then, is the history of this movement? Fifty years ago, the foreign element in New England was very small. In Massachusetts the census reports that in 1830 it was only 9,620, and increased as follows: In 1840 it was 34,818; 1850, 164,448; 1860, 260,114; 1870, 357,319; and 1880, 443,402.
It should be borne in mind that these figures represent only the "foreign-born," and not their children or descendants, which would greatly increase the number. In the other New England States the whole foreign element combined is not so large as that in Massachusetts, and has not increased so fast. In Maine, in 1850, it numbered 31,450, and in 1880 it was 58,883; in New Hampshire in 1850, 13,571, and in 1880, 46,294; in Vermont, 1850, 32,931, and 1880, 40,959; in Rhode Island, 1850, 23,111, and in 1880, 73,993; and in Connecticut, 1850, 37,473, and in 1880, 129,992. The whole number of foreign born in New England, reported by the census of 1880, was 793,122, and 360,649 of these emigrated from Ireland.
The census reports the whole population of New England, born in the United States, as 3,234,317, but large numbers reported here as natives are of foreign descent. It is impossible here to draw the line, but, from the best evidences before us, we should say there must be about half as many in this class as that of the foreign-born, which would increase the foreign element to 1,200,000 in New England. It may be larger. The "Catholic Directory" six years ago stated that there were at that time 890,000 souls in New England connected with that church, and the number must have since considerably increased. Then, of the 793,122 reported by the census "foreign-born," there must be a large number of Protestants—being over 100,000 emigrants from England and Scotland. The same organ also six years ago stated that "nearly 25 per cent of the population of New England is composed of Roman Catholics." The census reports the whole population of New England as 4,027,439 in 1880. At the present time (1883) the foreign element must number over 1,200,000 persons in New England.
But it is quite unequally distributed. In Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, it numbers more than a third of the population; but in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, it is not one quarter. As the birth-rate of this class is more than twice as large as the American, the foreign element will constantly gain in numbers upon the American.
Connected with this large addition to our population composed of a different people in race, type, and character, there are several points that deserve careful consideration. A few years ago it was thought that emigration from Ireland would very much diminish, if not cease, but of late it has taken a new start, and may again flourish. Emigration from England and Scotland is sure to continue; so also from the British Provinces and Canada. But this foreign element is destined to increase hereafter more by births than by immigration.