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Build them in some secret place, and blush to own that, in free America, we boast of our prisons !
“ If you do not remedy the evils I have pointed out, and take charge of the little children and inspect them in their homes, your houses of correction, alms-houses and jails will swell and increase, and will stand in massive, sombre magnificence, monuments to the folly of mankind.
“Seize, then, upon the little children. Devote your time and energies to the young, for just as the twig is bent the tree is inclined.' Let the respectable parent learn his or her duty, and train up the child in habits of obedience and piety. Let the community train up properly all such as, from the force of circumstances, will otherwise necessarily fall into vicious and criminal ways, and juvenile delinquency will soon ccase to engage our attention."
Important, then, as it is that all the children should be educated, and receive a moral and religious training, it is no less a well-established fact that a large portion of them, principally those of foreigners, grow up without either, and become pests of society. What then is the duty of the public towards these children? It has been well observed that “it is self-evident, that if a man provides his son with a good education, and with a trade or profession, he is not likely to become a pauper, or criminal; and if, on the other hand, the unfortunate child who has lost his parents, been born out of wedlock, or has drunken, ignorant, idle, vicious parents, is sure to become a criminal, some active means should be taken to place the latter class in the same favorable position as the former. But one course is open to the community, and that is, to adopt the victim of circumstances beyond its control, teach it how to live honestly and honorably, and juvenile delinquency will be banished from the land.” No one doubts the right of the community to interfere in behalf of children, to protect them from brutal treatment. That is not disputed. Why then should it not also have the right, and exercise it, to oblige parents, or if there be none, to take them in public charge, and educate the poor and neglected children? The public interests, the perpetuity of the republican institutions under which we live, imperatively demand a remedy to be applied. “We must," says the writer already frequently quoted, “set in operation a wholesome system of schools, in addition to the noble common school system now in operation. Every friend of liberty, every true reformer, every one who has the good of the country at heart, must be in favor of a method which will prostrate vice, put down rowdyism, and prevent anarchy and misrale. Who govern us when they grow up ? Who make our nominations and control oor 'elections ? The rowdies. Let us, while the boy is young, curb him, that we may not suffer from his acts when he comes to man's estate.” Continuing in this strain, the same writer says :
"I would call that boy or girl an orphan—de jure, if not de facto who had lost one parent, or whose parents had deserted it or were negligent of their duties. I would seize him and rear him, or her, in our public manual-labor schools. I would have guardians of public education; I would compel parents to educate their children, and in cases in which, from poverty, vice, drunkenness and neglect, one or all, children were not properly educated and trained to work, I would remove the children from the parent's custody. Shall I wait till the boy has been trained in vice ? Shall I wait till he becomes a drunkard, thief, or worse? Shall I wait till the last spark of virtue has departed from the heart of the young female ? till the woman is dead, and the fiend only liveth? Or, shall I provide means for preventing vice? Will public sympathy only step in-because it must do so in self-defence-when virtue and morality have departed, and vice and crime reign triumphant? I repeat the question,
“Who bids for the little children ?? what
LEGISLATION, to protect society against the evils growing out of the introduction into this country of foreign criminals and paupers, como menced simultaneously with the settlement of the first colonists. As early as 1639, the pilgrim settlers of Massachusetts, at Plymouth, required the removal of foreign paupers. See Colonial Charters, 1639 and '92, p. 252. And their next step was to require indemnity from the master. See Statute in William IIl. ch. 13. The same power was also early exercised by Virginia, not only to guard against the importation of paupers, but others. See Tucker's Edition Black. Comm., vol. ii., App. 33. So it was by other colonies. That of Pennsylvania had, from its first settlement, a law "for imposing a duty upon persons convicted of heinous crimes and imported into the Province," and another “ for laying a duty on foreigners and Irish servants, &c., imported into the Province.” These were, however, repealed as early as 1729–30, and a more stringent law was passed in their stead. See Dallas' Edition of Laws of Pennsylvania, vol. i., p. 252.
Many of the Colonies continued to exercise similar powers during the Rerolution, and after peace was declared. Massachusetts, by a law in
1783, ch. 69, forbid refugees to return, and so did several other States. See Federalist, No. 42. The first naturalization laws passed by Congress, recognized this exercise of power, and expressly provided that such persons could not become naturalized without the special consent of those States, which had prohibited their return. See Acts of 1790 and '95, U.S. Laws, vol. i., pp. 104, 415.
At a later period, subsequent to the Declaration of Independence, and the adoption of the Federal Constitution, but before the organization of the General Government under that Constitution, the Congress of the old confederation also took action upon the subject. On the 16th of September, 1788, three days after it had announced the adoption of the Constitution by the requisite number of States, directed Presidential Electors to be chosen, and fixed the 4th of March, 1789, as the time for the new government to commence, it unanimously adopted the following resolution :
“ Resolved, That it be, and it is hereby, recommended to the several States to pass proper laws for preventing the transportation of convicted malefactors from foreign countries into the United States.” See Journal of Congress for 1788, p. 867.
Pursuant to this recommendation of the Continental Congress, the States passed laws in conformity therewith. Virginia passed a law on the 13th November, 1788, forbidding masters of vessels from landing convicts, under a penalty of fifty ponnds. South Carolina and Georgia passed similar laws the same year. So did New York. Massachusetts followed the example, in 1791, and Pennsylvania passed an act in 1789, providing " that no captain of a vessel, or other person, shall knowingly or willingly bring, import, or send, or so cause to be, or be aiding or assisting therein, into this Commonwealth, by land or water, any felon, convict, or person under sentence of death, or any other disability, incurred by a criminal prosecution, or who shall be delivered, or sent to him or her from any prison or place of confinement in any place out of the United States," &c. See Dallas' Edition of Laws of Pennsylvania vol. ii., p. 692. And this principle has been carried out ever since by various enactments by the different States, and been extended by them to exclude paupers and others, as well as convicts; and it is not a little remarkable, says Justice Woodbury, in the cases of Norris v. Boston, and Smith v. Turner, that while it has been exercised by various States in the Union—some as to paupers, some as to convicts, some as to refugees, some as to slaves, and some as to free blacks-it never has been exercised by the General Government as to mere aliens, not enemies, except so far as included in what are called the "alien and sedition laws" of 1798. By the “act concerning aliens,” power was assumed by the (ieneral Government in time of peace to remove or expel them from the
« This (said Mr. D.; brings me to a point where I will show the interest which the American people have in this matter. In the course of the inquiries made by the commissioners, they discovered that some of the parishes had, of their own accord, and without any authority in law, as it seems, adopted the plan of ridding themselves of the evil by persuading the paupers to immigrate to this side of the Atlantic. And whom, Mr. President, did they send? The most idle and vicious ; furnishing them with money, besides paying their passage, and then leaving them on this continent, either to reform or to rely on the people here for support. The commissioners, forcibly impressed with the efficiency of this plan, as a complete remedy, strongly recommended to Parliament to adopt it, and to authorize the parishes to raise money by taxes for this purpose. They proposed, too, that the most idle, debauched, and corrupt—the incirable portion-should be selected for this purpose, while the better portion should be left, to be reclaimed when detached from the force of evil counsel and evil example. They do not, it is true, propose to send them to the United States; this would be ton bold a proposition, but it seems they have no objection to their finding their way hither. True to their own sentiments and unconquerable idleness, these paupers no sooner reach here than they cast themselves upon the public for support. Those acknowledging themselves to be pauper immigrants, have been repeatedly found in the House of Industry in Boston, with the very money received from the parish concealed about them, and in some instances, to prevent detection, sewed in their clothes. Out of 866 persons received into that place during the last year, 516 were foreigners ; not all, by any means, of this class, nor is it possible to ascertain how many. In this way, Massachusetts disburses from her public treasury over fifty thousand dollars annually to relieve foreign paupers, and this but imperfectly meets the expense. She has attempted to modify the evil by countervailing legislation, by requiring bonds from the masters of vessels bringing foreign passengers, conditioned that for a given period they shall not become chargeable to the public. This, however, proves inadequate ; for while her laws on this subject are more humane than some of her adjoining States, the immigrants will find their way into the commonwealth. Many, doubtless, are sent out to the neighboring provinces, and thence come to us coastwise ; others, perhaps, have or will enter by the Canada frontier, and penetrate to places where they can find the best provision for them. They have been detected in New York as well as in Massachusetts.
“Now, sir, is it just ? Is it morally right for Great Britain to attempt to throw upon us this oppressive burden of sustaining her poor? Shall she be permitted to legislate them out of the kingdom, and to impose on us a tax for their support, without an effort on our part to countervail such a policy? Would it not be wronging our own virtuous poor to divide their bread with those who have no just or natural claims upon us? And above all, sir, shall we fold our arms and see this moral pestilence sent among us to poison the public mind and do irremediable mischief ? Sir, I hope this country will always afford an asylum to the worthy and the oppressed of all classes and conditions ; but humanity makes no appeal to us to receive and cherish those who have no respect for virtue, morality, or themselves ; those who are forced among us because they are too corrupt, debauched, and indolent to be tolerated in a country not over-scrupulous in its morals.”
No further action seems to have been taken by either branch of Congress, notwithstanding the facts presented by Ex-Governor Davis, during