Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
August 1864

Wheeling Daily Intelligencer
August 10, 1864

What our Commissioner of Immigration is Doing. - The Prospects and Wants of the New State Abroad.

We are indebted to Mr. Pollack for the following private letter from Mr. Debar. It will be read with interest.

St. Clara Colony, Doddridge Co. W.Va.
23rd July, 1864.

Augustus Pollock, Wheeling, W.Va.:

Dear Sir - Your favor of last month announcing receipt of my circular came to hand just as I was starting east. Your second of the 18th reached me yesterday, together with the Wheeling Intelligencer, containing Mr. Campbell's recommendatory notice of your zealous and truly welcome co-operation. I feel highly encouraged to see the matter taken hold of in this earnest business style, and sincerely hope you may succeed, among the rest, in impressing your neighbors with the fact, that no scheme of personal profit or promotion is lurking behind the official character of my agency, as is unfortunately but too often the case in similar undertakings here.

I am acting under the conviction, based upon personal experience and ample information, that measures for the inducement of immigration, in order to prevent abuses here and inspire confidence abroad, ought to be under the authority and the auspices of the State. Otherwise the time and labor I am now gratuitously devoting to this enterprise, would be so far as I am personally concerned much more profitably employed in using my opportunities for the colonization of tracts of waste lands in which I could easily procure a private interest.

I have now progressed far enough to satisfy myself that notwithstanding the prejudices cultivated against us at the sources and landing ports of emigration, we will command a reasonable share of the influx so soon as the perils of war are shifted from our immediate vicinity, and we devote the necessary means and industry to the attainment of that object.

In northern and central Germany the press has already very favorably commended our enterprise. In the south, at Stuttgart and Munich, I have secured the agency of influential officials and writers, and in Switzerland I am corresponding with the President of the National Emigration Society, Anson Vercin, and our Consuls. In all those parts I have actively connected myself with over thirty correspondents. I have deferred operating in Great Britain and Sweden, because having no personal friends there the introduction of my business in those countries would require disbursements beyond my present resources.

I ought by all means to be enable to spend a week or two at New York no later than September, in order to improve the opportunities of the numerous arrivals there during that month, and to make permanent arrangements for the future. New York will be our principal reliance on this side of the Atlantic, so long as Baltimore remains so unpopular and impracticable as a landing port. I have commenced correspondence with the leading shippers of the latter place, and the President of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, with a view of devising some means for the removal of the objections to that point. For obvious reasons, Baltimore ought to be the seaport of West Virginia .

My expenses up to date, regulated with the utmost economy and discretion, amount to about $125; and I have achieved no more with this sum than barely to bring our enterprise into preliminary notice. All my correspondents in Germany, but one, are exerting their influence gratuitously, but I think that in order to keep their real alive they ought to be indemnified, at least for their inevitable expenses on our behalf.

The above details will enable you, I hope, to corroborate the modest estimate of my wants, as set forth in my circular. - I would be glad to receive any suggestions in regard to improvements, or additions to my German pamphlet, in time for my next edition. A certificate from prominent adopted citizens as to its accuracy, and private letters from them to their friends in Europe, enclosing my cards, &c, would, I think be of valuable assistance. I intend to leave no stone unturned.

I am hard pressed for time in the midst of harvest, and remain yours, dear sir, with sincere regard. J. H. Diss Debar.

Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: Undated: August 1864

West Virginia Archives and History