Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

IMMIGRATION BY PASSPORT.

HERE is a strong tendency Liberty slips easily into license; we are impa

- strongest perhaps in the tient of restraint; we legislate in crude ways; worthiest if not greatest our political action is without moral earnestminds—to contend unduly ness and dignity. In the main, we have folfor an ideal state of society. lowed in the line of the early ideals, but we We could not advance one insist on them in a blind way; we turn them step without this tendency, into a cry and use them in a wholesale way

but the excess of it is to be and without much regard to consequences: guarded against in practical social science.“ It is a free country - keep it free; the asyThe tendency to push some one principle lum of the poor and oppressed – let them through to its ideal end, to make some few come; the refuge from tyranny — open wide laws universal, and in so doing to override the ports; the land of equal rights - give every other principles and laws that are less obtrusive man an equal chance." It will not be denied or that wear the suspicious garb of expediency, that these are brave words, full of noble senis one which has always characterized and timents, nor that the realization of them is to vitiated human thought,- balanced, indeed, be sought. The only question is whether we and rendered serviceable by even a stronger can carry all this sail of lofty purpose and tendency to tread the path of mere expediency. keep a steady keel; whether we must not balHence such men as George Fox and Fourier, last the ship of State with solid citizenship inShelley and Emerson. The thing never to stead of filling its decks with a promiscuous be forgotten by one engaged in the study throng. There is no question as to the value of great subjects is that every principle, law, of liberty and equality and humanity as social and method has its limits, and that it is factors, but only by what process they are to played upon by other forces that seem to be be realized. Public opinion inclines to the view opposite. The constant temptation is to be that they are to be assumed with all their income fascinated with either unity or com- cidental evils, which are to be endured, or plexity, forgetting one while we kneel before worked out, or left to correct themselves unthe other. The wise man encounters no ques- der their own educating and disciplining proction more difficult than how far to insist on esses. ideal, and how far to be content with imper- Another preliminary question-one which fect, conditions. It is the steadily recurring perplexes many minds—is: Should this nation, question between the conservative and the in view of its providential history and the diradical, and in every-day life, without which vineness of its institutions, be interfered with ? the judgment would have no field of action, - a weighty question, for few will deny that and that thing called wisdom or common there is a mysterious force directing the course sense would have no existence because no of history, which is best named as Providence. ground of exercise. To pursue ideals or to To determine the relation between Divine will consult expediency is small tax on our pow- and human conduct is the never-settled probers; rightly to join them is the special function lem in philosophy, and will not be raised here of wisdom.

beyond saying that its application to national This nation began its career under lofty and to individual life is the same. Providence ideals; personal liberty, freedom of conscience, does not relieve either the individual or the social equality, government in the interest of nation from the necessity of using its faculties the poor and defenseless, the contrast of the in determining action. It was a favorite exideas and methods prevailing in Europe which pression of Dr. Mulford, that “the nation prompted the first emigrations. The early set- fulfills its vocation in freedom," by which he tlers took up the line of progress in England, meant, in part, that it is itself to work out its but leaped over its intermediate stages and life by self-chosen processes. It is as free as formed a State of almost ideal perfection in man, and is not a necessary evolution of cerits political forms. It can hardly be said that tain forces, nor the product of certain printhis nation developed its institutions; it de- ciples blindly followed and turned into laws creed them, and the struggle has been to live of fate. up to them. We are finding out that we have Such considerations as these underlie our too much liberty and too little restriction ; subject and meet in advance the position of enough law but a vast amount of lawlessness. those who would settle this question of foreign immigration with the brief logic that we are a favorably. There is a certain trend or profree nation and must continue free; that, hav- pulsive force wrought into tribes and families ing started out as the asylum of the poor and — the product of climate, food, habits, relig. oppressed, we should continue in this line, ion, and general environment — that seems come what may; a logic that hurries into destined to go on its own way and in its own thoughtless enthusiasm, and cap-in-air hurrahs, place. The ancient emigrations were not rapid and stump oratory over the vast resources and movements, but a slow pressing out, covering glorious privileges of this country, “the big- a degree of space in a generation, or moving gest on earth and quite able to take care of along lines of similar environment. When a itself,”- a proposition that need not be dis- family moves to remote countries and mingles puted, but may be objected to as a substitute with other families, the subtle currents of for statesmanship.

thought and physical habit combine inharThis method of reasoning was universal a moniously and with mutual injury. The generation ago, but it has given place in mustangs of Mexico are the descendants of thoughtful minds to solicitude before the start- the Arab horse and are fit representatives of ling facts of immigration and the transforma- their riders. When the ripe or over-ripe apple tions of social and political life which threaten of Mexico drops into our lap, it will be to follow. One may not be popular who con- when an ill-combined blood has no longer tends for a closer restriction of immigration, enough vitality to retain its hold. The combut one may be sure of an audience which binations of races by emigration which have has sufficiently swerved from traditional no- been most successful have been that slow tions to be open to conviction.

spreading of the Aryan along the Mediterra. The Declaration of Independence has been nean and northward, where it met no change thought to stand in the way of a restricted of environment for which it was not prepared, immigration. It is a brave utterance, but it is encountering tribes similarly nurtured, which not a binding document. The organic law of it absorbed or annihilated; and that in Great the country offers no impediment to a sharply Britain where the Teutonic tribes and the restricted immigration. While it defines and Normans made a short journey into a land guards citizenship, especially by its amend- not unlike their own. The Roman left no ments, it does not prescribe the terms on population in Britain. It does not follow which citizenship may be transferred from that because tribes are of the Aryan stock other nations to this,- a matter that is left to they can safely mingle; the propulsive force State legislation; nor does it invite or forbid of long-continued diverse environment may the transfer of other populations to this coun- stand in the way. This point is emphasized try. The silence of the Constitution on so grave by the fact that the invading emigrations a subject plainly indicates that it is to be re- carried their institutions with them, and, by garded as a matter for legislation, which may conquering, secured for themselves the best vary according to circumstances.

possible environment and preserved their origIt is a sound political principle that it is the inal habits. The successful emigrations did not first duty of a nation to secure the conditions conform to the ways of the countries to which necessary to its physical life.

they went, but, crossing the narrow sea, did not It was once a favorite theory among so- change their mind. The emigrations that have ciologists that the perfect nation would be promoted civilization have been invasions by gained through the amalgamation of all races, stronger tribes which carried and kept their the typical man being the union of all institutions. Before such a fact a nation may a plausible idea and one wearing a religious well hesitate to admit an emigration of a color, reflected from the declaration that of weaker element which is required to give up one blood are all the nations of the earth. its institutions. If it should prove beneficial, But science no longer permits us to think in it would contradict all historical precedents. this direction. Whatever it may ultimately Nothing justifies a nation in admitting an emisay of the origin of man, it has plainly shown gration which cannot become both a healthy that the best development of man is along blood-factor and a sympathetic element in certain fixed racial lines closely adhered to. its population. Any mingling of the three families, the white, Such considerations are usually set aside the yellow, the black, is always attended as too general to enter into the practical conwith disastrous physical and moral results. duct of a nation, and as pertaining to natural When the Aryan forsakes his family and min- science rather than to government; but it is gles with either of the others, he mingles only through indifference to just such generalities to produce a progeny which runs out after a and scientific facts that nations are involved few increasingly weak generations. Nor do in calamities, confusions, and conflicts which remote branches of the same family unite last through centuries. The hardest problems before this country are not moral, for the tion of life,- overriding morals, or rather, creamoral is amenable to effort; it generates its ting its own law of morals. Such scientific own course, cures its own evils, and transforms scrutiny might embrace certain classes of cerby its own divine alchemy. Our problems tain nations, and especially that stratum of are largely physiological, — how to mingle, or foreign population which has sunk below the rather not mingle, our diverse bloods so that average of its own national life. There is in the physical stock shall not degenerate, and all Europe an immense pauper class physically how to keep the strong, fine strain ascendant and mentally incapable of recuperation, fixed, We have already several such problems on like a natural species, in an enduring form, hand. The fatal feature of the early importa- and another large class hovering on its border. tion of blacks was not slavery,- for a strong In the changes brought about by steam navination may long safely cherish such an insti- gation it is becoming possible for such poputution,- but their presence as a large fraction lations to come hither in great numbers. Our and factor of the population. This problem wharves and cities already swarm with them, cannot now be touched practically; ancient held back only by some feeble enactments as wrong binds the nation hand and foot, and its to paupers, which have regard only to our pauoutcome must be awaited as we await the per institutions and not to the effect upon the gathering of tempests,- powerless to avert, vitality and well-being of the nation itself. and trembling over the steady approach. We There are no enactments that are scientific; have also the Indian, happily a lessening fac- none that make close and reasonable discrimitor, and probably not one to become a blood- nation, or other than is based on economic element nor a political force in the national interests. This is, indeed, a good general life. There is a graver problem in that im- ground to go upon, based as it is on the prinmense population in the South-west, liable ciple that a man who can get across the Atat any time to be increased by additions of lantic can earn his living. Property is to a Mexican territory, a population of mixed certain degree an evidence of fitness, and, like Spanish and Indian blood, sharing in the de- children, is a hostage to fortune. But a nageneracy of the stronger stock and the inher- tion is something more than economic; it is ent weakness of the other. In California this physical and intellectual and moral and politipopulation was overwhelmed and nearly ex- cal. If immigration is to be restricted at all, it terminated by the sudden and vast movement should be on a basis inclusive of qualifications from the East in '49, but in New Mexico and beyond those of property. the Mexico that is coming such a process It is also a sound principle that a nation cannot be expected. This population will en- should secure, so far as possible, political ter, a weak and vitiating element, into the homogeneousness. national body, where it will work immense In those nations where the government is mischief. In the mingling of greatly diverse monarchical, and therefore largely by force, bloods the weaker drags down the stronger. there may safely be a lack of homogeneousNature, in such a case, does not work towards ness so long as the force is superior to the a cure, but by destruction protests against the divergent influences, but in a democracy homistake. The Indian drew the Spanish to- mogeneousness is the first requisite. If the wards itself, and the mingled blood will act in people of a democracy do not think and feel like manner,- a vitiating element, too large within certain lines of sympathy they will not in these new territories to be crowded out act together, and in that case the attitude of as was done in California. This nation has one party or class will be regarded by others already had two lessons on this subject, and as tyrannical. Government which is not underhas their unsolved problems on hand; namely, stood always wears that aspect. the negro, with whom the white mingles fa- This nation began its career with a fair detally, and the Mexican, with whom he mingles gree of homogeneousness. The Puritan and the only to his hurt. It would seem to be the Cavalier, the Dutchman and the Quaker, at part of statesmanship to scrutinize this matter least understood each other, and cooperated inof race-mingling. Science is forcing theology, telligently in the formation of the government. jurisprudence, sociology, to face facts and to But we are to-day breeding a diversity in rechange theories and methods, and it would ligions, languages, customs, conditions, blood, not be amiss for statesmen to consult science sentiments, and temperaments such as no naas to what populations shall enter the ports tion, except possibly Russia, ever experienced. of New York and San Francisco. It is the Granting the assimilating power of free and right and the duty of a nation, however origi- favoring institutions, of climate, food, educanally constituted, to prevent physical degen- tion, and moral effort, the question remains eration of its stock. It is akin to that first duty whether the nation is able to digest the heteroand instinct of the individual, the preserva- geneous masses it is taking in. If we could rid ourselves of that blind optimism which seems the mob, but so widens the range of the price to be the political vice of the American people, of labor that the American laborer cannot enand look at this process with a calm and dure the competition. Thus, the foreigner first measuring eye, it would wear its proper cast of depresses the labor market and then joins in audacity. Our politics play in limited fields- a murderous struggle for its rise. Capital and fisheries on the North and border-quarrels blind statesmanship are simply reaping what on the South — and are mostly a strife of they have sown: they wanted cheap labor, parties to get in and keep out. The questions but, having got it, they are finding it dear,which are bearing the nation on to an un- a hopeless complication, because the largest certain destiny are passed by and left to work and strongest factor in it is incapable of reathemselves out as may happen. The national son, distrustful of employers and superiors, life has been so simple that we have not been hostile to law, suspicious of all except those trained to consider complex and subtle ques- of its own class, capable of great endurance, tions. The very perfection of our institutions and familiar only with indirect and brutal tempts us to leave them to enforce themselves, means of gaining ends; hopeless, also, because as an engineer may be tempted to sleep be- this main factor is both unfit and unwilling to fore a good engine. Meanwhile, great generic enter upon the only possible solution of the changes are taking place in the composition of labor question; namely, an intelligent and cothe nation beside which the general run of our operative relation to employers. The ground political questions is of the smallest account. A for the elevation of this class does not yet prenation must do more than administer its laws sent itself; it shows but little sign of tendency and enforce its precedents. There is no charm in right directions save in individual cases; nor secret power in institutions that renders the mass gravitates towards the atheistic and them self-operative or self-preserving. We anarchical parties, or if it escapes this direction, dwell on the formation of the government as it falls under the control of the saloon politithe great fact of our history, and honor the cians, when the doom of its political value is founders by ascribing almost the weight of law irrevocably fixed. The ignorant emigrant to their intentions; but questions as new and does not fall into the embrace of free instituradical as those which engaged them are con- tions and education and Christian civilization; stantly arising, and among them is the one these angels do not welcome bim at Castle under discussion. Instead of an immigration Garden, nor get much access to him later on. from kindred stocks, mainly homogeneous in That other angel, which if not tutelar is premorals and political principles, as at the first, siding,— the saloon,- takes him in charge we have one literally of all sorts and condi- and educates him in its political creed of spoils tions of men. “Let them come,” cries the and brutality. The Scandinavian peasant takpolitical optimist ; “we can take care of ing land in Minnesota is but a small sample them,”— indifferent to the possibility of a of immigration : the greater part of it goes to social compound that may explode, like care- the cities where already is one-tenth of our lessly mixed chemicals.

population, and it is in cities that the foreigner There is flowing into this country an im- is to learn the graces of American citizenship. mense stream of foreigners who are not only when it is remembered that the municipal ignorant, in every sense of the word, but who governments of our larger cities are simply are worn out by poverty and oppression, ex- schools of intrigue and corruption, and occahausted in vitality, and sunk below all pos- sions of plunder to which almost any bold man sibility of recovery except by processes as can put his hand, we need not expect any great long as those which have made them what improvement in the foreigner; he becomes simthey are. Five hundred years of political ply another fang of the serpent that is poisoning training lie behind and enter into the Amer- the life of the nation. To meet this growing ican citizen ; it has taken that time to teach influx of chaotic and depraved citizenship men how to vote and to govern themselves, but we have only some feeble and ineffective we are now creating their peers in as many legislation against the importation of paupers months. These foreigners are not simply and insane. This country can be made an here, but they are here clad with citizen- asylum for the poor and oppressed, but it is ship, to act and to be used, make-weights to neither a hospital nor a foundling institution. be thrown on the side of any party that may It is not within its vocation to receive the sick win them, the special tool of the saloon poli- and cure them of their age-long diseases; nor tician, open to bribery, ready to be massed in the unborn, as it were, of other nations, and labor troubles and the chief factor in them. deliver them into political life. We are free The almost hopeless complications of the and humane, but not for this. labor question are wholly due to this foreign This degraded and heterogeneous population element, which not only leads and comprises is already seriously felt in both municipal and national legislation. More and more it assumes It now costs thirty dollars or less to transthe form of evasion and compromise and bar- port a Bohemian or Italian from his home to gaining, or undisguised action in favor of some our ports, and five dollars more will place class. It busies itself about trifles in order to him in the middle of the continent. Absoavoid questions of real importance. In munici. lute paupers cannot make this journey, and pal government the main feature is jobbery, there are laws shutting them out, the only and in national government, patronage and penalty of which is the trouble of taking back retention of power. The only steady and those who may be detected as paupers or inuncompromising force in politics is the saloon, sane. The feebleness of the legislation is exan institution of American origin but now al- ceeded by the weakness of its enforcement. most wholly in the hands of foreigners of the Consequently, we are already burdened with first or second generation,- the bright, con- a large element of European paupers and insummate flower of the policy of unrestricted sane. Our beggars are nearly all foreigners, immigration. Such processes cannot go much and nearly one-third of our insane are immifarther without causing paralysis of legislative grants,-a fact that emphasizes nearly every action. The strong point in Mr. Gladstone's point that has been named. This proneness Home Rule policy is his plea that the Irish tơ insanity among immigrants reveals their question blocks legislation. But several ques- worn-out vitality, their ignorance, and their tions of like nature are looming up in our inability to endure so great a change ; it is horizon,-questions based on race or religion the protest of nature against it. But there is or deep-rooted prejudice; questions which a class just above that of the pauper, and into draw their support from ignorance or climatic which it is constantly slipping, hardly more temperament, or from long-endured wrongs, desirable, which now avails itself of this like agrarian abuses. Such questions produce cheap transportation. The foreign element is a state of things quite different from that not only increasing, but it is deteriorating. caused by the rivalry of political parties in a It is beneath the dignity of argument to conhomogeneous state. These are normal, and tend that much of the immigration from necessary to healthy political life. But the Irish Southern and Central Europe, and some also member not only votes for Ireland every time, of that from England and Ireland, is unfit, on but votes against everything else; and Mr. physical, moral, and political grounds, for inParnell commands the situation. The example corporation into American life. It is equally is fraught with instruction. The struggle of beyond dispute that it constitutes a large facEngland since those early conflicts which tor in labor troubles, crowding the market Milton describes as the “wars of kites and and depressing wages below the American crows” has been to govern a heterogeneous living point. Mr. Carroll D. Wright, in his people. This history is to be viewed favora- first annual report as Commissioner of Lably only on Pope's principle that " whatever bor, tells us that already 31.9 per cent. of our is, is right," but is not a history that states- mechanical laborers are immigrants, and, while manship should aim to repeat.

recognizing their value in some respects, finds The statistics of foreign immigration and in the fact a main cause of overproduction the sources of it are so well known that they and excessive competition. His wise inferscarcely need mention. In the last thirty ence is that this immigration should be reyears, seven and a half millions of immigrants stricted for the sake of a sound industry. have come to us,- a considerable fraction of Equally weighty considerations of a political the present population. They and their chil- and moral nature could be urged. Baneful as dren number fifteen millions, or one-fourth of the process and the degree of it are, it seems the people. During the decade ending in likely to go on in geometrical ratio. Larger 1884 the immigration numbered about four and swifter ships, cheaper railway transportamillions. Much of this is in the same racial tion, the crowding out in Europe, its military line with our own – English, Teutonic, and laws, the increasing attractions on this contiScandinavian — and so far as blood goes re- nent, and especially the fact that overproducenforces the national type. But whatever is tion here through immigration reacts on the gained in this respect is more than offset by labor market there,— such are the forces that the blacks, and the mixed Spanish and Indian swell the current. Thus, the greater the immipopulations of the South-west, so that we still gration the faster will it increase, and without have from ten to fifteen millions utterly alien possibility of end till the balance in populato our stock, and for the most part unfit for tions and resources is reached, and America citizenship. Generalizing these statistics, we becomes, in one brief, rapid rush of changing have the grave fact that one-fifth of our popula- population, another Europe,- a work which, tion is either of blood outside of the national if done at all, should fill centuries. Europe strain or defective in political capacity. is steady and strong, so far as it is so, be

« AnteriorContinuar »