Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

11. The doctrines of the revered Washington and his compatriots. 12. The sending back of all foreign paupers landed on our shores. 13. The formation of societies to protect all American interests.

14. Eternal enmity to all who attempt to carry out the principles of a foreign church or state.

15. Our country, our whole country, and nothing but our country.

16. And finally, American laws and American legislation; and death to all foreign influences, whether in high places or low !

Sir, this creed contains just half a dozen true, sound American principles.
Mr. Chase. Will the senator allow me to ask him where he finds this creed?
Mr. Seward. In the American Crusader.
Mr. Chase. Where is it printed ?

Mr. Seward. I believe in Boston. I find in it a comprehensive view of the principles, some of them right and some of them wrong.

*

I am stating what purports to be the creed which comprehends all the articles of this principle of opposing foreign immigration. I need not discriminate here in favor of those principles which are national, those which are just, and those which are American. I need not point them out and show which they are. It is sufficient for me to say that, in my judgment, every thing is un-American which makes a distinction of whatever kind, in this country, between the native born American and him whose lot is directed to be cast here by an overruling Providence, and who renounces his allegiance to a foreign land and swears fealty to the country which adopts him.

Thomas G. Pratt, of Maryland, said :

I cannot accord either, Mr. President, with the doctrine of my friend from Michigan [Mr. Cass], when he says he can see no difference between foreigners and Americans, and that being an American citizen does not make a man purer, does not change his heart, his mind, or his morality. He can see no difference between American citizens and foreign citizens. Now, sir, we are living, I admit, in a new era. We are living in days of progress; but I regret that the day has ever come when, in the Senate of the United States, and by a senator as respectable as my honorable friend who has made the asseveration, it should be declared, seemingly with the approbation of many of those who heard him, that he could see no distinction between an American citizen and a foreigner, upon a question of disposing of property exclusively belonging to American citizens. Sir, this is an electioneering topic. The speeches here are made not for our consideration, not to have weight with us, but for home consumption. I can readily see that in those States where foreigners are allowed to vote and exercise the privilege of American citizens, their representatives here may feel bound to protect them; and their own political existence may require that protection; but I never can assent to the doctrine that there is no distinction between an American citizen and a foreigner, in giving one or the other a right to own the soil of this Union. I am not talking about naturalized or native citizens; but I am talking about citizens of the United States, recognized by the Constitution of the country as citizens.

[ocr errors]

I am thoroughly convinced, whatever may be considered the policy of the government in reference to the disposition of the public lands, it is undoubtedly impolitic (and I say further, for my friends from those States where foreigners are now allowed to vote before they are naturalized, the time is coming fast when the impression will pervade

every section of this Union that it is impolitic, and that it will become unpopular) to give the right, the sacred right, of making the laws of this country to those who do not owe allegiance to it.

Mr. Jones, of Tennessee, said:

My first impression was in favor of striking out the sixth section, as proposed by the senator from Delaware, (Mr. Clayton.) I do not exactly reconcile it to my feeling, or to my Americanism, if you please to allow that expression, that a foreigner shall come here a week before the passage of this law, if it shall pass, and occupy the same position in regard to the public property as an American citizen. I have that difficulty on my mind; and upon that impression I was inclined to act at first, and to vote with the senator from Delaware, in favor of striking out; my mind has, however, after thorough investigation, undergone some change on that subject, and I will ask the indulgence of the Senate while I give my reasons for that change.

I find on examination, that this has been the policy of the government from the first introduction of the system of granting homesteads; in 1850, the bill granting homesteads in Oregon was in the very identical words of this bill. Other laws for the same purpose have been passed since, containing the same provisions.

Mr. Geyer, of Missouri, said:

I object to this section, for another reason : Any alien, white or black, be his character good or bad, may make a declaration of intention to become a citizen. The naturalization laws contemplate the grant of citizenship only to men of goud moral character, attached to the institutions of this country. And, therefore, the alien must prove by two witnesses that he is a man of good moral character, attached to the institutions of this country, before he can obtain a certificate of naturalization.

We require that an American citizen, in order to obtain the benefits of the act, shall be the head of a family, or twenty-one years of age : and if he is a naturalized citizen, he must have been in the country long enough to give evidence of his attachment to the institutions of our country; he must prove such attachment in a court of justice; he must on oath renounce his allegiance to all foreign powers, and swear to support the Constitution of the United States. It is proposed, however, by the sixth section, to give land to those who have not shown any evidence of a good moral character; who present no proof of attachment to the Constitution or institutions of the country; who renounce no allegiance to any foreign government; and who may postpone until the end of time swearing allegiance to the Constitution of the United States.

Sir, I have said I was in favor of this bill; and if the sixth section shall be stricken out I will vote for it with much pleasure ; but while I will make no discrimination whatever between the citizens of the United States, natural or naturalized, native or foreign born, I will discriminate between the citizen, naturalized as well as native, against the alien. I will not put the alien upon the same footing with the citizen, native or foreign born. That is the principle on which I act.

Pending the consideration of Mr. Clayton's amendment, Mr. Dixon, of Kentucky, moved the following amendment: “ 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 declaration of intention to become citizens of the aristocracy, are ten times more presuming than the aristocracy of birth, for that can at least claim a prestige in its favor.

[graphic]

In these seventy years of independence, all these evils have increased in the highest degree; so that one might be tempted to believe that this liberty and progress will end in annihilation.

Religious freedom is one of the most beautiful and precious principles that was ever introduced into a Constitution ; and if we look at its practical working in the United States, it must be admitted that the religious intolerance is much more rigid than in many monarchies of the Old World, if we except the oppressions which the Jews experienced. An unbeliever, a free thinker, an atheist, runs more risk of being stoned than in old Bavaria.

. In Europe religious wars are almost regarded as impossibilities ; in America there are from time to time religious wars in miniature between Irish Catholics and Protestant Know Nothings. The war of opinion must soon or late give place to the Roman hierarchy ; but this cannot happen without many a bloody head! The principle of religious liberty shows itself by intolerance and bigotry.

A republic is that form of government which ought to be best administered and conducted at the least expense. In America every thing is turned upside down; the administration is as bad as it can be, and exceeds in its faults even the greatest despotisms, such as Russia, and perhaps China.

America is the land of personal liberty, but only under particular circumstances. The State, which cares very little for the prosperity of its citizens, takes upon itself the care of the bodily condition and health of its people. On that account they forbid them to be joyful on Sunday ; out of mere respect for personal liberty, they close the social in. tercourse between individuals; they punish the sale of and use of intoxicating drinks Why do they not in other things take pains to secure life and liberty? It is forbidden to a grown person to drink a glass of wine or brandy, because he may possibly injure himself by doing so; but an apothecary is allowed to sell arsenic and other poisons without prescription. Why does the State permit, when it is so anxious about the wellbeing of its citizens, that every barber may practice medicine, and through his ignorance make sport of the lives of thousands ? Here opens a field, where the State could find an opportunity for the exercise of its legislative wisdom. ' It forbids the use of a glass of liquor, and yet a steamboat captain blows hundreds of persons into the air in consequence of a racing wager ; or gives the alternative to be burnt or drowned ; a railroad car is thrown off the track by the ignorance of the engineer, and hundreds of innocent persons lose their lives, or have their limbs broken, because the State has no control over the conduct of persons so irresponsible.

When the State should take measures to protect the individuals from imminent danger, it fails to do any thing whatever, and yet it interferes in private concerns ; 80 far has the principle of personal liberty been developed.

America stands on the pinnacle of civilization—it is the land of humanity ; and hence comes the invention of solitary confinement in the cells; the prisoner who bas only been forced to the commission of crime to relieve his wants, is slowly doomed to death, and out of pure humanity they would not kill him at once out of pure bumanity justice is fostered only to do that which she ought not to do.

America is the land of respect for the laws; and no where else is the healthy and natural feeling of justice so easily wounded, or the wrong-doer so easily escapes un punished.

“ My house is my castle,” say they, and this may be true, so long as a drunken Irish

[graphic]

CHAPTER XXV.

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. Monarchies, 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 pre 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 many others, have got into the way of

« AnteriorContinuar »