The Chicago Foreign Language Press Survey was published in 1942 by the Chicago Public Library Omnibus Project of the Works Progress Administration of Illinois. The purpose of the project was to translate and classify selected news articles that appeared in the foreign language press from 1855 to 1938. The project consists of 120,000 typewritten pages translated from newspapers of 22 different foreign language communities of Chicago.

Read more about this historic project.

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  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- November 28, 1871
    [Political Corruption]

    In the "N. Stettiner Zeitung" we find the following letter of a former Chicagoan:

    "I have read your invitation to send contributions for aid to the fire victims in Chicago, but, even though I have been for over five years an inhabitant of that unfortunate city, I will not heed it. And though I well know that I owe nobody an explanation for this omission, I still believe I should give you the following information in the interest of the collections that, it seems, you plan to send to the Mayor of the city. You are, of course, acquainted with the corruption of the city administration in New York, the perennial topic of the newspapers - well, quite the same situation exists in Chicago, a city which, as an enormously wealthy commercial center has naturally a colossal municipal budget. As you know, all the administrative officials are elective, but the elections are strongly reminiscent of those of ancient Rome, that is to say, he who throws to the mob the biggest feasts, and provides it with the most liquor and beer, gets the richest offices, like the Majoralty, the City and County Clerkships etc.

    As the money you are collecting will flow into the hands of these men who were elected by the Irish mob - that part of it that will not directly go into 2their own pockets will, for the sake of the next election, be distributed primarily among the Irish voting cattle, while the Germans who, on the whole, do not permit themselves to be used as "voting cattle", will be left holding the bag. The only thing to do, is to send the money to the German Consul in Chicago, Mr. H. Claussenius, the co-organizer of the collections for our wounded during the French War".

    The above letter certainly proves once more that the German is nothing so much as an eternal carper; also that somebody can have lived in Chicago for five years without knowing what went on around him. The assertion that the Irish mob elects the officials of Chicago is so far off, that one almost begins to doubt the five-year-long stay in Chicago of the writer. It is well-known that it is not the Irish but the Germans who furnish the largest number of votes next to the Americans, and who determine with rare exceptions (as, for example, in 1869) the character of the city administration. In any case the author of the letter should have waited with his forward calumniations till after the election of November 7. He would then have come to a very different 3judgement. Even before November 7 his judgement was not justified, because long before that day the administration of the aid fund had been put into the hands of the General Relief Association, against whom nobody can raise any objection. But to condemn without ascertaining the facts, unfortunately, is the habit of so many of our countrymen who are suffering from superficiality in every respect. The letter-writer of the Stettiner Zeitung spoke the sentence without any further ado, though he obviously had not been any more in Chicago at the time of the fire, and though he could not have known anything of the happenings in Chicago after the fire....

    In the "N. Stettiner Zeitung" we find the following letter of a former Chicagoan: "I have read your invitation to send contributions for aid to the fire victims in Chicago, ...

    German
    I F 4, I F 6
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- December 25, 1871
    Civil Service Reform

    The plan of civil service reform which the President has adopted finds in the press of both parties on the whole, a favorable reception.............

    ....The Philadelphia "Democrat" expresses an opinion that has been uttered before by both the Anzeiger des Westens and the Illinois Staats-Zeitung, namely, that a thorough cure and structural change of our civil service presupposes quite different things than competitive examinations and advancements. The Democrat asks:

    "Who examines? And in what are the candidates examined?.....How does it come that in spite of all the enormous exertions , and all the violent agitation, nothing worth while can be achieved when it comes to actual reform? Is it not like a curse lying on the country? How is it to be explained that the fetters of corruption cannot be shaken off? The cause of it all is that the nation puts almost no emphasis on education for a definite profession. A 2 general, superficial elementary education is supposed to suffice as preparation for anything. There exists, therfore, no special training for the profession of a state official. up to now it was maintained that the civil service should not become a profession. It was looked upon as political booty. That has now been recognized as an error....Officials who are not trained in their profession, who are not proficient in it, become superficial, unscrupulous, and finally the prey of fraud and corruption. They can have no respect for their profession, can find no honor in it... And with that lack all morality, all sense of honor, is finally destroyed. Let us look to Germany. What strict schooling every official there has to go through! Everybody who seeks an office must possess the highest education that can be gained. Through training and high moral and intellectual education the majority of the German officials stand far above any breath of corruption. But they also stand assured of regular advancement and of the permanency of their jobs, which cannot be taken from themby order of a minister, of of the head of the state, himself... Besides everybody who is incapacitated by sickness or old age receives a decent pension....It is thanks to these factors that officialdom in Germany stands on so high a level. Can we not get it as high in our Republic? Many 3obstacles will have to be overcome, but nothing should prevent us from taking the first step, which is the obtaining of education. Nothing should prevent us!"

    What the Philadelphia Democrat here describes as a necessity is a dietetic cure of the evil, instead of a cure through patent medicines. However, as in the field of body medicine, so America is in the field of political medicine, and is still far from having recognized, that not drugs but a sensible way of living is the only thorough cure. As the sick body is to be cured through pills and electuaries, so the disease-ridden body politic shall recover through laws and regulations. This political quackery stands exactly on the same level as the benevolent, patriarchal despotism of the 18th Century. The day will come when one will realize that in America, but it has not yet dawned.

    The plan of civil service reform which the President has adopted finds in the press of both parties on the whole, a favorable reception............. ....The Philadelphia "Democrat" expresses an opinion ...

    German
    I F 6, III H, II B 2 d 1, I A 1 a
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- December 28, 1871
    [Salary Reductions Voluntarily Imposed]

    In yesterday's meeting of the Police Commissioners something amazing happened, something which is without precedent in the annals of American officaldom. The only German among the three commissioners, moved to send a petition to the Legislature in Springfield to reduce the annual salary of each commissioner from $3000 to $500.

    As explanation for this motion, Mr. Jacob Rehm pointed to the extremely urgent necessity of reducing the expenses of city and county, and to the fact, that the Police commissioners if they don't want to loaf idly around in the offices, could not possibly be occupied there for more than a few hours a day (because of the managm ent lying in the hands of the Superintendent). These short hours of work, however, would be paid sufficiently with $500; at least he would be willing to do it for that much. In that way the city could save $7,500 annually from the commissioners. Enough to rebuild a police station...At any rate, no law could force an official to accept a higher salary than he thought sufficient.

    So the German commissioner believed. The American, M. Talcott, opined that $500 would really be too little. To indemnify the commissioners for their time a salary of $1,200 would not be too high. However, he would not insist but gladly be satisfied with as little as Mr. Rehm.

    2

    A most vehement protest against the motion, however, came from the third Commissioner, the Irishman, Mark Sheridan. This nobleman, who was elected two years ago as a representative of the virtuous, trough-licking party, (Peoples' Party) whined miserably about the sacrifice expected from him. He had, so he insisted, given up all his other business activities in order to dedicate himself entirely to the service of the fatherland. His whole time, his most zealous industry, was going, so he said, into his office, and he, for his part, could not do it cheaper than for $3,000.

    But nothing he said availed. The American joined the German at the vote and the noble Irishman was swamped.

    The Legislature at Springfield will be making eyes!...What should it do? Refuse to consider the motion?.....

    Is the example of the Police Commissioners going to be imitated? Are our County Clerks, our Clerks of the Superior Court, our Sheriffs, going to move to have their salaries cut to one sixth? Alas, it is to be feared that we will have to wait for that a long time....

    In yesterday's meeting of the Police Commissioners something amazing happened, something which is without precedent in the annals of American officaldom. The only German among the three commissioners, moved to ...

    German
    I F 5, I F 6, I C
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- February 12, 1872
    Graft and Corruption

    Judge McAllister has issued a Writ of Error for Alderman Busse who has left the county prison after his father-in-law put up a $5,000.00 bond.

    The arguments of Attorney Emory A. Starrs for his demand of issue of a Writ of Error were as follows:

    1. The proposal of an official to be bribed could not be viewed as act that is to be punished as if the bribe had really been given and received, and the court had recognized this view at least in part as correct.

    2. Neither in the United States nor in England existed in the history of the courts a case that an official had been found guilty in a similar way as Busse.

    3. The witnesses have testified that Busse was already in favor of the acquisition of Goggin's lot, before his conversation with Goggin....

    5. The States Attorney had with some success, misinterpreted the fact that

    2

    Busse sent Goggin to Walsh. Walsh expressly observed when a sum of money that should be deposited was mentioned, that one should not tell Busse about it.......

    7. The instructions given the jurors actually led the jurors astray.

    Judge McAllister has issued a Writ of Error for Alderman Busse who has left the county prison after his father-in-law put up a $5,000.00 bond. The arguments of Attorney Emory ...

    German
    I F 6
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- February 19, 1872
    [A German Scapegoat]

    Do the Police Commissioners want to create at any cost the impression that only German Scrapegoats are to be made responsible for the worthlessness of the Fire Department? Nobody can read the testimony of witnesses before the Commission without arriving at the conviction that Williams is at least as much responsible for the debauched condition of the Fire Department as Schank.

    However, Schank is forced to resign, while Williams remains unharmed. Messrs. Jacob Rehm and Mancel Talcott are responsible for the result of the investigation. If they want to cover the main culprits by spanking some German whipping boys, than they may be assured that the German voters will look through their maneuvers.

    Do the Police Commissioners want to create at any cost the impression that only German Scrapegoats are to be made responsible for the worthlessness of the Fire Department? Nobody can ...

    German
    I C, I F 4, I F 6
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- February 23, 1872
    Statement by the Ex-Assistant Fire Marshal, John Schank.

    To the Editor of the Illinois Staats Zeitung:

    I think it my duty to make a public statement about what occurred in the investigation that Fire Marshal Williams initiated against me.

    Every non-partisan will have to admit that my case was prejudged, and that everything was agreed upon before Williams made the complaint against me, that he wanted to force me to resign, because I am a German by birth, and Williams wanted to have no German in his department. (Schank then mentions frequent instances when Williams was drunk).

    2

    I am ready to prove, that if Williams had followed my advice during the Great Fire on Sunday, we would have succeeded in restricting the fire to the West Side. I advised him to fight the fire with the engines from in front; instead he attacked it from behind and so drove it over to the South Side. Then he lost his courage and his head and lay down for rest in some hidden place. So the fate of Chicago was sealed, because this place had a fire marshal who cowardly left his post. While he slept, I fought heroically. Williams showed himself on the South Side only, accompanied by men and cars of the department in order to remove his own belongings out of his boarding house. Did he save, on that memorable day, any property but his own?

    If he did, it is not known to the public........

    To the Editor of the Illinois Staats Zeitung: I think it my duty to make a public statement about what occurred in the investigation that Fire Marshal Williams initiated against ...

    German
    I F 6, I C
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- April 16, 1872
    The Hecker Meeting in the Hall of the Turn Society Vorwarts.

    The meeting was opened by Dr. Schmidt. Schmidt declined the chairmanship; Franz Lackner was elected to preside. On taking over his office Mr. Lackner made a speech:

    "We who are not actuated by any personal interest, whom the well-being of the country and a feeling of duty alone drive to participate in politics, - we have long felt that it is time that the people take the reins of the party in their hands. In view of the terrible corruption inactivity begins to be a crime. We declare war against the administration:! Reform is our battle-cry and with that we will victoriously advance! From German throats this cry has issued, and already the whole of Germandom stands united!(?)"

    (Footnote: The Illinois Staats inserts the question mark).

    2

    After Hecker's speech resolutions were adopted containing the following main points:

    Preservation of the Federal Consititution and the utmost possible decentralization; civil service reform, adoption of the one term principle, (for the presidency), and energetic repression of the monopolies; tariff for revenues and restriction of all prohibitive and force legislation.

    A permanent committee was formed, composed of Dr. Ernst Schmidt, Louis Schultz, Wilhelm Ruhl, Gustav Korn......Franz Lackner, Hermann Lieb, Georg Vocke, Richard Michaelis, Gonrad Seipp and others.

    The meeting was opened by Dr. Schmidt. Schmidt declined the chairmanship; Franz Lackner was elected to preside. On taking over his office Mr. Lackner made a speech: "We who are ...

    German
    I F 6, III A, I H, IV
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- June 10, 1872
    [Railroad Monopoly]

    The following weighty article was written by Friedrich Hecker in the sick room to which he unfortunately is still confined, and where he now studies the question of the Railroad Monopolies:

    Production, exchange, trade and traffic are already the slaves of this monopoly. Due to the millions with which these modern "Princes Taxis" can buy advocates, legislatures, and newspapers the subjugation proceeds quietly with a giant's steps. Soon they will command national politics, too, and it is time that the press unceasingly raises the hue and cry, so as to move public opinion to take hold of the matter in all seriousness.

    The question of these monopolies is much more important than all the endless gossip about the good and the bad qualities of this or that candidate for an office.

    2

    The question is all the more difficult as the taking over the railroads by the United States would open the doors to centralization and bureaucratic power. Yet it is undeniable that such a centralization in the hands of powerful combinations already exists, and that men like Sickles, Vanderbilt, Carpenter and others, hold a royal and more than royal power..

    To emphasize only one point and to show the public how it is being cheated: The highest freight rates are charged for the short distances. That is to say, the transport to the nearest market is most weighted down by the monopolists. The producer gets less for his products and the consumer, in the big cities, pays excessive, yes, real starvation prices. The difference between the product and the consumption fills the pockets of the railroad prices.

    The following weighty article was written by Friedrich Hecker in the sick room to which he unfortunately is still confined, and where he now studies the question of the Railroad ...

    German
    I D 1 a, I F 6
  • Skandinaven -- October 23, 1872
    [Wealthy Burglar Caught]

    Sunday, at 2 o'clock in the morning, our countryman, Doctor Carlemann, residing at 166 N. Curtis St., was disturbed in his sleep by the barking of his dog. The doctor went to the front door and found a man trying to break in. He grabbed the man's arm and held him until the police arrived. The burglar, however, attempted twice to shoot the doctor, but missed.

    The burglar was taken to the station and identified as Mr. William Keller, a well-to-do man, owner of several tug-boats. Keller's gun was found. Keller was released on $500 bond for attempted murder. Let the citizens get together next time Mr. Keller attempts burglarizing and handle the case. The police do not seem to take any interest in murder cases. As usual, politics!

    Sunday, at 2 o'clock in the morning, our countryman, Doctor Carlemann, residing at 166 N. Curtis St., was disturbed in his sleep by the barking of his dog. The doctor ...

    Norwegian
    II E 3, I F 6
  • Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- January 25, 1874
    Health Department Negligent (Editorial)

    During the past few days the Illinois Staats-Zeitung has received numerous complaints that the Health Department of our city is very negligent about posting notices on homes where there are cases of smallpox. For instance, the house (in North Larrabee Street) occupied by the rich American Weed family that has been visited by the terrible disease, bears no yellow sign to warn that it is dangerous to enter. Several members of the Weed family have suffered from the disease for more than six weeks. Still the house has not yet been quarantined; even the postman who is duty-bound to visit the house nearly every day, knew nothing about the illness of these people until yesterday when he learned by accident (and then convinced himself) that a yellow sign is nailed to the rear door. The same condition is prevalent at 41 Goethe Street and at other places. In recent times several foreigners have been severely dealt with by the city authorities for not placing yellow signs at the place prescribed by law.

    2

    They deserved to be punished. But the wealthy should be no exception to the rule. The Health Department will do well to look into this matter. It will do no good whatever to force people to submit to vaccination, if thoughtless spreading of the plague is encouraged. A postman could easily transmit the germs of the disease from home to home. We advise Mr. Weed to immediately attach the yellow sign to the front door of his palatial residence.

    And the Reverend Robert Laird Collier who is well informed on the matter, as we positively know from a very reliable source, and who even voted twice on November 4, (no doubt for the purpose of giving special expression to his pious convictions) would do something really humane and Christian, if he raised his holy voice against such flagrant transgressions of the law.

    During the past few days the Illinois Staats-Zeitung has received numerous complaints that the Health Department of our city is very negligent about posting notices on homes where there are ...

    German
    I M, I F 6