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The same year an attempt was also made by John Randolph, to discriminate in favor of native citizens, when the bill to charter the United States Bank was under consideration in the Committee of the Whole, in the House of Representatives, and it was carried in the Committee, but afterwards stricken out. See Niles' Register, vol. 2., pp. 31 and 47. The proceedings were as follows:
Mr. Randolph moved to add the word native in the clause which limited the choice of directors to citizens of the United States, which motion was agreed to without debate-ayes 68, nays not given. After the committee had proceeded to the clause which provided for the appointment of directors for the branch banks, which clause likewise restricted the choice to citizens of the United States, Mr. Jewett moved that the word native be inserted also in that clause, so as to limit the appointment also to native citi
Mr. Calhoun objected to the amendment. It was the first time, he said, that any attempt had been made in this country to discriminate between native and naturalized citizens. The Constitution recognized no such distinction, except in the eligibility to the highest office in the government, and he could see no reason for introducing on this occasion so odious and unprecedented a distinction. Mr. Randolph, in reply, spoke at considerable length in support of the motion. He inveighed with much acrimony against the whole class of naturalized citizens ; attributing to them the declaration of war, and almost all other political evils—and maintaining that they ought to be admitted only on the footing of denizens, without any participation in the councils of the country, and the benefit only of protection during good behavior, &c. Mr. Wright replied with warmth to Mr. Randolph-after which, the question was taken on Mr. Jewelt's motion, and it was lost without a division.
The same fate attended Mr. Randolph's proposition when the bill was considered in the House, notwithstanding it had passed in Committee of the Whole, without debate or any serious opposition. For the reason urged by Mr. Calhoun against Mr. Jewett's amendments, he also opposed the one which had been agreed to at Mr. Randolph's instance, and thereupon the decision of the Committee of the Whole was reversed, and the word native rejected-ayes 44, nays 67.
In a letter, addressed to Dr. Coleman, by Gen. Jackson, dated Aug. 26, 1824, the Hero of New Orleans expressed the following sentiment:
“In short, sir, we have been too long subject to the policy of British merchants. It is time we should become a little more AMERICANIZED, and instead of feeding paupers and laborers of England, feed our own; or else, in a short time, by continuing our pre. sent policy, we shall be paupers ourselves.”
In the Reform Convention of Pennsylvania, held in 1837, to amend the Constitution of the State, Mr. Magee, of Perry, submitted a resolution to inquire into the expediency of prohibiting free persons of color and fugitive slaves to migrate into the State, which was proposed to be amended by Mr. Thomas, of Chester, so as to include foreigners, but subsequently withdrawn to enable Mr. Woodward, of Luzerne, to propose to amend hy adding, “and that the said committee be also instructed to
inquire into the propriety of so amending the Constitution, as to prevent any foreigner who may arrive in this State after the fourth of July, 1841, from acquiring the right to vote or to hold office in this Commonwealth.” This amendment was violently assailed as proscriptive and illiberal, which called forth a reply from Judge Woodward. He said :
I have long felt a desire, said Mr. W., that something should be done in relation to it—that the facts should be investigated, and that some proper and efficient measures should be adopted, if upon that investigation it should turn out that measures of any kind were requisite.
Sir, I appreciate as much as any man living, the many political rights and privileges which I, in common with the people of the United States, am now enjoying; and it is my honest impression that we do but squander those privileges in conferring them upon every individual who chooses to come and claim them. He knew that a great portion of those who came among us from foreign countries, consist frequently of the worst part of the population of those countries, that they are unacquainted with the value of these privileges, and that, therefore, they do not know how to value them. I think that in thus conferring indiscriminately upon all, we are doing injury to our liberties and our institutions; and I believe that if the time has not yet come, it will speedily come, when it will be indispensably necessary either for this body or some other body of this State, or of the United States, to inquire whether it is not right to put some plan in execution by which foreigners should be prevented from controlling our elections, and brow-beating our American citizens at the polls.
At the time the Constitution of the United States was formed, it was necessary to promote immigration. The population of our country was wasted by a long war; and it was necessary to hold out inducements to foreigners to come here. But times have greatly changed within the last few years. The reason and the necessity for extending this indulgence to immigrants' have ceased. Besides this, it is to be considered that there are other inducements in the climate, and in the natural advantages of the country to prevail upon them to come here, without adding to them the incentive of office. In expressing these sentiments, Mr. Chairman, I wish to be understood that I cherish no prejudice against foreigners, I entertain no feeling of unkindness towards them, from whatever part of the world they may come, nor would I do any thing which should have a tendency to proscribe them from coming. We have many very estimable men among them; and I do not propose in my amendment to take any thing away from them. I merely wish that a committee should inquire, whether it is competent for us to introduce a provision into the Constitution of the kind I have mentioned, to take effect after a certain date, so long distant that all future immigrants may know what their privileges are to be, before they leave their own country. My proposition is not intended, nor will it operate, retrospectively; it affects no one now here, and no one who may be on his way here. It looks exclusively to the future. What valid objection can there be to the inquiry? Why should we throw open these great political privileges to every species of character that may light on our shores? Are these privileges of such little value, that we do not deem them worth protection or defence? Have they no claim upon our feelingsno claim upon our affections ? * * * Have they not been bequeathed to us by those who sacrificed all they had on earth to secure them ? Are they not truly and emphatically our most precious legacy? And what claim have foreigners from any country-aye, sir, from any country, which is strong enough to justify us in prostituting our political privileges by conferring them carelessly and indiscriminately
on any individual who may reside here for two or three years—become a naturalized citizen--and then command our offices ? There are very many of these immigrants who know nothing of political privileges in their own country before they immigrate to this. The word is unknown to them, or if they hear it at all, they hear of it as something in which they have no participation. Is not this the fact ? Sir, we all know that it is ; we know that very many of these immigrants never enjoyed any political privileges themselves that they have no knowledge of them-and, least of all, have they any knowledge of our people, our government, or our institutions. The acquirement of this knowledge is not the work of a day. They have no sympathy in common with us; they have no gratifications to render them fit recipients of these high political privileges. If any of us chose to pass over to England, Ireland or France, and to settle ourselves there, what do we gain by the change-I mean in a political point of view ? Nothing; we lose all. We are not suffered to acquire any political privileges such as we bestow upon them. There is no reciprocity--the advantage is all on one side; and whatever we may give to them, we ourselves can acquire nothing of the kind. Why should this be so ? Or, if the adoption of such a system was necessary at one time, why should it still be adhered to, when every thing in the form of necessity has long since passed away? I can discover neither wisdom nor policy in so doing. The idea, Mr. President, is simply this—I would afford to all foreigners who shall come to this country after the date of my amendment, protection in their person, their property, and all the natural rights which they could enjoy under any civilized or well ordered government. I would permit them to acquire wealth; to pursue objects of their own ambition; I would, in short, allow them to become in all respects equal citizens with us, except only in this one matter of political privileges. All their natural and their civil rights should be amply guarantied and protected; and they should become citizens in common with us in relation to all objects, except voting and holding office. And do we not hold out sufficient inducements for foreigners to make this country their home, even if we take from them these political privileges ? Surely, sir, we do—such, indeed, as no other nation upon earth can proffer.
But, Mr. President, it is not my design to enter into the discussion of• this matter at the present time; and I owe an apology to the convention for having said so much in regard to it. I have a strong feeling on the subject; though I confess that I entertain doubts whether this convention has the power to act. I am well aware of the nature of the provision in the Constitution of the United States, and which has been referred to by the gentleman from the county of Philadelphia, (Mr. Martin.) I would do nothing in contravention of that provision; I merely wish that the questiun should be referred to a committee, that they may inquire whether this convention has the power to act at all in the premises; and if it has the power, whether it would be expedient to act. I am, however, surrounded by many valued friends whose opinions and judgment I appreciate; and it appears that they are unanimous in thinking that I should withdraw it.. I, therefore, yield my own judgment to theirs, and, having explained my views, I withdraw the amendment.
Mr. Konigmacher, of Lancaster, thereupon renewed the motion previously made by the gentleman from Chester county, (Mr. Thomas)-but by him withdrawn. Mr. K. referred to the situation of the alms-house of the city and county of Philadelphia, of the inmates of which, he said, he had been informed, about seven-eights were foreigners. He also alluded
to certain recent and very gross violations of the quarantine law, which had taken place in certain parts of the State of New Jersey; where many foreign paupers had been clandestinely landed, and absolutely without the means of life. Mr. Brown, of Philadelphia, ridiculed the propo- , sition, and professed to be ignorant of any complaints such as had been stated; whereupon Mr. K. withdrew his amendment, and the subject was never again brought ander discussion. See Debates Pennsylvania Con. vention, vol. v., p. 441-51.
In November, 1844, Daniel Webster addressed a meeting of the Whigs of Boston, in Faneuil Hall, in which he thus took ground in favor of an alteration of the naturalization laws. See Niles' Register, vol. lxvii., p. 172:
Fellow-citizens, it would be at this moment a useless task for me to attempt to investigate the causes of this change. It may not be proper to investigate them at all. But why, we may ask, why should two free white States, New York and Pennsylvania, go against us, if they so have done ? There can be but one cause, and that so conspicuous and prominent that no one can shut his eyes to it, no one but must deplore its effect, I approach the subject at once, for it is useless to try to keep it back. And I say that in my mind there is a great necessity for a thorough reformation of the naturalization laws. (Cheers, loud and long continued.) The result of the recent elections, in several States, has impressed my mind with one deep and strong conviction; that is, that there is an imperative necessity for reforming the naturalization laws of the United States. The preservation of the government, and consequently the interest of all parties, in my opinion, clearly and strongly demand this. All are willing and desirous, of course, that America should continue to be the safe asylum for the oppressed of all nations. All are willing and desirous that the blessings of a free government should be open to the enjoyment of the worthy and industrious from all countries, who may come bither for the purpose of bettering their circumstances, by the successful employment of their own capital, enterprise, or labor. But it is not unreasonable that the elective franchise should not be exercised by a person of a foreign birth, until after such a length of resi- ' dence among us, as that he may be supposed to have become, in some good measure, acquainted with our Constitution and laws, our social institutions, and the general inte.' rest of the country; and to have become an American in feeling, principle, character, and sympathy, as well as by having established his domicile amongst us.
Those already naturalized have, of course, their rights secured: but I can conceive no reasonable objection to the different provision in regard to future cases. It is absolutely necessary, also, in my judgment, to provide new securities against the abominable frauds, the outrageous, flagrant perjuries which are notoriously perpetrated in all the great cities. There is not the slightest doubt, that in numerous cases different persons vote on the strength of the same set of naturalization papers; there is as little doubt that immense numbers of such papers are obtained by direct perjury; and that these enormous offences multiply and strengthen themselves beyond all power of punishment and restraint by existing provisions. I believe it to be an unquestionable fact that masters of vessels having brought over immigrants from Europe, have, within thirty days of their arrival, seen those persons carried up to the polls, and give their votes for the highest offices in the National and State Governments. Such voters of course exercise no intelligence and indeed no volition of their own. They can know nothing either of
the questions in issue, or of the candidates proposed. They are mere instruments used by unprincipled and wicked men, and made competent instruments only by the accumulation of crime upon crime. Now it seems to me impossible, that every honest man, and every good citizen, every true lover of liberty and the Constitution, every real friend of the country, would not desire to see an end put to these enormous abuses. I avow it, therefore, as my opinion, that it is the duty of us all to endeavor to bring about an efticient reformation of the naturalization laws of the United States. I am well aware, gentlemen, that these sentiments may be misrepresented, and probably will be, in order to excite prejudice in the mind of foreign residents. Should such misrepresentations be made or attempted, I trust to my friends to correct it and expose it. For the sentiments themselves I am ready to take to myself the responsibility, and I will only add that what I have now suggested, is just as important to the rights of foreigners, regularly and fairly naturalized among us, as to the rights of native born American citizens. (The whole assembly here united in giving twenty-six tremendous cheers.) The present condition of the country imperatively demands this change. The interest—the real welfare of all parties—the honor of the nation--all require that subordinate and different party questions should be made to yield to this great end. And no man who esteems the prosperity and existence of his country, as of more importance than a fleeting party triumph, will or can hesitate to give in his adherence to thesc principles. (Nine cheers.)
Gentlemen, there is not a solitary doubt, that if the elections have gone against us it has been through false and fraudulent votes. Pennsylvania, if, as they say, she has given 6,000 for our adversaries-has done so through the basest fraud. Is it not so? And look at New York. In the city there were thrown 60,000 votes, or one vote to every five inhabitants. You know that fairly and honestly, there can be no such thing on earth. (Cheers.) And the great remedy is for us to go directly to the source of true popular power, and to purify the elections. (Twenty-six cheers.) Fellow-citizens, I profess to be a lover of human liberty—especially to be devoted to the grand example of freedom set forth by the republic under which we live. But I profess my heart, my reputation, my pride of character, to be American.
In the New Hampshire Convention, held in 1850, to amend the Constitution of the State, Mr. Cass, a member of the Democratic party, offered the following resolution : "Resolved, That an article be inserted in the Constitution, as follows: No one who is bound by the oath of allegiance to any monarcbial or foreign power whatever, or who is bound by his religious faith to put down free toleration, shall at any time hold any office of trust or profit in the State.'” This proposition seems to have aimed not only to require aliers, when naturalized, to renounce and abjure all allegiance and subjection to all and every foreign power, ecclesiastical as well as civil, but also to exclude native born citizens from office, who acknowledge ecclesiastical allegiance to a foreign power. The motion failed, but Mr. Cass made a speech on the occasion, from which the following extracts are made :
Mr. Cass asked : “ Was it safe to elect a man Governor who was sworn to the Pope of Rome, and believed that all Protestants were heretics, and should be persecuted unto death ? He would not have it left open, so that persecutors could come in and take the helm of government. He thought it right to put up the bars. Was it ever known that