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United States.". The question being taken by yeas and nays, resultedyeas, 21; nays, 20; as follows:
Yeas—Messrs. Badger, Bayard, Benjamin, Brown, Butler, Clay, Clayton, Dawson, Dixon, Evans, Fitzpatrick, Geyer, Hunter, Johnson, Mallory, Mason, Pearce, Pratt, Sebastian, Thompson of Kentucky, and Toucey-21.
Nays-Messrs. Adams, Allen, Chase, Dodge of Wisconsin, Dodge of Iowa, Fish, Foot, Gillette, James, Jones of Iowa, Jones of Tennessee, Norris, Pettit, Seward, Shields, Stuart, Wade, Weller, and Williams-20.
Mr. Brown, of Mississippi, moved to amend further, as follows:
And provided further, That foreign born persons who fail to become citizens within six years from the time of entry on the land, shall lose all rights under this act.
This amendment was also adopted by the following vote :
Yeas—Messrs. Adams, Allen, Atchison, Badger, Bayard, Benjamin, Brodhead, Brown, Butler, Cass, Clay, Clayton, Dawson, Dixon, Evans, Fish, Fitzpatrick, Foot, Geyer, Hamlin, Johnson, Jones of Tennessee, Mallory, Mason, Norris, Pearce, Pettit, Pratt, Rusk, Sebastian, Shields, Slidell, Stuart, Thompson of Kentucky, Toucey, Weller, and Williams-37.
Nays-Messrs. Chase, Dodge of Wisconsin, Dodge of Iowa, Fessenden, Gillette, Jones of lowa, Seward, Sumner, and Wade--9.
Mr. Benjamin, of Louisiana, offered still further to amend as follows:
And if any person of the age of sixteen years and upwards, born in the United States, shall, before arriving at the age of twenty-one years, make application for the benefit of this act, he shall be entitled thereto: Provided, however, That no patent shall issue in favor of such applicant before he shall have attained the age of twenty-one years.
Mr. Jones, of Tennessee, spoke against the amendment; in reply to which Mr. Benjamin remarked as follows:
What is the proposition against which it has pleased the senator to inveigh? He stands up and supports, before the Senate, the proposition of the bill, that any individual, who has not the remotest interest in the country, who was not born here, who may have arrived here but yesterday, should be entitled to go on to the public lands, which belong to the people of the United States, to settle there, to cultivate those lands, and by his settlement and cultivation to entitle himself to a fee-simple in the soil. He does not propose to wait until the immigrant shall have obtained the right of a citizen. He does not propose to subject him to any apprenticeship before he is entitled to enter upon the soil; but from the moment of his arrival he is to be placed upon the same footing as an American citizen born in the United States. Now, by the first section of the bill, a citizen born in the United States is not to be entitled to any of those privileges which the senator from Tennessee is willing to afford to foreigners, until he reaches the age of twenty-one years. The policy of your bill is to settle and cultivate the public lands My proposition is to carry out the policy, and to give the same advantages to citizens born upon the soil, as you give to foreigners who have come here but yesterday. Will the senator deny, for a moment, that if this policy can be carried out by granting these privileges to citizens born on the soil, it ought not to be so carried out in reference to foreigners ? Without restriction of color, ay, character, or interest in the soil, or in the institutions of the country, the foreigner, at the first instant he lands upon the soil, is to have the right to create for himself a title to 160 acres of your land, and the children of the man who has fought and bled, and, perhaps, died, in the service of the country, are to be deprived of the same right.
Mr. Benjamin called for the yeas and nays on his amendment, which were ordered ; and being taken, resulted-yeas 26, nays 20, as follows:
Yeas— Messrs. Adams, Atchison, Badger, Bayard, Benjamin, Brodhead, Brown, Butler, Clay, Clayton, Dawson, Dixon, Douglas, Evans, Fitzpatrick, Geyer, Hamlin, Hunter, Mallory, Mason, Norris, Pearce, Pratt, Rockwell, Thompson of Kentucky, and Williams-26.
Nays—Messrs. Allen, Cass, Chase, Dodge of Wisconsin, Dodge of Iowa, Fessenden, Foot, Gillette, Jones of Iowa, Jones of Tennessee, Pettit, Rusk, Seward, Shields, Slidell, Stuart, Sumner, Wade, Walker, and Weller-20.
The section, as modified and amended, proposed to be stricken out, was as follows:
That any free white person now a résident of any one of the States or Territories, and not a citizen of the United States, but at the time of making such application for the benefit of this act, shall have filed a declaration of intention as required by the naturalization laws of the United States, and shall become a citizen of the same before the issuance of the patent, as made and provided for in this act, shall be placed upon an equal footing with the native born citizen of the United States: Provided, That the benefits of this act shall not extend to the children, heirs, or devisees of aliens, born out of the United States, who are twenty-one years of age, until they shall file their declara. tion to become citizens of the United States: Provided further, That foreign born persons who fail to become citizens within six years from the date of their declaration of intention to become so, shall lose all rights under this act. And if any person of the age of sixteen years and upwards, born in the United States, shall, before arriving at the age of twenty-one years, make application for the benefit of this act, he shall be entitled thereto: Provided, however, That no patent shall issue in favor of such applicant before he shall have attained the age of twenty-one.
The question being taken by yeas and nays, resulted-yeas 19, pays 29:
Yeas— Messrs. Adams, Badger, Bayard, Benjamin, Brodhead, Butler, Clay, Clayton, Dawson, Evans, Fitzpatrick, Geyer, Hamlin, Hunter, Mason, Norris, Pearce, Thompson of Kentucky, and Williams 19.
Nays—Messrs. Allen, Atchison, Bright, Brown, Cass, Chase, Dixon, Dodge of Wisconsin, Dodge of Iowa, Douglas, Fessenden, Fish, Gillette, Gwin, James, Johnson, Jones of lowa, Jones of Tennessee, Pettit, Rockwell, Shields, Slidell, Stuart, Sumner, Toombs, Toucey, Wade, Walker, and Weller—29.
So the policy sought to be established by Mr. Clayton was not agreed to. Before the vote was taken, Mr. Fish stated that Messrs. Seward and Cooper had paired off, the former being against Mr. Clayton's amendment, and in favor of the bill, and Mr. Cooper being in favor of the amendment and against the bill.
CAUSES OF OPPOBITION TO FOREIGNERS.
The immense immigration of late years, and the palpable growing influence of the foreign born has become a source of anxiety, and it is not now regarded with great favor by any considerable portion of the native citizens. Many causes have conspired to produce this change of sentiment and feeling in the American people, and to induce a very general conviction, that the present unlimited and unguarded admission of foreigners into this country, is a serious public evil. And why do they so regard it, and are they anxious for some reformatory legislation on the subject? The inquiry is well answered in the pamphlet, written by a foreigner, already quoted from. It is, in truth, as he says :
“ Because any body and every body may come without let or hindrance. The rogues and vagabonds from London, Paris, Amsterdam, Vienna, Naples, Hamburg, Berlin, Rome, Genoa, Leghorn, Geneva, &c., may come and do come. The outpourings of alms and work-houses, and prisons and penitentiaries, may come and do come. Mon. archies, oligarchies and aristocracies may and do reduce millions of the people to poverty and beggary, and compel the most valueless to seek for a shelter and a home in the United States of America, and they do so. And what are the consequences ? The consequences are that about 400,000 souls from Europe, chiefly Germans, Irish, and Dutch, are annually arriving in this country and making it their permanent abode. That a vast number of these immigrants come without money, occupation, friends, or business ; many, very many, have not the means of buying land, getting to it, stocking it, and waiting for first crops, and many others would not settle upon land if they could. That, go where you will in the United States, you find nearly all the dens of iniquity, taverns, grog shops, beer houses, gambling places, and houses of ill fame and worse deeds, are kept by foreigners; and that numerous objects of poverty and destitution are to be seen crawling along the streets in every direction. That not a few become criminals, filling our prisons and putting the country to great expense. This is a fearful catalogue of consequences, but they are by no means all. This unlimited and unrestricted admission of foreign immigrants, is a serious injury to the native laboring population, socially, morally, religiously, and politically; socially, by overstocking the labor market and thus keeping wages down; morally and religiously, by unavoidable contact and intercourse; and politically, by consequence of want and employment and low wages, making them needy and dependent, whereby they become the easy prey or willing tools of designing and unprincipled politicians. And in this way the native population is deteriorated and made poor, needy, and subservient: and these realities produce want of self-respect, hopelessness, laxity in morals, recklessness, delinquencies, and crimes.
“ But there is another consequence which is deserving of notice, and it is this. Our manufacturers, iron makers, machinists, miners, agriculturists, railway, canal, and other contractors, private families, hotel keepers, and manv others, have got into the way of
especting and seeking for cheap labor, through the various supplies of operatives, workmen, laborers, house help, and various kinds of workers, kept up by the indiscriminate and unrestrained admission of immigrants. Indeed, it is no secret that immigrants, or rather foreign workers, have become an article of importation, professedly for the purpose of providing for the deficiency of supply in the labor market, but in reality with the intention of obtaining efficient workers at lower wages.”
Yet, with all these evils flowing from the unguarded admission of foreigners, evils of every class and character, affecting all the relations of life, there is no disposition among the native born Americans to discourage the immigration of moral and industrious Europeans. On the contrary,
. they rejoice in being able to furnish them an asylum from oppression, and a home in which they may enjoy all the blessings of liberty ; but they neither feel nor feign any attachment or regard for the criminals and adventurers who have left their own country for their country's good. They gladly welcome to their country every honest and industrious man in Europe, with this exception, that they do not come to rule America, but to be content to let those rule who are to the manor born. “We do not propose,” is the language of a recent address of the American State Council of Georgia, "to shut our doors on the world, but that we continue to be the asylum of the oppressed of all nations. Let the victims of civil and ecclesiastical tyranny come. What we mean to say is, that with our consent they shall not rale the land.”
All that is desired of foreigners is to lay aside their national peculiarities and prejudices, to deport themselves with becoming modesty and propriety, and, instead of at once mingling in political broils, and attempting to regulate and control public affairs, mind their own private business. No American finds fault with them for remembering the country of their birth. All they would have the foreigner do is to study to become a good and useful citizen, making himself acquainted with the principles of the government, imbibing the spirit and genius of its institutions, assimilating himself to its manners and customs, and, in a word, to fear God and honor the country of his adoption. Alas! there are, however, too many of the immigrants from the Old World who do not thus conduct themselves after their arrival in this country, and hence the prevailing sentiment now extant among the native citizens, in favor of restricting, by law, the power and privileges of aliens to within prudent limits. No sach general feeling would probably now exist, had the foreigners been content with a rational exercise of the privileges which are so freely by law conferred upon them; but, instead of enjoying these in that becoming and unassuming manner which would do them most credit, and exerting themselves to the utmost to lay aside their nationality, and assimilate in character, habits, manners and associations with the native born, they have formed clans, and organized into bands,
Robert J. Walker said:
It is not only excluding aliens that have been driven by oppression to seek a shelter among us, but would also prevent those who voluntarily sought homes in the country of their adoption It savored too much of the old alien and sedition laws to meet his encouragement. He pointed to cases where the bounty of the government had been extended to foreigners.
John Norvell, of Michigan, among other things, said :
He considered the proposition an attack upon the new States. If the honorable senator from Maryland did not choose to allow these foreigners to come and settle on the soil of Maryland, he begged him at least to suffer the people of Michigan to receive them. They were among her best and most useful inhabitants. They would not take the trouble to come from Europe to purchase and pay for lands, unless they meant to become permanent citizens, the parents of future native Americans, identified with the soil, the advantages, the perils, and the glories of the country.
C. C. Clay, of Alabama, spoke at length against the proposition offered by the senator from Maryland, urging its rejection, and expressing the earnest hope that Congress would not depart from the liberal and humane policy which had heretofore characterized its legislation.
Thomas H. Benton said :
No law had yet excluded aliens from the acquisition of a pre-emption right, and he was entirely opposed to commencing a system of legislation which was to effect the property rights of the aliens who came to our country to make it their home. Political rights rested on a different basis. They involved the management of the government. But the acquisition of property was another affair. It involved no question but that of a subsistence, the support, and comfortable living of the alien and his family,
The senator from Kentucky (Mr. Clay) has thanked the senator from Maryland for bringing forward this amendment; and I will thank him also for it. He shall receive, what rarely occurs in this chamber, thanks from both sides of the House.
Wm. M. Merrick, of Maryland, the mover, said :
The amendment I have offered proposes so to modify the bill as to limit the grant of this bounty to our own citizens ; to exclude from the immense advantages of this law and this policy (for remember, it is avowed on the other side that this is to be the settled policy of the government, and other similar laws are to be passed continually hereafter) all aliens, all who are neither native nor naturalized citizens of the United States. Between the native and naturalized citizen I propose to make no distinction in this respect; but I desire, while you are about to deal out the property of the American citizens in bounty and gratuities, that you should confine your liberality in disposing of their means to your own people. What, sir, has been the chief argument urged in favor of the passage of this bill? Was it and is it not, that you thereby give to the industrious and honest and enterprizing poor man, who owns no land, and has not the the means of purchasing in the old settled portions of the country, an opportunity of acquiring a home, and comfort and independence for himself and family? And will you, can you, while you use this argument, exclude our own citizens from the advantages thus speciously held out, by letting loose, as competitors with them, the hordes of