Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/180

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
166
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

The number decreases as we approach Egypt and Palestine, the ancient center of Jewish dispersion. As to America, it is estimated, although we know nothing certainly, that there are about a half million Jews scattered through our cities in the United States. New York city, according to the last census, contained about eighty thousand Poles and Russians, most of whom, it may be assumed, were Jews. But they have come since in ever-increasing numbers, with the great exodus from Russia, at the rate of scores of thousands annually. A recent writer places their present number in New York city at a quarter of a million. The British provinces, on the other hand, do not seem to offer great attractions; as late as 1870, for example, the census in Nova Scotia could not discover a solitary Jew. A more suggestive index of the problems of Jewish distribution, however, is offered in the ratio of the number of Jews to the entire population. This is directly illustrated by our map. To be sure, this represents the situation twenty years ago, but no great change in relativity is to be suspected since that time. Even the wholesale exodus from Russia of recent years has not yet drawn off any large proportion of its vast body of population. Inspection of our map shows that the relative frequency of Jews increases in proportion to the progressive darkening of the tints. This brings out with startling clearness the reason for the recent anti-Semitic uprisings in both Russia, Austria, and the German Empire. A specific "center of gravity" of the Jewish people, as Leroy-Beaulieu puts it, is at once indicated in western Russia. The highest proportion, fifteen per cent, more or less, appears, moreover, to be entirely restricted to the Polish provinces, with the sole exception of the government of Grodno. About this core lies a second zone, including the other west Russian governments, as well as the province of Galicia in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Germany, as it appears, is sharply divided from its eastern neighbors, all along the political frontier. Not even its former Polish territory, Posen, is to-day relatively thickly settled with Jews. Hostile legislation it is, beyond a doubt, which so rigidly holds back the Jew from immigration along this line. Anti-Semitismus is not, therefore, to-day to any great extent an uprising against an existing evil; rather does it appear to be a protest against a future possibility. Germany shudders at the dark and threatening cloud of population of the most ignorant and wretched description which overhangs her eastern frontier. Berlin must not, they say, be allowed to become a new Jerusalem for the horde of Russian exiles. That also is our American problem. This great Polish swamp of miserable human beings, terrific in its proportions, threatens to drain itself off into our country as well, unless we restrict its ingress. As along the German frontier, so also toward the