« AnteriorContinuar »
our own race, instead of holding out a general invitation to all the paupers of all the European governments to come here, and compete with our own honest poor.
Mr. Clay, in reply to Mr. Buchanan, said:
“ The honorable Senator from Pennsylvania has alluded eulogistically to foreigners. Does he mean to compare the De Kalbs, the Steubens, the Lafayettes, the Pulaskis, with the hordes of foreign paupers that are constantly flooding our shores ? There were other foreigners who mingled in our revolutionary struggle, but on the other side, the Hessians,--and can they be compared with those gallant men who came here to aid in the cause of struggling liberty? He thought this government had been quite as liberal in its policy towards foreigners, as was proper or desirable ; and no Senator would vote against the proposition of the Senator from Maryland, with more pleasure than that with which he would vote for it.”
James Buchanan said :
This amendment proposed to make invidious distinction, which had never been made heretofore in our legislation, against foreigners who had settled upon the public lands, and had not been naturalized prior to the first day of December last. Whilst it granted pre-emptions in such cases to our own citizens, it excluded these foreigners. this change been proposed in our settled policy? He had observed with regret, that attempts were now extensively making throughout the country, to excite what was called a native American feeling against those who had come from a foreign land to participate in the blessings of our free Constitution. Such a feeling was unjust-it was ungrateful. In the darkest days of the revolution, who had assisted us in fighting our battles, and achieving our independence? Foreigners, yes, sir, foreigners. He would not say, for he did not believe, that our independence could not have been established without their aid ; but he would say the struggle would have been longer and more doubtful. After the revolution, immigration had been encouraged by our policy. Throughout the long and bloody wars in Europe which had followed the French revolution, this country had ever been an asylum for the oppressed of all nations. He trusted that at this late day, the Congress of the United States were not about to establish for the first time, such an odious distinction between one of our citizens who had settled upon the public lands, and his neighbor who had pursued the same course under the faith of your previous policy, merely because that neighbor had not resided long enough in the United States to have become a naturalized citizen. He was himself the son of a naturalized foreigner, and perhaps might feel this distinction the more sensibly on that
Mr. B. had been asked by the senator from Kentucky if he would compare the hordes of foreign paupers that are constantly flooding our shores with the De Kalbs, the Steubens, the Lafayettes, and the Pulaskis of the Revolution ? It was easy to ask such a question. He felt a deep and grateful veneration for the memory of those illustrious men. They were leaders of our armies; but what could they have accomplished without soldiers ? Was it not a fact known to the world, that the immigrants from the Emerald Isle—that land of brave hearts and strong arms—had shed their blood freely in the cause of our liberty and independence? It was now both ungrateful and unjust to speak of these people, in the days of our prosperity, as hordes of foreign paupers. Such was not the language applied to them during the revolutionary war, when they constituled a large and effective proportion of our armies. The senator had asked if he passed by the House,—(See Congressional Globe)—and finally by the Senate, but vetoed by President Pierce. Pending its consideration in the Senate, Benjamin F. Wade, of Ohio, offered an amendment providing that the benefits of the bill should not be limited to those then residents in the country, which led to a long and interesting discussion. See Congressional Globe, vol. xxviii., part 2, p. 944. Mr. Wade said :
The object of my amendment is to strike out the limitation which restricts the benefits of the bill to persons who are now residents of the United States, and prevents its operating in favor of those who may come into the country after its passage. I can see no good reason for the distinction now made in the bill. I am willing that foreigners who come into this country, and go on to the public lands and settle there and labor for five years, should then have the advantages of this law. I am willing, so far as I am concerned, that the law shall operate as an inducement for such persons to come here and settle on our public lands. The effect of the amendment will be barely to strike out this restriction, and to make the bill operate in favor of all foreigners who may come in hereafter, as well as those who are now here. This is the only object of the amendment.
Mr. Adams, of Mississippi, said:
The proposition of the Senator from Ohio is, that you shall not only tax one portion of the people for the benefit of another, but that you shall tax the native born and adopted citizens of this country for the benefit of foreigners; that you shall say, by this bill, to every man who may reside without the limits of the United States, if he will come here, that your citizens shall be taxed to the value of one hundred and sixty acres, and a bounty of that amount of land bestowed upon him. To that I am opposed.
My friend from Iowa said he hoped the time would never arrive when the people of this country would cease to remember, with sentiments of gratitude, the claims of the descendants of the Lafayettes and Montgomeries, and others who aided our fathers in the revolution. I hope so too ; but times have changed. The time has ceased, in my humble judgment, when we should continue to hold out other and different inducements to individuals to immigrate and become citizens of this country, than are afforded by the character of our institutions. I would not change the policy of this government, and refuse to hold out inducements such as we have heretofore held to foreigners. I desire to see this country continue to be a home and an asylum for the oppressed of all nations. I desire, whenever a foreigner sets his foot upon our soil, to have thrown over him the panoply of free institutions, to protect him in his person, his property, in pursuit of happiness, and an unbounded liberty of conscience; and with that, from this day forth, I will stop. To every man who has come here under the existing laws, I would extend all the rights which our present laws promise him, and to every man who comes to this country in the future, with the rights I have indicated, I would cease to offer more. Have you not seen, sir, within the last few months, petitions presented here and laid upon your table, remonstrating, in the name of foreigners, against the action of this body? Not content with that, have you not learned through the public newspapers that a mob of foreigners, under the style of foreigners, assembled together, and hanged in effigy an honorable member of this body? What does that indicate? If the act