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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/445

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441
IMMIGRATION.

missionaries have done much unwittingly to turn the tide of emigration from Asiatic Turkey to the United States. Young Syrians and Armenians educated here through the kindness of missionaries have advertised America, upon their return to Asia, as the land of promise, and thus increased our arrivals from Asia Minor and Syria. The majority of Syrian immigrants are orthodox Greek catholics, and very few Mohammedan Syrians come here. The Greek catholics or Maronite catholics will promptly espouse some form of protestantism in order to get their children into an institution. They are quite as ready to renounce the Greek religion for the Roman catholic for the same reason, to be rid of the responsibility of their young children. They always associate America in their minds with missionaries and charitable institutions. These traits have given the Syrian and Armenian a reputation for mendacity and lack of principle which can scarcely be said to be undeserved. The servile fawning humility and utter absence of spirit which these Syrians and Armenians exhibit are not attractive, and are but a pretense to cover the guile of the oriental. Bright young Syrians utilize religion to secure an education, then coolly repudiate all obligation to their missionary friends and engage in trade in the United States. The Syrian is averse to work of any kind, but he will never work at hard physical labor. He sends his wife and children out to peddle from door to door the oriental rugs, silks, laces and peddling truck. From peddling it is only a step to begging, and many of these peddlers combine the two vocations. The Syrian often goes into manufacturing small articles for this trade, using lofts in the Syrian quarter as work rooms, and employing men and women of their own race. They manufacture combs, brushes, hatpins, razor-strops, aprons, garters, suspenders, tooth-picks, crucifixes and other small articles for the peddling trade. The women earn from two to three dollars per week, and men make a little more, from four to six dollars per week. The Syrian women and girls also make the lace which they sell upon their peddling trips. The Syrian men and women peddlers make long trips from their headquarters, New York, and like true parasites follow in the wake of the rich to the seaside and summer resorts in the hot months, and to Florida or other parts of the South in the winter.

The Armenian immigrants, like the Syrians, are mostly traders, but a few are cigarette makers, and a small number are employed in the silk factories. Even the small percentage of these races employed as producers in the silk mills must be classed as unnecessary and competitive.

To the Greek, Syrian and Armenian quarters in New York, newly arrived immigrants go direct; and the congestion in these tenements is steadily increasing. The conditions which exist in the tenement of the Syrian or Greek quarters must be seen to be appreciated. No