout all Germany in order to entice people to go to America or elsewhere. What a violation of truth? What a Vile prostitution of the Character & dignity of the Govt of the U States to answer private purposes Mrs D & O were Brokers for the Vessells which had the passengers on board—collected by these measures & mr Kurtz who signs one of the Advertists has for many years consecutive been in Germany as Agent for D&O to collect Emigrants & therefore (tho’ they have had cunning enough not to have their names appear in the matter) must be supposed to have full & complete knowlege of the whole transaction & I doubt not they were the planners of the Scheme as it is truly conformable to their manner of doing business. All these things must tend my respected Sir to convince you that a remedy was required & I flatter myself it will be found in the conduct of the Other establishment whose success will depend however on my support & protection.”

Adds in a postscript: “As before mentioned to you—the Govt here hint at the means which had been used to collect these passengers as well as suspicions of the objec⟨t⟩; & intent of the voyage—forcibly turned them ashore—while they permitted mess Haines & Co to ship the greater part of them in another vessell—Capt King—Ship Venus—to Phila.”3

Adds in a second postscript: “I shall shortly send on my publication which will correctly explain all Circumstances & set every thing right in the minds of my fellow Citizens.”

RC and enclosure (DNA: RG 59, CD, Amsterdam, vol. 1). RC 2 pp.; docketed by Wagner. For enclosure, see n. 1.

1The enclosure (2 pp.; docketed by Wagner) is an English translation of a 20 Feb. 1804 advertisement by Casimir Kurz, announcing that the U.S. Congress had designated Wills & Co. of Amsterdam agents for encouraging emigration of “sober Industrious and honest Citizens” from Germany to Louisiana, Florida, and other regions of the United States. Five transports were to leave Frankfort between 12 Apr. and 30 June 1805. Emigrants were to be “furnished with abundant victuals, Eaten & Drink, good Loging and a free passage to America” as well as a complete outfit of clothing and free housing in the Netherlands while awaiting passage on the ship on which they would be provided with excellent food, “beer & Brandy and free purge Physians attendance in case of Sickness,” and on which “no Arbitrary Punition or ill usages” would take place. On arrival in America they were to receive more free food, clothing, and lodging. They were to be bound workers for six years at good wages and would be free at the end of that time either to work for themselves or to engage again with the same employer. It was further stated that anyone who objected to these conditions on arrival in the United States could return to Europe after repaying his passage.

2For an earlier mention of German emigrants, see the two postscripts to Bourne to JM, 6 July 1805.

3The 28 Sept. 1805 Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser announced the sale of “A number of German Redemptioners, to be disposed of on board ship Venus, from Amsterdam, consisting of farmers, tanners, curriers, morocco leather dressers, plaisterers, &c. &c….”

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