Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

11 articles on this Page

nr Joitton CwmgunbmJ.




THE EMIGRANT DEPOT AT NEW YORK. An Amateur Emigrant," writing from New York, Sept. 14, has sent the f llowiag sketch to th3 Daily New*:— The premises at Castle Garden are well situated for the purposes of a landing-place for emigrants. To its wharf they are brought directly, by barge or tag, and are directed, ushered, or driven into the Rotunda, a large roofed circular building, in the centre of the Depôt, about eighty feet high, capible, with the galleries round it, of holding between four and five thousand people. The Rotunda is well lighted and ventilated, and in the winter well warmed. There are separate compartments for English speaking and other nationalities, and the first thing the emigrant has to do is to pass along a narrow passage, be- tween desks, to the Registering Department, where his name, country, business, former residence, and destination are taken down. Passing along in single file, the emigrant reaches the office, that is to say, the desk of the railway companies. Here, at the lowest possible rates, he can procure tickets to all paits of the United States and Canada, and avoid the chance of extortion so often met with outside the In OaN emigrants wish to depart immediately, they and their baggage, labelled and checked, are conveyed by ferry boat—a waiting-room for which is built on the wharf, out of which you walk on to the deck—and without any extra charge to the railroad or steam- boat t Having been registered, and having ob- tained his railway ticket (if needed), the emigrant is left on the flo *r of the Rotunda, still locked in,, how- ever, by the high paling. On the walls he sees notices in nearly every European language, telling him of the Money Exchange, the Post- office, the Telegraph-office, the Information and Letter- writing-office, the Labour Exchange. Small handbills and cards of boarding-house keepers, and notices and cautions respecting sunstroke, arc hung on. the pillars. A restaurant bar furnishes him with plain, well-cooked food at reasonable prices. He may also procure tobacco and cigars (the latter very vile, however), and pass the time away without fear of the order, "Put that pipe out," so often heard in England. If he wishes to change his gold and silver into United States currency, he does so at the best advantage. To guard against the possibility of extortion, the market rates and the daily fluctuations of foreign exchange are marked on boards conspicuously placed, and the broker is required in every case to give a written memorandum in the emigrant's own language of the transaction. He will find every convenience in the way of washing-rooms, &c. When all the passengers of the ship have been registered, &c., an officer ascends a rostrum and calls out the names of thoee who have friends attending them in the waiting- room at the entrance of the to whom they are directed. At the same time he calls out the names of those for whom letters or funds are waiting. Emigrants may write letters or post them at the office, or, if un- able to write, they are directed to the letter-writing department, where clerks, understanding all the Con- tinental languages, are in attendance. At the Tele- graph office he can send the news of his arrival to his friends. Missionaries and representatives of every re- ligions body are admitted to the floor of the Rotunda whilst these proceedings go on. The delay now gets tedious to many, and a cry is raised to open the gate. It is opened, but only to ad- mit the licensed boarding-house keepers, who rush in and tout in every language. These boarding-house keepers, however, are subject to careful supervision, and every precaution is taken to guard the emigrant against imposition, as they are required, when obtain- ing a customer, to deliver to him a card setting forth their nam") and address, and the prices in gold and paper money charged for board and lodging by the day or week, and for each meal and night's lodging. They must also furnish a bill setting forth the charges for board. &c., before receiving payment, and they must make a daily return to the Superintendent of all passengers taken out of the Depôt. In the mean- white the baggage has been taken from the tug or barge and stored in the baggage-room. By an excellent system the thousands of trunks and boxes are distin- guished and delivered pafely to their respe ;tive owners. A brass ticket with a letter of the alphabet, and a number from 1 to 600, has been delivered to the emi- grant on board the ship after the Customs examination, and the duplicate is fastened to his piece of baggage. The trunk or box on landing ia placed in the baggage- room, which has bins corresponding to the alphabetical letters, and each bin holds six hundred numbers. The gate is at last opened, and a rash made for the outside.* When in the courtyard the first object that strikes the emigrant's eye is the Hospital, which has a resident house physician and nurses, and is designed for the rEr ception of any who may be ill on arrival, or suddenly attacked after landing. The emigrant wishing to remain m the city or vicinity takes his brass checks to the office of the Express Company, ju it outside the Ro- tunda he gives the address to which he will have his luggage sent, and receives a printed piper in exchange for his checks a baggageman at once goes to the bin indicated by the letter and number 011 the ticket and finds the required articles, which are delivered in any part of New York, Brooklyn, or Jersey for a charge of 40 cents, each. Those destined to go by rail will have, as previously stated, already delivered their checks at the railway office, and received other checks to their destination without charge. If an emigrant possesses money or valuables which he does not wish to take with him into a strange city, he may leave them in the office of the Superintendent. A large one-story building has to be passed before reaching the gate this is the Labour Exchange. 1 Each emigrant desiring a situation is requested to enter his or her name, date of arrival, ship, and character of employment; and here they come, day after day, until their object is gained. In the centre of the floor a space has been railed off for the use of employers, who are all required to enter their names, residence, recommendation, reference, and description of labour wanted. On one side are seated the male emigrants, some under the head of Farmers," others Trades; on the other the females, who are nearly all house ser- vants. The number provided with employment last year by this offioe and its agents at Albany and Buffalo was nearly 30,000. We have traced the emigrant from his arrival at Castle Garden to his departure; this is supposing that he has means of present livelihood; but should he be a pauper, or suffering from sickness, if able to bear re- moval, he is taken care of and sent in a boat which leaves Castle Garden at 1 p.m. daily for th;, refuge and hospital on Ward's Island, the greater part of which has been purchased by the Commissioners. It is situated in the East River, some six miles dis- tant, but connected by telegraph with the chief Depôt. Here a'so those who at any time within the five years for which the commutation is made become destitute, are entitled to a home. The new hospital, called the "Verplanck," after the late President of the Commission, is a very fine build- ing—during the last year nearly 8,000 cases were re- ceived near this is a plain building, the Refuge," which receives destitute emigrants in health, men, women, and children the sexes, of course, are divided. Next to the Refuge is the Lunatic Asylum, for the reception of pauper emigrant lunatics. On the island invalids are treated till they are well; paupers kept until their friends are communicated with, cr em • ployment found them; and the lunatics, alas perhaps kept till death. And thus we see the emigrant is protected, advised, and assisted on his way; help is given him to obtain employment ? if sick, he is cared for if destitute, clothed and fed—and all this without costing the State one farthing. Everything is paid for out of the commutation money, one dollar and a half per head. That is to say. out of .£6 6s. I paid for my steer- age passage, 6s. has gone towards the maintenance of this admirable institution—admirable in its conception, and admirable in the way it is worked. In spite of the vigilance of the Commissioners and the Castle Garden officials, some people will not be protected, and consequently fall amongst thieves. For the litter, if caught, there is speedy retribution. I will conclude with the following extract from the speech of Judge Bedford, when charging the grand jury a few days ago; and I hope his words will be read across the Atlantic, as a proof that the great American nation and the State of New York desire in every way to succour the poor emigrant from the Old World: Gentlemen, I desire also at this time to call your attention to a class of criminals known as emigrant swindlers, be- cause at this season of the year thousands of poor emigrants are flocking to our shore* to better their condition. They flee from unrequited toil in Europe to the more remunera- tive labour fields of America, arriving here in many in- stances almost penniless, and always friendless I hold that the man so devoid of all principle and depraved in heart as to rob these poor strangers is base enoaght to commit almost any crime. Therefore, if any such cases come before you, I hope you will act speedily in the premises, and your efforts to stop thia cruel and nefarious business shall meet with hearty co-operation from the District Attorney and myself, and any such case shall be punished promptly and to the lull extent of the law.








HfeaUaitemts JnttUigttitt,