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lost their birthright and with it their nationality? Did not Daniel O'Connell raise the talismanic cry among his countrymen, of Ireland for the Irish? Yet no one ever charged him on that account as a narrowminded, illiberal bigot; on the contrary, he was universally extolled as sensible and patriotic, and, in America at least, there was but one response, and that was, that it was but a just and natural claim, which ought not to be denied by Great Britain, that "none but Irishmen should rule Ireland.” If the sentiment was correct, and Irishmen in this country all united in expressing it, why should they now find fault with it when applied to America ?

The Americans are but discharging a duty they owe to the land of their birth, equally due to the memory of their revolutionary ancestors and to their own posterity, when they set to work to purify the body-politic from disease which threatens destruction to the country, and to the institutions committed to their guardianship by their forefathers. What is the malady that afflicts as ?-what the evil they have set about to remedy? In one generation we have attained a growth exceeding that of any other nation; our flag floats in every sea, and is every where honored and respected; while our institutions are the theme of admiration throughout the civilized world; and yet we are obliged to struggle to maintain our distinct nationality at home. Millions of the oppressed in other lands resort hither to enjoy the blessings of freedom, and, in our contact with those who thus seek refuge from tyranny, our system has been inoculated with the decayed matter of the worn out, corrupt and dying systems of the old world, which renders it necessary to purify ourselves and lop off the fungus. And are Americans to be blamed for this? Surely no one can assert the affirmative and satisfactorily maintain it. Say what we will, there exists such an evil in the country. The people know and feel it. The gross abuses of the hospitality extended to those of foreign birth, and the outrageous violations of our laws, and infringements upon our rights, by foreigners coming among us-incited thereto, it must be, with sorrow and shame, confessed, by demagogues and knavish politicians in our own country-has been for a long while an alarming and growing evil in our elections, until at length it has become intolerable.

It is notorious that the grossest frauds have been practiced on our naturalization laws, and that thousands and tens of thousands have every year deposited votes in the ballot box, who could not only not read them, and knew nothing of the nature of the business in which they were engaged, but who had not been six months in the country, and, in many cases, hardly six days. By such influences, by the destruction of ballot boxes, and by forcibly preventing native born citizens from coming to the polls, the foreign element has at times carried the elections in our cities and towns, and thereby controlled States and the Union! The

power thus wielded has led to tlfe most disgraceful subserviency to the foreign element on the part of our native demagogues, and wholesale bargaining and traffic bas been the result.

It is in the horror and disgust of such a state of things that the American movement has had its origin, and that has given a healthful tone to public sentiment in regard to the evil under which the country has labored. The people have become aroused to the danger, and have accordingly determined to guard against it by placing the power of ruling only into the hands of those in whose devotion to the country they feel they may have confidence.

The right of Americans to prescribe terms of admission into the country, as well as to prescribe terms to be admitted to citizenship, or to refuse either or both, is a power which has been and continues to be exercised by all governments. It was so among the Jews, the Greeks and the Romans, in ancient times, and continues so in England, France and all other countries of modern times; and it is so, in a general sense, in the United States. Congress has control over the subject. The Constitution has confided to it the power of passing laws regulating naturalization, and if it should so change the law as to require twentyone years' residence before citizenship could be conferred, or should wholly repeal all laws on the subject, without providing any new process by which aliens could be made citizens, no one could have any wellfounded ground of complaint.

To become a citizen, is not a right which an alien can command, but a privilege which may be conceded and afforded, or withheld and refused; and, so long as no attempt be made to interfere with any existing right of citizenship, and that is not at all likely ever to be attempted, there can be nothing to justify the cry of persecution. Those who have acquired the rights and privileges of citizens are entirely beyond the reach of legislation ; they are invested with all the dignity of citizenship, which no power except they, by their own conduct, can take from them. Their rights are sacred, and cannot be infringed. The alteration or entire repeal of the naturalization laws cannot, therefore, affect the rights and privileges of naturalized citizens. No war is made against them. Why, then, should naturalized citizens feel different in regard to the matter than native born citizens ? Being sworn citizens of the United States, it does not accord with their obligations to regard themselves as a distinct class, and to feel aggrieved at legislation as a reflection upon them, when it is intended for the equal benefit of all who have a claim to American citizenship. They have no right, as good citizens, to regard themselves in any other light than Americans, and they lessen the dig. nity of citizenship by thinking of themselves as aliens still, and bestow


ing all their care and sympathy upon those of kindred birth who do not enjoy the rights of citizenship.

The manner in which Congress shall exercise the power given to it by the Constitution, in relation to the naturalization of aliens, should have no other object in view than the public good; and, if circumstances which have transpired, and the experience of the past, unite in dictating the propriety of lengthening the period of residence preliminary to the investiture of the rights of citizenship, or the entire cessation of conferring those rights upon those who shall hereafter migrate into the country, it is the duty, as well as it should be deemed the pleasure, of naturalized as well as native citizens, to sustain and uphold such a policy. It is a fallacy to argue that an extension of the period beyond that now required to become a citizen, or an entire refusal to naturalize, would be a proscription of men on account of the accident of birth.” As well might the unfortunate youth who struggles against the adverse circumstances of poverty, claim as a right to appropriate to himself a portion of the estate of his rich neighbor, and, on being denied his claim, arraign him for proscribing him on account of “the accident of birth.” Place of birth may be an accident; it undoubtedly is so, humanly speaking ; but so is, in the same sense, being born at all, or of being born under favorable instead of adverse circumstances; and yet these accidents constantly affect human rights and privileges, and the common sense of mankind admits the propriety of their doing so, nor has it ever get called in question the wisdom and beneficence of the Creator, in so ordaining the affairs of man.

The time and circumstances of birth and death are quite as much accidents as the place of birth, and yet these are the great controllers of the rights of property. Why, then, may not place of birth also, in a measure, control the rights of citizenship? None but Scotch Socialists, French Red Republicans, German Rationalists, or American Clootzes, have ever yet denounced the laws controlling property, and which allow the accidents of birth to fall so frequently between men and fortune; and why then complain about "proscribing men on account of the accident of birth ?" There is nothing in the rights of citizenship to exempt it from the influence of accidents which constantly affect other rights; and the assumed fact, that there is an inherent right in every man to a full participation in the government of every country in which he may choose to take up his residence, has never been either recognized or acknowledged by any government on earth, and cannot be conceded by our own, without involving the admission that our whole system is founded upon erroneous principles, and needs reformation.

Our Constitution contains many restrictions upon the rights of the people, though its preamble declares it to have been their own act. It

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requires the President to be a native born citizen, or one who was a citizen at the time of its adoption, and to be of a certain age; and, annexing these qualifications, the people cannot disregard them and elect whom they choose. It requires, also, certain qualifications as pre-requisites to hold a seat in the Senate or House of Representatives, which the people cannot disregard in their exercise of the elective franchise. So in regard to the qualifications of electors. These are prescribed by the State Constitutions, and consist in a certain period of residence in the State, county, city, borough, township, or precinct, payment of tax, &c., all of which, if the argument now advanced be correct, would have to be abolished, to relieve our system from the imputation of proscribing men on account of the accident of birth, residence, age, &c. Carrying the argument out, where would it lead to ? According to its theory, all restrictions would be proscriptive, and there could not consistently be a condition of any kind annexed to enable an alien to become a citizen. Common sense revolts at a doctrine which would lead to such conclusions, and its utter absurdity is made manifest by even those who arraign the American movement as proscriptive in its character.

The admission of foreigners to citizenship is not an inherent right they can claim nolens volens, but involves a question of expediency which it is in the power of Congress to determine. It may abolish all naturalization laws, or it may annex such conditions to become a citizen as the public good may seem to demand ; and, however onerons these may be made, they cannot be justly denounced as proscriptive in their character. If it can, as it has, fix a period of five years' residence to enable an alien to become a citizen, it can, if the good of the country demands it, extend the period to twenty-one years, or withdraw the power and authority from courts to naturalize at all. Grant the power to impose a condition of any kind, and no one denies that, and the whole argument of those who assail the American theory as proscriptive falls to the ground. Thus a Democratic meeting, held this summer in Daviess county, Kentucky, unintentionally and unconsciously surrendered the whole argument against the movement, and conceded the expediency and propriety of it, by adopting the following resolve, in substance, that “the foreiguer can, not consistently with reason and right be deprived of a voice in our government, and at the same time be taxed to support the same," but that the naturalization laws should be so altered as to lengthen his time of probation, that he may become more thoroughly imbued with the principles and spirit of our institutions !Such an admission concedes the whole argument, and contradicts the charge of proscription, leaving but one question to be determined, and that is, is any extension of time long enough, and, if so, to what period should it be extended ? As to the question of taxing foreigners without conferring upon them the right of

voting, the argument used bỳ the Daviess county Democracy is plausible, but is nevertheless a sophism which will not bear the test of scrutiny. If it be sound, then foreigners ought not to be taxed while they are here on probation, and should not be called on to contribute to the support of government until they have a voice in its management; and yet they are taxed as soon as they take up a permanent residence in a State, and it is right and proper that they should be. And why? Because there exists no necessary connection between taxation and the right of suffrage. The correct idea of taxation is, that it is the price paid for the protection afforded by government to person and property. Hence the property of widows, maids and minors is taxed; and why ought that of aliens, who enjoy the same protection, be exempt?

There is then nothing in the Constitution obligating Congress to any specific mode of action with regard to foreigners, nor any thing in Americanism which implies or conveys personal or invidious reproach against any citizen, whether of foreign or native birth. No such distinctions are sought to be created. The movement only recognizes, and seeks to enforce, such distinctions as the law of self-preservation, and the true principles of our government, have already established. It has been argued that a policy carried out, such as Americans now seek to establish, would create in our country a class corresponding with that of the Helots of ancient Sparta-a degraded caste whose presence would be dangerous to society. This is, however, a far-fetched argument, and entitled to no great consideration. The history of civilized States negatives the assumption—reason repudiates it-and our Constitution which requires a naturalization law at all denies it. Our own experience proves to us that the denial of the right of suffrage does not necessarily produce such a class. It is not so in the District of Columbia, whose inhabitants have not the right of voting for President.

Nor are the unnaturalized foreigners in our midst, whilst serving their probation, more degraded than after their naturalization. There exists not the least analogy between their condition and that of the Helots of Sparta. · They are in the enjoyment of all the rights of property, and the protection of their persons, character, privileges and freedom, with no mark of discrimination against them, but as to the right of suffrage, and that voluntarily assumed by them. In determining to change their homes, they had to decide between their native lands, where they are not allowed to vote, (for neither the Irish, German, Frenchman, nor Scotchman, can be said to enjoy the elective franchise,) and our own country,' where they may, after a residence of a certain period, or may not vote, which depends upon the policy pursued by the government. They come with a full knowledge that their admission to full citizenship depends upon the action and policy of our government; and to say that they

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