Mr. Bayard to Mr. Olney .

No. 505.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge instructions of the State Department, No. 651, of April 5, and No. 671, of April 19, with their respective inclosures, relating to the treatment of men employed in the United States to take care of cattle shipped in steamers to European ports, where upon arrival the men landed are left in a destitude condition and unprovided with transportation back to their homes in the United States.

The subject has received the prompt and full consideration of this embassy, and I now transmit, inclosed herewith, a copy of a note, dated May 15 last, addressed by me to the foreign office, and the reply thereto of the Marquis of Salisbury, dated July 15.

I also inclose (the original) a letter from the vice-consul-general at this city, addressed to Mr. Roosevelt, the secretary of this embassy, by which it will be perceived that the attention of the representatives of the principal steamship lines between London and the United States having been called to the matter, an informal agreement was made, which has so far sufficed to check the evil complained of and has given relief to the class of persons whose sufferings caused your instructions in their behalf.

No complaint has since reached this embassy, and it may be considered as reasonably probable that hereafter the shippers of cattle in ports of the United States will not be allowed to send care takers out to Europe with the cattle without arranging for their support and safe return to the United States.

I would, however, attract the attention of those officials who are charged with the regulation of the shipment of cattle from the United States to the closing paragraph of the note of Lord Salisbury and his suggestions as to the most effectual way of dealing with the threatened evil, which is an enforcement of conditions upon shippers of cattle in the United States for European ports by which they shall be compelled to make provision for the return to their own country of the cattlemen they employ.

If the present official powers of the Treasury officials vest them with legal authority to create and enforce regulations of the character thus suggested, they can apply the remedy, or Congress would no doubt willingly enact the requisite legislation to protect a thrifty and humble class from the consequences of the commercial greed from which they have suffered in the past.

I have, etc.,

T. E. Bayard.
[Page 734]
[Inclosure 1 in No. 505.]

Mr. Bayard to Lord Kimberley .

My Lord: Under instructions from my Government, I have the honor to inclose herewith copies of correspondence relating to the treatment of men employed to take care of cattle shipped in British steamers plying between the United States and European ports.

It is understood that these cattlemen (generally destitute vagrants) are employed by the owners of the cattle (or their agents), and are promised a sum of money and a return ticket on their arrival at the port of delivery of the cattle. At the end of the voyage they are, however, almost invariably defrauded, in one way or other, of their money and their return tickets and are turned out of the ship penniless and left in a strange country, totally without means of transportation to the United States.

The increasing number of helpless people thus left destitute in British and other ports, and their pitiable condition, may be said to have become a public scandal.

As the steamers employed in the conveyance of cattle across the Atlantic are nearly all under the British flag, and while I am aware that the fact of the engagement of these men by the shippers and not by the steamship owners creates a difficulty under the merchant shipping act in assigning responsibility for the care of the cattlemen when they come to port, I hope, however, that some remedy for this grievous evil may be found by Her Majesty’s board of trade, by a recommendation to the steamship companies that these cattlemen be engaged by them for the round trip on the same basis as ordinary ships’ hands instead of by the shippers, as at present, so that the steamship owners will thus be responsible for their proper payment and return to the United States.

An alternative remedy could possibly be found in the enforcement here of a self-protecting construction of British local regulation to protect the health and safety of their ports from the landing of men so impoverished, unless provision is made for their temporary support and reshipment.

I am instructed at the same time to express to your lordship the request of my Government that the existing laws of the United States do not prevent or control the shipment of this destitute class of people by giving them employment as cattlemen to take care of live stock in British vessels, and their consequent charge upon the British poor rates when left stranded and penniless in the ports of the United Kingdom.

I have, etc.,

T. F. Bayard.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 505.]

Lord Salisbury to Mr. Bayard .

Your Excellency: Her Majesty’s Government have had under their careful consideration the representations made in your note of the 15th of May last upon the subject of the treatment of the men employed [Page 735] to take care of cattle shipped on British steamers plying between the United States and European ports.

Your note suggested that either the steamship companies should be recommended to engage the men as members of the crew for the round trip, or that some regulation should be adopted to prevent their being landed unless provision is made for their temporary support and reshipment.

With regard to these suggestions I have to observe that there is in this country no legal power vested in the State to prescribe the conditions under which cattlemen shall be engaged, or in any way to interfere with their employment, nor is there any power to regulate the landing of the men as destitute aliens.

I am informed that both Mr. Roosevelt and the consul-general for the United States have recently been in personal communication with the board of trade in regard to this question. The former was understood to admit that the real difficulty lay in the fact that the United States consular officers have no power to relieve the men or to send them home.

Her Majesty’s Government fully appreciate the desire of the United States Government to protect the interests of their citizens who find themselves in a state of destitution in a foreign country. If, however, your excellency would be good enough to bring to the notice of the board of trade any case in which it can be shown that the United States cattlemen have suffered through the insufficiency of arrangements made by the owners of the British vessels in which they have been conveyed, the board will undertake to make inquiry upon the subject.

Her Majesty’s Government are disposed to think that, under existing circumstances, the most effectual way of dealing with what appears to be a serious evil might be that some control should be exercised by the United States authorities over the employers of the cattlemen, who are shippers of cattle at ports of the United States, and that these persons should be required in every case to provide for the return to their own country of the cattlemen they employ; and I have, therefore, to submit this suggestion for the consideration of the United States Government.

I have, etc.,

[Inclosure 3 in No. 505.]

Mr. Collins to Mr. Roosevelt .

Sir: The consul-general has laid before me your letter addressed to him re cattlemen. In reply to the question therein contained, I beg leave to state that on the 5th day of June, 1895, a meeting was held at the consulate-general, which was attended by representatives of the principal steamship lines running from London to the United States of America. The question discussed was the then existing method of procedure in regard to the payment, care, etc., of cattlemen coming from the United States, and also the question of their return to their home in the United States. The whole matter was thoroughly discussed, and as a result measures proposed by me for the payment of wages, the care of, and the return to the United States of cattlemen were agreed to by all the steamship lines, and have been since lived up to by them.

[Page 736]

I have at the consulate-general the statements in writing from the Furness Line, from the Johnson Line, from the National Line, from the Atlantic Transport Line, the Wilson Hill Line, the Allan Line of steamships, as to their agreement to deal in a fair and equitable manner with the cattlemen.

As a result (not to go into the details of this matter, which would entail much time), I may state in conclusion that since the 5th of June to the present day this consulate-general has not been visited by any cattlemen save by a stray one on rare occasions. This to me would indicate that the trouble has been cured by the steamship companies agreeing to become responsible for the cattlemen, which agreement was the outcome of the meeting of the 5th of June. I shall be pleased to forward you copies of the letters of the various steamship lines, should you wish them and would kindly acquaint me of your desire to have them.

I am, etc.,

John J. Collins,
Vice and Deputy Consul-General.