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Written for a juvenile audience, and reflecting the strong anti-slavery sentiments of many 19th century German emigrants to America, The German emigrants; or, Frederick Wohlgemuth's voyage to California, tells the story of Fred Wohlgemuth, a young Prussian boy, who with his family emigrates from Germany to California during the Gold Rush era. During the voyage over, the emigrants' ship encounters the grim wreckage of a Portuguese slave ship and rescues a lone surviving slave, Quaquatalexera. The author has Quaquatalexera relate the gruesome story of the slave ship so "that it becomes a necessary branch of information to young people, especially as none of them know but what, sooner or later, they may emigrate with their parents or relations to those countries where negro slavery is tolerated by law." Upon reaching Cuba later on in their journey, the emigrants join an unsucessful attempt to free a group of black slaves in Havana. Fred and his family finally arrive in San Francisco where they strike it rich in the gold mines.