The German Immigrant Henry Heise (1842 - 1917)

Henry's Birthplace
Private Correspondence re:Emigration
The Heises Emigrate to Preston, Canada West
Henry Heise Becomes a Master Cabinetmaker
Henry Heise in Business for Himself
Family of Henry Heise and Dorothea Stumpfle
Descendents Remember Henry Heise


Between 1820 and 1854, about six million Germans left Europe. The exodus jumped from 60,000 per annum in the early 1840's, to 130,000 annually in the years 1847-54. MacDonald cites "a series of crop failures with near famine conditions and rising prices" [24] as the catalyst responsible for this increase.

The founding of the first great German transoceanic lines in 1847, however, appears to be the greatest single factor which doubled emigration figures in that year. The fact that this number remained constant for seven successive years--until 1854--further indicates that the disposing factor was not conditional (eg. the Thuringian potato famine which lasted only two years) but socio-political in nature.

The first steamship line between Germany and the New World was financed with American capital in Bremen in 1847, and a second line was established in Hamburg later that year. [26] The Congress of Vienna (1815) had restored Hamburg's privileges as a "Free City" and had thereby greatly stimulated the commercial initiative of the partician merchants there. The office of the Hamburg-America Line bore the symbolic inscription: Mein Feld ist die Welt ('My field is the world"). The Hamburg merchants were among the most outspoken advocates of Free Trade policies, and encouraged the drain of German labour to America.[27]

Germany had the most organized business of emigration in all of Europe. [28] The steamship companies had their agents in every town and village of the Confederation. And emigrants who were successful sent back large sums of money to help relatives leave the country.

The German government, however, encouraged by the vocal native press and large landowners, opposed large-scale emigration. It censored propaganda which encouraged emigration, and exposed solicitors to a fine or imprisonment. The Times of London reported that "The German Government makes short work with eccentric persons and cracked fools of emigration agents". [29]

Canada didn't work very hard to attract German immigrants. She circulated advertisements along the Rhine, sent special agents to direct emigrants to Canada, and granted European vessels free passage in American waters. But it was not until 1857 that the privileges of British subjects were extended to German immigrants. And Canada, which had no permanent agency in Germany, worked through the Allan Line which sailed from Liverpool and had no direct connection with German ports of embarkation. German steamship agents hesitated to work for indirect lines, because their licenses clearly instructed that they had to book passengers to the New World by the direct route--which eliminated Canada--on German ships.

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24.MacDonald, op.cit., p.214.
25.Reinhardt, op.cit., p.552.
27.Ibid., p.631.
28.MacDonald, loc.cit.
29.Ibid., p.216.