Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/651

This page has been validated.
629
IMMIGRATION AND CRIME.
share with us the legislation. They will infuse into it their spirit, warp and bias its direction, and render it a heterogeneous, incoherent, distracted mass. I may appeal to experience during the present contest for a verification of these conjectures. But if they be not certain in event are they not possible, are they not probable? Is it not safer to wait with patience twenty-seven years and three months longer for the attainment of any degree of population desired or expected? May not our Government be more homogeneous, more peaceable, more durable? Suppose twenty millions of republican Americans thrown all of a sudden into France, what would be the condition of that kingdom? If it would be more turbulent, less happy, less strong, we may believe that the addition of half a million of foreigners to our present numbers would produce a similar effect here. If they come of themselves they are entitled to all the rights of citizenship, but I doubt the expediency of inviting them by extraordinary encouragements. I mean not that these doubts should be extended to the importation of useful artificers. The policy of that measure depends on very different considerations. (Works, viii, p. 330.)

The prophesy in the above passage has most certainly come true; and the last two sentences are also worth considering. "I mean not," he says, "that these doubts should be extended to the importation of useful artificers. The policy of that measure depends on very different considerations." This will at once be recognized as agreeing exactly with Washington's words where he says, "that except of useful mechanics and some particular descriptions of men or professions there is no need of encouragement." Washington, though strongly opposed to the admission of foreign officers in the army, had made exceptions in the case of certain artillerists and engineers, who he said were needed to teach us some of the fine points of gunnery and construction, and in his objection to immigration in general he made exceptions in favor of certain kinds of skilled labor.

In short, these Fathers of the Republic were entirely opposed to promiscuous, wholesale immigration, and they undoubtedly represented the opinions of a large number of our people at that time. The importation of paupers, vagrants, and criminals, together with hundreds of thousands of men and women capable only of cheap manual labor, was altogether foreign to their thoughts, or, if they contemplated it at all, it was only to revolt from it. Even Madison, who favored immigration more than any of the other fathers of the republic, and who introduced in Congress the first bill intended to encourage it, always insisted that he intended to bring over only the "worthy part of mankind," and in a letter written in 1813 he expresses almost the same opinion as Washington and Jefferson:

I am obliged at the same time to say, as you will doubtless learn from others, that it is not either the provision of our laws or the practice of the Government to give any encouragement to emigrants unless it be in cases