[Sidenote: Artificial Swelling of Passage Fees]
The truth is, the transportation agent has become a figure of international consequence and concern. The artificial cause behind the present unprecedented exodus from Europe, according to Whelpley, is the abnormal activity of the transportation companies in their effort to secure new and profitable cargo for their ships. In 1900 over $118,000,000 was invested in trans-atlantic steamship lines, which are largely owned by foreigners. New lines to the Mediterranean have been put on with distinct purpose to swell the Italian and Slav immigration. Rate cutting has at times made it possible for the steerage passenger to go from Liverpool to New York for as low as $8.75. The average rate is not high enough to deter anyone who really wants to come. An English line, in return for establishing a line direct from a Mediterranean port, has secured from the Hungarian government a guarantee of 30,000 immigrants a year from its territory.
[Sidenote: Solicitation Law Violated]
The law forbids transportation companies or the owners of vessels to "directly or through agents, either by written, printed, or oral solicitations, solicit, invite, or encourage the immigration of any aliens into the United States except by ordinary commercial letters, circulars, advertisements, or oral representations, stating the sailings of their vessels and terms and facilities of transportation therein." That this restrictive provision is persistently evaded is made plain by the reports of government inspectors sent abroad to investigate. The annual migration involves more than a hundred millions of dollars, and where money is to be made law is easily disobeyed.
[Sidenote: The Ubiquitous and Unscrupulous "Runner"]
One of the inspectors says the chief evil in this solicitation business is the so-called "runner." Here is his description of this mischievous genus homo. "It is he who goes around in eastern and southern Europe from city to city and village to village telling fairy tales about the prosperity of many immigrants in America and the opportunities offered by the United States for aliens. The runner does not know of anyone who is undesirable; he claims to be all-powerful, that he has representatives in every port who can 'open the door' of America to anyone. It is he who induces many a diseased person to attempt the journey, and it is also he and his associates who do their best to have the undesirables admitted. The steamship companies, as a rule, do not deal with these runners directly and disclaim all responsibility for their nefarious practices. But the official agents of the steamship companies do pay their runners commissions for every immigrant referred to them. I have especially studied this problem along the borders of Germany, Russia, and Austrian Galicia. Here most of the emigrants are smuggled across the frontiers by these runners and robbed of the greater part of their cash possessions. When they arrive at the 'control station' it is remarkable that most emigrants have cards with the address of a certain steamship ticket agent, and the agent, on the other hand, has a list of all the individuals who were smuggled across the frontiers. When I asked one of these representatives how this was done, he told me that he paid 'good commissions' to the runner on the other side of the frontier for each case. When steamship companies and their agents stop paying commissions to runners for emigrants referred to them, individuals will only by their own initiative attempt to come to the United States, and most of those considered undesirable will remain at their native homes."
[Sidenote: Law in Contempt]
Violations of law abound. Smuggling persons is regarded with much the same moral leniency as smuggling goods. The law forbids importation of persons under contract to work. In April last two Italian steamships carried back to Europe more than 1,000 laborers, who had been brought over in violation of the contract-labor laws. Commissioner Watchorn had word from his special investigators abroad that the men had been collected in the Balkan States to work for padrones in this country. So back went the thousand Slavs; but it was a chance discovery. The men admitted that the padrones had paid their passage and agreed to furnish them work. They said the rosiest conditions had been painted before their eyes, and they believed "big money" was to be made here. The steamship companies had to bear the expense of taking them back, but the padrones have not suffered any penalty, and will go on with their unlawful work.
[Sidenote: How the Laborers are Engaged]
Mr. Brandenburg learned from an Italian woman that her husband had been commissioned by a contractor in Pittsburg to go into the Italian provinces of Austria and engage 200 good stonemasons, 200 good carpenters, and an indefinite number of unskilled laborers. These people were to be put in touch with sub-agents of lines sailing from Hamburg, Fiume, and Bremen, and these agents were to be accountable for these contract laborers being got safely into the United States. This woman said many of her neighbors in Pittsburg had come into the country as contract laborers and held the law in great contempt, as it was merely a matter of being sufficiently instructed and prepared, and no official at Boston or Ellis Island could tell the difference. Why should not the law be held in contempt, not only this one but all law, by the immigrant who is introduced to America through its violation, and trained to perjure himself at the outset of his new career? Does not the Commissioner-General sound a note of warning when he says:
[Sidenote: The Christian Duty]
"It is not reasonable to anticipate that if the great transportation lines do not respect the laws of this country their alien passengers will do so, nor can it be conceded that those aliens whose entrance to the United States is effected in spite of the law are desirable or even safe additions to our population."
[Sidenote: Remedy Demanded]
It is painful to think that such conditions can exist in connection with so vital a matter as immigration. But it is better to have the facts known, in order that a remedy may be found. Publicity is the safety of republics and communities. And the disclosures of the lengths to which men will go in order to make money should give new and mighty impulse to those who believe in righteousness and have not bowed to the god mammon. If the work of Christianizing the aliens is made harder by the experiences through which they pass and the examples they have set before them by unscrupulous persons, it must be undertaken with so much the more zeal. Respect for law must be preserved, and one of the best ways to accomplish this is to see to it that the laws are enforced and the violators of them punished, even though they represent giant corporations and vast capital.
QUESTIONS FOR CHAPTER II
AIM: TO REALIZE THE NECESSITY OF JUST AND ADEQUATE LAWS FOR THE ADMISSION AND RESTRICTION OF IMMIGRANTS
I. Method of Admission.
1. What proportion of the immigrants now coming land at New York?
2. What is Ellis Island like—materially—spiritually?
3. Suppose yourself an immigrant: what steps would you take to reach New York? What processes would you undergo on landing? How would you be directed?
II. Governmental Regulation.
4. What two kinds of government regulation are practicable? Are both in force?
5. Do the steamship companies obey the law? with regard to its letter? to its real intent?
6. * Do you think unrestricted immigration is best for our country?
7. Why is the present discrimination against the Chinese not just?
8. When and to what extent was control over immigration assumed by the United States Government?
9. What measures were passed in 1903? Has there been any action since?
10. What classes of immigrants are excluded as unfit? Who decides in case of doubt?
11. Are many immigrants sent back? Why do the steamship companies bring the unfit?
12. How is immigration solicited? How is it coerced?
13. What is the purpose and what the actual working of the "Contract-Labor Law"?
V. What Can the Christian Public do to Improve Conditions?
14. * Can we expect immigrants to obey our laws, if they are started in such ways? Why not?
15. Has Christian public opinion any special duty in this matter? What is it?
REFERENCES FOR ADVANCED STUDY.—CHAPTER II
I. Visit and inspect if possible, some receiving station for immigrants, and report; or else consult the statements and charts of Reports of the Commissioner of Immigration, for the year ending June 30, 1905.
II. Describe the Brandenburgs during life among Italians, and journey to this country as immigrants; their aims, and the results achieved. Brandenburg: Imported Americans, IV, XIII, XV, XXII.
III. The present regulation of immigrants, with special reference to "The Excluded." Laws for 1903. Hall: Immigration, 216-231. Brandenburg: Imported Americans, 248-274.
IV. Is there need for further restriction? Hall: Immigration, XI, XII. Hunter: Poverty, VI. Charities and The Commons, issue for March 31, 1906.
The evils attendant upon unrestricted immigration are not theoretical but actual. Emigration from one place becomes immigration into another. It is an international affair of greatest importance, and should be speedily recognized as such.—J. D. Whelpley.
PROBLEMS OF LEGISLATION AND DISTRIBUTION
The immigration question in this country has never had the attention to which its importance entitles it. It has sometimes been the scapegoat of religious and racial prejudices, and always, in recent years, an annual sacrifice to the gods of transportation.—Prescott F. Hall.
It is exasperating to any patriotic American to have brought convincingly before him the proofs of a wholesale evasion of a very carefully planned code of laws which he fain would think is a sufficient protection of his country's best interests. It is more annoying to realize that the successful evaders are for the most part foreigners, and those, too, of commonly despised races. The conclusion is plain: Seek the grounds on which to deny passage to undesirable emigrants who wish to come to the United States, in the villages from which they emanate. In the communes of their nativity the truth is known and cannot be hidden.—Broughton Brandenburg.
The mesh of the law needs to be stiffened rather than relaxed. The benefit of the doubt belongs to the United States rather than to the alien who clamors for admittance.—Commissioner-General Sargent.
Distribution, rather than wholesale restriction, is being more and more recognized as the real way out of the difficulties presented by our immense unassimilated immigration.—Gino C. Speranza.
The need is to devise some system by which undesirable immigrants shall be kept out entirely, while desirable immigrants are properly distributed throughout the country.—President Roosevelt.
PROBLEMS OF LEGISLATION AND DISTRIBUTION
I. The Present Situation
[Sidenote: Difficulties in the Way]
There is a growing conviction that something ought to be done to check the present enormous inflow of immigrants. But when it comes to what that something is, difficulties at once arise. There are so many foreigners already in America, and so many children of foreign-born parents, that it is impossible to touch the stream at any point without protest from some source. As some one says, "You do not have to go very far back in the family line of any of us to find an immigrant. Scratch an American and you find a foreigner." And not a few of these foreigners sympathize with the Irishman who said to a lady against whom he had a grievance because she insisted on having a Chinese servant, "We have a right here that those who are here by the mere accident of birth have not." On the other hand, it was a foreigner of wide vision who said: "I do not believe there is any peculiar virtue in American birth, or that Americans are (per se) superior to all other nations; but I do believe that they are better fitted than all others to govern their own country. They made the country what it is, and ought to have the first voice in determining what it is to be. In this alone consists their superiority."
[Sidenote: The Immigration Conference of 1905]
It is significant and hopeful that men are thinking upon the subject. What we want is full and fair discussion and thorough information. Nothing is so perilous in a democracy as ignorance and indifference. It is far better for men to disagree thoughtfully than to agree thoughtlessly. What all patriotic and Christian men seek is the best good of this country, which means so much to the whole world as the supreme experiment of self-government. That the people are awakening was shown by the Immigration Conference in New York in December of 1905, when five hundred men, most of them appointed by their state governors, gathered under the auspices of the National Civic Federation to discuss the whole question of immigration. The immigration experts of the country were present, and the company included United States Senators and Representatives, college presidents and professors, leading editors, lawyers and clergymen, and prominent labor leaders.
[Sidenote: Conclusions Reached]
No such conference on this subject has before been held, and the results of the discussion, which was for the most part as temperate and sensible as it was straightforward, were such as to bring about a better understanding between the men who are supposed to be theorists and the representatives of American labor. The resolutions unanimously adopted were conservative and practical. The most important recommendations call for admission tests in Europe rather than after the alien has reached America, for the spread of information leading to better distribution, and for the establishment of a commission to investigate the subject of immigration in all its relations, including the violations and evasions of the present law. Undoubtedly such a commission, appointed by the president and possessed of competent authority, could accomplish much good. For one thing, it could keep the matter before the people and wisely guide public sentiment.
[Sidenote: The Right of Self-Protection]
However much men may differ in view as to specific legislation, one point ought to be regarded as settled. That is, the right of Congress to pass such laws as may be deemed essential to safeguard American institutions and liberties. A nation has the inalienable right to protect itself against foreign invasion; and it does not matter whether the invasion be armed or under the guise of immigration. No foreign nation has the right to send its peoples to America, or by persecution to drive them forth upon other nations, and no foreigner has any inherent right to claim admission to the United States.
[Sidenote: Welfare of the State Supreme]
Right is determined, in migration as in civic relations, not by the will or whim of the individual, but by the welfare of the state. Further than this, the government has the right to deport at any time any aliens who may be regarded as unfit to remain. There ought to be no confusion as to rights in this matter.
[Sidenote: Cases that call for Reform]
The question recurs, however, is there need of doing anything? As to this President Roosevelt and the Commissioner-General of Immigration are agreed. In his last annual message the President recommended the prohibition of immigration through Canada and Mexico, the strengthening of our exclusion laws, heavier restraints upon the steamship companies, and severer penalties for enticing immigrants. It is a striking fact that nearly all of the proposed additions to our laws are intended to stop the evasion and violation of the laws we have, which are made ineffective by fraud and questionable practices of the most extensive kind. A recent writer presents this matter in condensed form worthy of study, giving this "astonishing catalogue of abuses," brought to light by special inspectors in the employ of the Immigration Bureau:
[Sidenote: Astonishing Abuses]
"1. The importation of contract laborers, usually under the direction of padrones, from Greece, Italy, and Austria-Hungary.
"2. The smuggling of immigrants across the Canadian and Mexican borders who would be certain of rejection at our Atlantic ports.
"3. The 'patching up' of immigrants afflicted with favus, trachoma, and other loathsome or contagious diseases so that they can get past the inspectors without detection, even though the process is likely to augment their sufferings later.
"4. The forgery and sale of spurious naturalization certificates and the repeated use of the same certificates passed back and forth between relatives and friends.
"5. The assisting of immigration, either by local authorities in Europe or by earlier comers in America.
"6. The stimulating of immigration by transportation companies and their armies of paid agents and sub-agents in Europe."
[Sidenote: A Plain Necessity]
As a result, Mr. Ogg says, of the widespread operations through these underground channels there is an abnormal immigration movement so vast as "to override and all but reduce to a mere joke our whole restrictive system. That an appalling number of aliens who are on the verge of dependency, defectiveness, and delinquency do somehow contrive to get into the country every year is a fact too well known to call for verification here. Nobody undertakes to deny it." There is plain necessity, therefore, that some means of redeeming the situation should be found.
II. Proposed Legislation
[Sidenote: Three Recommendations]
The Commissioner-General of Immigration, in his report for 1905, devotes much space to new or amendatory legislation, which he regards as a necessity. To bring the steamship companies to stricter regard for law, he would raise the penalty for carrying diseased persons from $100 to $500. He favors the debarring of illiterates, and as a special recommendation proposes an international conference of immigration experts, with a view to secure by treaty or convention the cooeperation of foreign countries from which aliens migrate hither, both in reducing the number of immigrants and preventing the inadmissible and undesirable classes from leaving their own homes.
[Sidenote: Value of International Conference]
Such a conference would certainly be conducive to a good understanding between nations, would doubtless secure an effective restraint of the transportation agencies, and throw such light upon the attitude of foreign governments toward our present system of immigration restriction as would enable Congress to decide intelligently what additional measures are necessary to protect this country from the dangers of an increasing influx of aliens. This is an admirable recommendation. As Mr. Whelpley says, it is a question of emigration as well as immigration, and since two countries are interested in the migrants, the whole matter is properly one for international conference and action.
[Sidenote: Immigration Bills in Congress]
The interest taken by Congress in immigration is indicated by the introduction in the House during the session of 1906 of nineteen bills to regulate or restrict immigration, while a number were introduced in the Senate also. The House Committee on Immigration, of which Mr. Gardner, of Massachusetts, is chairman, took all the bills into consideration and reported a comprehensive Bill to Regulate the Immigration of Aliens into the United States. This proposed law advances considerably beyond the Act of 1903, which it is designed to replace. It raises the head tax from $2 to $5, introduces the reading test, and practically creates a money test also, by requiring every male immigrant to have $25 in hand at the time of examination. The money from the head tax is to constitute a permanent immigration fund, to defray not only the cost of the Immigration Bureau, but also that of maintaining an information bureau, to save immigrants from being deceived and show them where they are most wanted and likely to succeed.
[Sidenote: The Reading Test Pro and Con]
The section in this proposed legislation that has caused most discussion and dissension is the illiteracy test. This measure has been pressed upon Congress by the Immigration Restrictive League ever since the organization of that Society in 1894. Senator Lodge fathered it and it was passed once and vetoed by President Cleveland. President Roosevelt recommended it in his message of December 3, 1901, and it has received the endorsement of many boards of charities and many leading men. The strongest argument in favor of it is contained in a resolution passed by the Associated Charities of Boston, although the same argument applies broadly to the question of restriction. The reading test was discussed by speakers at the National Immigration Conference, but that meeting did not include it in the resolutions adopted. The Jewish influence is thrown strongly against it, since the Russian Jews who are fleeing from oppression are among the most illiterate of the present immigration. This is due to lack of school facilities, however, for the Jews naturally take to education and the Jewish children in the public schools and high schools are carrying off the prizes. "Not long ago I saw a Jewish girl in a New England academy win the prize in constitutional history over the heads of the boys and girls from American families, though her father was an illiterate Russian Jew."
[Sidenote: In Favor of Illiterates]
That is not by any means an unusual testimony. Another fact worthy of note is that many of those who have worked most closely among the immigrants do not favor the reading test. Mr. Brandenburg, for example, suggests that the illiterates often prove less opinionated and more easily assimilable than others of the same race who can read and write, and says that so far as his experience goes the great proportion of the rascals and undesirables can read and write; that if he had his choice between admitting to this country a wealthy educated Roman nobleman or an illiterate Neapolitan or Sicilian laborer, he would take the laborer every time, for his brain and brawn and heart make the better foundation on which to build the institutions of our Republic. Miss Kate Claghorn and other experienced workers agree in this view, and think it would be a positive misfortune to make ability to read the deciding test. Nor would these experts favor the money test. They believe the inspectors should have more leeway, as judges of human nature, and would rather rely on their judgment as to the character of the applicant than upon any arbitrary tests. So this is an open question for discussion, with good arguments on both sides.
[Sidenote: Three Further Propositions]
There are three propositions further. The first is a measure introduced into the House by the late Congressman Adams of Pennsylvania. This would restrict by law the total number of immigrants from any given country in any one year to 80,000. This would decrease the south of Europe quota, and might increase that from northern Europe. It would at any rate tend to stop the million a year rate.
[Sidenote: Itinerant Boards]
The second measure is proposed by Mr. Brandenburg, who feels sure it would prove the desired remedy. His opinion carries a good deal of weight. His proposal is to "select emigrants before itinerant boards of two, three, or more native-born Americans who speak fluently and understand thoroughly the language and dialects of the people who come before them—these boards to be on a civil service basis," and to sit at stated times in the central cities of the countries whence aliens come. This he believes to be "a correct solution of the gigantic problem." It would keep expense down, avoid opportunities for wholesale corruption of American officials by the transportation interests and the immigrants themselves, and enable the examiners to deny passage to persons desirous of going to districts already over-populated with aliens.
[Sidenote: Inspection Abroad]
The third measure is in line with the second, but instead of establishing itinerant boards of examiners, it proposes to select fifteen or twenty ports abroad which shall be made exclusive points for the embarkation of emigrants bound for the United States. Mr. Ogg states the plan as follows:
[Sidenote: List of Cities]
"Perhaps an adequate list would be Hamburg, Bremen, Stettin, Rotterdam, Antwerp, London, Southampton, Liverpool, Havre, St. Nazaire, Marseilles, Fiume, Trieste, Naples, Genoa, and Odessa. At each of these ports should be located an immigrant station, similar, in a general way, to the immigrant stations at our larger Atlantic ports to-day, and it should be made the duty of the resident commissioners, with their staffs of inspectors and medical attaches, to examine carefully and minutely every man, woman, and child of alien nationality who applies for passage to the United States. Successful applicants should be given a certificate which alone would enable them to land at the port of destination; those unsuccessful should be made to understand then and there that, in their present state at least, there is no chance for them to carry out their intention of migration, and that the best thing for them to do is to return to their homes."
[Sidenote: Do the Sifting in Europe]
This radical plan proposes to transfer Ellis Island, in effect, to a score of points in Europe, and do the sifting before the starting. That would be sensible. Then only the desirable portion would get here. While the idea is radical, it is the outgrowth of years of experience and reflection, and Mr. Ogg says, immigration officials are generally agreed upon its wisdom and practicability. This system, thoroughly carried out, would not only stop all immigration that is illegal, but as much as possible of that which, though not illegal, is questionable and undesirable. More tests applied at this end of the route will be only partially effective, since experience proves that the present tests are evaded. The means of reform, upon which all other immigration reforms must wait, lies in this shifting of the main work of supervision and inspection to Europe. The foreign governments would welcome the plan, or at least accept it if proposed by this country.
[Sidenote: What this would Accomplish.]
This system would serve to prevent the tragedies of the excluded; would go far toward stopping the pernicious activity of the steamship companies and their enticing emissaries; would facilitate the detection and punishment of those breakers and evaders of the law who are now immune; and it would make possible a quite different and more searching examination of intending immigrants than is possible when the mass of them is poured out at Ellis Island, as through the small end of a funnel. Back to the sources is humane and wise. The expense involved could easily be met by an increased head tax; and if not, this is a case where expense in money is not to be counted in comparison with the country's welfare.
[Sidenote: International Regulation]
These are interesting propositions. Mr. Whelpley agrees with Mr. Brandenburg as to the necessity of dealing with the migrant before he reaches port, either of embarkation or disembarkation. He says our laws and restrictions are severe, and thoroughly and intelligently enforced, but fall short of their purpose for the simple reason that there is little or no control over the source of supply. "It is an effort to beat back the tide after it has rolled upon the shore, and in the vast multitude of arrivals many gain entrance legally whom the country would be better off without." His plan is to have an international regulation of migration, so that each government will do its part to check the present conditions and regulate the matter at its starting point.
[Sidenote: A Higher Standard]
This subject of legislation is confessedly delicate and difficult. The diversity of opinion is confusing. Yet we cannot escape the conviction that the present immigration is altogether too vast for the good of the country. Suspension is not to be seriously considered, but surely it could do no harm to make the laws more stringent, to insist upon a higher physical standard, to debar degenerates, and to stop at any cost the solicitation and "assisted" immigration abuses which have caused so much suffering to the deceived and excluded victims of greed.
III. The Problem of Distribution
[Sidenote: The Crucial Point]
No phase of the immigration question is receiving more attention at present than that of distribution. There is a common opinion that if the proper distribution could be made, the chief evils of the tremendous influx would disappear. We are told that it is the congestion of aliens in already crowded centers of population that creates the menace to civilization; that there is land enough to be cultivated; and that vast enterprises are under way calling for the unskilled labor that is coming in. But the puzzling problem is how to get the immigrants where they are wanted and needed, and can be of value. On this point, Mr. Max Mitchell, Superintendent of the Federation of Jewish Charities, says:
[Sidenote: An Expert Opinion]
"The problem is that of overcrowding. We must not close our ports to the people of the Old World who seek a haven and a home in the land of liberty and plenty, but we must see to it that when they arrive here they are directed out of the city and into the country places where ordinary human industry is rewarded abundantly. The inclination of the immigrants themselves to stick so closely to the great centers of population must be overcome. If the great crowds of foreigners that inundate these shores every year could be distributed in a sensible and logical way over all the vast uncultivated territory in which this nation is so rich, we should never hear any complaint of too much immigration. No better farmers can be found anywhere than among the foreign peoples who seek America."
[Sidenote: Legislation Required]
Very likely, but the trouble is, they do not want to farm and they are free to prefer the squalor of the slums to the green of the fields. Nor is there much hope that this singular but strong inclination can be overcome save by government regulation, which shall settle the matter of location for those who have no specific destination or occupation. It is probable that on this point some reasonable legislation could be secured; especially if the various distribution societies and railroad companies should fail in their efforts to induce the aliens to go where they are needed. Commissioner-General Sargent has dealt plainly with this matter in his Reports for the last three years, and rightly estimates its importance. He says:
[Sidenote: Distribution of Prime Importance]
"In my judgment the smallest part of the duty to be discharged in successfully handling aliens, with a view to the protection of the people and the institutions of this country, is that part now provided for by law. Its importance, though undeniable, is relatively of secondary moment. It cannot compare in practical value with, nor can it take the place of, measures to secure the distribution of the many thousands who come in ignorance of the industrial needs and opportunities of this country, and colonize alien communities in our great cities."
[Sidenote: Information Agencies Proposed]
Suitable legislation is strongly urged to establish agencies through which, either with or without the cooeperation of the states, aliens shall be made acquainted with the resources of the country at large, and the industrial needs of the various sections, in both skilled and unskilled labor, the cost of living, the wages paid, the price and capabilities of the land, the character of the climates, the duration of the seasons—in short, all that information furnished by some of the great railway lines through whose efforts the territory tributary thereto has been transformed from a wilderness within a few years to the abiding place of a happy and prosperous population.
[Sidenote: A Growing Evil]
"Again the importance of undertaking to distribute aliens now congregating in our large cities to those parts of the United States where they can secure employment without displacing others by working for a less wage, and where the conditions of existence do not tend to the fostering of disease, depravity, and resistance to the social and political security of the country, is urged. The Bureau is convinced that no feature of the immigration question so insistently demands public attention and effective action. The evil to be removed is one that is steadily and rapidly on the increase, and its removal will strike at the roots of fraudulent elections, poverty, disease, and crime in our large cities, and on the other hand largely supply that increasing demand for labor to develop the natural resources of our country. Too much encouragement cannot be given to the reported efforts of certain railway companies to divert a portion of the tide of immigration to the Southern states. It is impossible, in the opinion of the Bureau, to overestimate the importance of this subject as bearing upon the effect of immigration on the future welfare of this country."
[Sidenote: Chart of Distribution]
What are the facts concerning the present location and distribution of immigrants? The answer involves a most interesting study. Taking the immigration of 1905, the chart on the next page illustrates the distribution by states.
[Sidenote: Where the Masses Stay]
The enormous proportion going to New York, Pennsylvania, and the North Atlantic section shows prominently. They got ninety per cent. of the whole, while the South received but four per cent. of the total, and only one per cent. of that went to the South Central States. The Great West had only four per cent. as against five the year preceding; showing conclusively how few of the million went where it would have been far better for the entire million to have gone. It is safe to say that there was little or no legitimate demand in New York, Pennsylvania, or New England for any of them. At the same time, there is some encouragement in the fact that the distribution of the past fourteen years shows that smaller proportions are now remaining in the states in which are located the principal ports of entry. For example, the percentage of New York State has steadily decreased from forty-two per cent. in 1892 to thirty per cent. in 1905. Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio have gained proportionately.
[Sidenote: Diagrams to be Studied]
A series of diagrams which show the distribution of the foreign-born living in the United States in 1900, was prepared by Mr. F. W. Hewes, for the World's Work, and published in October, 1903. By the courtesy of Doubleday, Page and Company, publishers, they are reproduced. Each dot in them represents a thousand persons. They show at a glance where the immigrants were in 1900, and the totals by race or nationality. By adding to these totals the remarkable figures of the last five years, one can appreciate the great increase in the Italian and Slavic totals, and an idea of the present situation may be obtained, for as to locality the percentages have not materially changed.
[Sidenote: Protective Societies]
The further point to be considered as to distribution is the effort now being made to accomplish desired results. In lieu of legislation or government provision, these are (1) Societies organized by individuals, and (2) Railway companies. The Bureau of Information proposed by the bill now in Congress would, if established, closely cooeperate with the state agencies and all other bodies promoting distribution.
[Sidenote: Italian Society]
One of the most active and efficient of these organizations, which will serve as an illustration, is the Society for Italian Immigrants, with headquarters in New York, near the Battery. The Society thus states its purpose and methods:
"About 200,000 Italian immigrants are now landing at this port during every twelve months. These immigrants are almost entirely poor peasants who cannot speak our language. In order that these people may get a fair start in this new and, to them, strange country, and that they may become familiar as soon as possible with our laws, habits, and customs, help and instruction of various kinds must be given them. To furnish these either freely or at the lowest possible cost, is the object of The Society for Italian Immigrants.
[Sidenote: A Real Service]
"Accordingly, in its work the Society employs agents to look after the needs of the immigrants at Ellis Island; it runs an escort service, by which competent persons are furnished, at nominal cost, to take immigrants to their destination; it conducts an employment agency; it maintains an information bureau; it cooeperates with the United States authorities to enforce the Immigration Laws; it manages labor camps for contractors; it wages war on all persons engaged in swindling immigrants; it is engaged in breaking up the padrone system in all its forms; and lastly and generally, it does all it can to help immigrants, so that as soon as possible they may become self-supporting and self-respecting citizens, a benefit and not a detriment to this country."
[Sidenote: Grants from Italian Government]
The Society is supported by voluntary contributions, and by grants to the amount of about $7,000 a year from the Italian government. The Society has met with the approval of the police department of the city, the United States authorities at Ellis Island, and the Italian Royal Department of Emigration, and of all individuals who have made themselves familiar with what it is doing. There is also a Boston Italian Society, organized in 1902, to protect newcomers from sharpers, thieves, and fraudulent persons; also from the frauds of bankers and padrones. The Italian government has given $1,000 a year to this Society.
[Sidenote: Hebrew and Other Societies]
A similar work is done by the United Hebrew Charities, and the Removal Bureau established by the Jews in New York in 1901. Through this agency in the past three years over 10,000 of the Russian or Roumanian Jews have been kept from increasing the overcrowded population of the ghetto and swelling the sum of sweat-shop misery. While the number distributed is small compared with the steady inflow (5,525 sent out in 1903, while 43,000 settled in New York), the work bids fair to make itself felt, and shows an appreciation by the Jews already here of the situation and the necessity of changing it, for the sake both of the immigrants and the country. Industrial removal is now known wherever Jews are found, and all that is possible is being done to stimulate artificial distribution as the remedy for the worst evils of unassimilated and congested immigration. There are also German, Scandinavian and other societies, benevolent and protective, which aid in distribution.
[Sidenote: A Chief Obstacle]
The principal difficulty with the distribution scheme, so far as most of the present-day immigrants are concerned, is that with the exception of the Italians they are not fitted for agriculture, while it is the farms that most need workers. Another difficulty is that the authorities of the various states object to receiving shipments of immigrants from the city tenement districts, regarding them as decidedly undesirable additions to the population. The United States Immigration Investigating Commission asked the governors of the different states what nationalities of immigrants they desired, and in only two cases was any desire expressed for Slavs, Latins, Jews, or Asiatics, and these two related to Italian farmers with money, intending to become permanent settlers. The officials protest against the shipment of southern and eastern Europeans from the city slums into the states. Care must be taken, too, that the immigrants do not settle in country colonies, which would render them almost as difficult of Americanization as though they were colonized in the city.
[Sidenote: What the South is Doing]
The New South is already giving object lessons to the country at large in the successful attraction and utilization of the alien influx. The Four States Immigration League, composed of representatives of business organizations in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, was organized in 1903 to secure desirable immigrants for those states. "It was keenly realized," observed the Chattanooga Times, "that of the enormous inflow from the old country, the number seeking homes in the South was ridiculously small and out of all proportion to the importance of the country and the inducements our productive fields hold out to home seekers." An Immigration Bureau has been established in Chattanooga, and South Carolina and other states have organized active departments of agriculture and immigration.
The leading railway lines promise active cooeperation, as their interests lie positively in this direction. Some, indeed, have actively engaged in the work of securing distribution.
[Sidenote: New Zealand Plan]
The suggestion is a good one that we might study with profit, in this connection, the methods of New Zealand. There the established Department of Labor has regarded as "its vital duty the practical task of finding where labor was wanted and depositing there the labor running elsewhere to waste." To this end a widely extended system of agencies is maintained for bringing workers and work together, the unemployed are scattered through the colony, and charity is refused. The experience there shows that city people and men of trades have been successful as farmers and farm workers. Mr. Lord says: "It may be a novel function of government to undertake the distributing of labor, but it is none the less more rational than an edict of exclusion would be, or the tolerance of congestion and slums now is."
[Sidenote: Information Before Embarking]
One thing that government can do is to make sure that intending immigrants are fully informed, in their own countries, before they start, concerning the laws of the United States, the conditions of the various sections, the advantages and drawbacks, the demand for labor and of what kind. An official bureau of correspondence and information would help check undesirable immigrants from coming, and distribute desirable ones when they do come.
[Sidenote: Looking on the Bright Side]
While the question of distribution has only recently been taken up in earnest, its importance is now realized, and there is every reason to believe that it will receive henceforth large attention, and that wise measures will be vigorously pushed. Remedied congestion will mean increased assimilation and decreased danger. As we review the situation, while there is much in it that requires serious consideration and wise action, we agree heartily with these words of Dr. Charles L. Thompson:
[Sidenote: Not Bars but Guides]
"There is no need of becoming pessimistic. Above all we should not go back on the history of our Country. We have grown great by assimilation. Let us have a dignified confidence in the power of our institutions and of our Christianity to continue the process which has developed the strength of the Republic. If we are true to our principles we will be equal to any strain that may be put upon them. Only let us see to it that our principles—both civic and religious—are at work in full vigor on the questions which the floodtide of immigration raises. What we need is not more bars to keep foreigners out but more laborers to work with them and teach them how to gather the harvest of American and Christian liberty."
QUESTIONS FOR CHAPTER III
AIM: TO STUDY THE PROBLEMS OF LEGISLATION AND DISTRIBUTION REGARDING ALIENS
I. The Opinions of Capable Observers Regarding Legislation.
1. Give the names and opinions of some who favor restriction of immigration. Of some who are opposed. With which do you agree?
2. The Immigration Conference of 1905: What was it? What did it recommend?
3. As to free admission: What are the rights of the government? Of the individual?
4. What does President Roosevelt recommend?
II. Proposed Legislation.
5. What abuses specially need to be corrected?
6. Name the chief provisions of the "Gardner Bill," before Congress in 1906.
7. * Give reasons for and against a reading test. Would you have voted for it or against?
8. Describe and give your opinion of other proposed methods of restricting immigration.
9. Would it be possible to sift immigrants before they leave Europe?
10. How much can be done toward a wider distribution of the stream of immigrants?
11. Where do the larger numbers now settle? In what cities? What states?
12. What Societies are helping them to find better locations?
13. What special efforts are being made by some Southern states?
14. How does New Zealand deal with this question? Can we copy that plan?
15. * What spirit is needed in dealing with the whole problem?
16. Can you tell of any special endeavors to bring about better control or direction of immigration?
REFERENCES FOR ADVANCED STUDY.—CHAPTER III
I. Further Study of Opinions of United States Immigration Officials.
See Commissioner-General's Annual Report, furnished free from Washington upon application to the "Commissioner of Immigration." Report of 1902, pp. 59, 60. Report of 1904, pp. 37-47, 123-136. Report of 1904, pp. 61-70. Report of 1905, pp. 58, 75-78.
II. Provisions and Fate of Legislation of 1906 Proposed in Congress.
Text of "Gardner Bill" and Journal of the House for June 25, 1906, can be secured by writing to Washington.
III. Evils of Undistributed Immigration.
Warne: The Slav Invasion, IV, V. Hunter: Poverty, VI. Lord, et al: The Italian in America, IV, X.
IV. Efforts to Secure Wider Distribution of Immigrants.
Hall: Immigration, XIII. Lord, et al: The Italian in America, VII, IX.
To know anything about the actual character of recent and present immigration, we must distinguish the many and very diverse elements of which it is composed.—Samuel McLanahan.
THE NEW IMMIGRATION
The world never before saw anything comparable to this tremendous movement of people in so short a space of time. The population Europe has lost in a hundred years is greater than the total number of inhabitants of Great Britain and Ireland in 1860, and only a little less than that of the United States in the same year. It is equal to three fifths of the total population of Europe in the time of Augustus Caesar. If the ships carried five hundred passengers on the average, about fifty thousand trips have been made in the transfer.
Emphatically too many people are now coming over here; too many of an undesirable sort. In 1902 over seven tenths were from races who do not rapidly assimilate with the customs and institutions of this country.—Prescott F. Hall.
There are two classes who would pass upon the immigration question. One says, "Close the doors and let in nobody;" and the other says, "Open wide the doors and let in everybody." I am in sympathy with neither of these classes. There is a happy middle path—a path of discernment and judgment.—Commissioner Robert Watchorn of New York.
Just as a body cannot with safety accept nourishment any faster than it is capable of assimilating it, so a state cannot accept an excessive influx of people without serious injury.—H. H. Boyesen.
It seems to me our only concern about immigration should be as to its character. We do not want Europe's criminals or paupers. The time to make selection is in Europe, prior to embarkation.—United States Senator Hansbrough.
THE NEW IMMIGRATION
I. New Peoples and New Problems
[Sidenote: Change of Racial Type]
So great has been the change in the racial character of immigration within the last ten years that the term "new immigration" has been used to distinguish the present prevailing type from that of former years. By new immigration we mean broadly all the aliens from southeastern Europe—the Italians, Hungarians, Slavs, Hebrews, Greeks, and Syrians—as distinguished from the northwestern Europeans—the English, Scotch, Welsh, Irish, French, Germans, and Scandinavians. The ethnic authorities at Washington make the following racial division, which is used in the official reports:
[Sidenote: Race Classification]
"Ninety-five per cent. of the immigration to this country comes from Europe. Most of these different races or peoples, or more properly subdivisions of race, coming from Europe have been grouped into four grand divisions, as follows:
"Teutonic division, from northern Europe: German, Scandinavian, English, Dutch, Flemish, and Finnish.
"Iberic division, from southern Europe: South Italian, Greek, Portuguese, and Spanish: also Syrian from Turkey in Asia.
"Celtic division, from western Europe; Irish, Welsh, Scotch, French, and North Italian.
"Slavic division, from eastern Europe: Bohemian, Moravian, Bulgarian, Servian, Montenegrin, Croatian, Slovenian, Dalmatian, Bosnian, Herzegovinian, Hebrew, Lithuanian, Polish, Roumanian, Russian, Ruthenian, and Slovak.
"The Mongolic division has also been added, to include Chinese, Japanese, Korean, East Indian, Pacific Islander, and Filipino.
"Under 'all others' have been included Magyar, Turkish, Armenian, African (black), and subdivisions native to the Western Hemisphere."
[Sidenote: The New Immigration]
This new immigration has been commonly regarded as either decidedly undesirable or at least distinctly less desirable than the Teutonic and Celtic, which for so many years practically had the field of America to itself. It has not been uncommon to group the Italians and Slavs, and denominate them as the "offscouring and refuse of Europe," now dumped into America, which is described as a sort of world "garbage bin." Extremists have drawn in gloomy colors the effects of this inrush of the worst and most illiterate and unassimilable elements of the Old World. A distinct prejudice has undoubtedly been created against these later comers.
[Sidenote: Reasons for Adverse Opinion]
There is unquestionably some ground for the feeling that the new immigration is in many respects less desirable than the older type. These peoples come out of conditions of oppression and depression, illiteracy and poverty. Far more important than this, they have had no contact with Anglo-Saxon ideas or government. They are consequently almost wholly ignorant of American ideals and standards. There is a vast difference between the common ideas of these immigrants and those from the more enlightened and progressive northern nations. So there is in the type of character and the customs and manners.
[Sidenote: The Older Type of Immigration]
We are sufficiently familiar with the older type, and do not need here to dwell upon it. We know how large a part has been played in the development of our national material enterprises by the Germans, the English and Irish, the Scotch and Welsh, the Swedes and Norwegians. Millions of them are among the loyal Americans of to-day. The Irish originally came to perform the unskilled labor of America. Their women made the domestics, and many of them still rule the American kitchen. But the Irish men have moved up, into bosses and contractors, into the stores and trades and professions, and especially into politics, until they practically run the cities and have a lion's share of the governmental positions. The Germans have always been among the best of our immigrant population in intelligence, thrift, and other qualities that make the German nation strong and stable. They have Germanized us more than we have Americanized them. The Scandinavians have with excellent judgment distributed themselves and gone largely into agriculture. All these north of Europe peoples belong to a common inheritance of principles and ideas, and all have found it natural to assimilate into American life. America owes a large debt to them, as they do to the land that has become their own by adoption.
[Sidenote: Necessity of Discrimination]
But what can be said about this new immigration? First let us see how great the change in racial character has been, and then differentiate these new races. It will not do to brand any race as a whole. Discrimination is absolutely necessary if we are to deal with this subject practically and justly. There are Italians and Italians, Slavs and Slavs, just as there are all sorts of Irish, Germans, and Americans. No race has a monopoly of either virtue or vice. This table will help us to differentiate the millions of immigrants since 1820 as to race:
Netherlands 146,168 France 428,894 Switzerland 220,199 Denmark, Norway, and Sweden 1,730,722 Italy 2,000,252 Japan 88,908 Germany 5,187,092 United Kingdom, Great Britain and Ireland 7,286,434 Russia 1,452,629 Countries not specified 2,130,756 China 288,398
[Sidenote: A Remarkable Shifting]
To appreciate the significance of these figures, it must be remembered that while the totals from the United Kingdom and Germany amount to nearly twelve and a half millions, or considerably more than one half of the entire immigration down to 1905, the proportions have been rapidly changing. The immigration from the United Kingdom, for example, reached its highest point in 1851, when the total was 272,740, predominantly from Ireland. The German immigration reached high mark in 1887, the total being 250,630. On the other hand, the immigration from Italy did not reach 10,000 until 1880, and passed the 100,000 mark first in 1900. In the past five years nearly a million Italians—or one half of the entire Italian immigration—have entered the country, and the number in 1906 promises to exceed a quarter of a million more. The highest mark was 233,546 in 1903; but even this did not equal the birth-rate in Italy. In Hungary and Russia, also, the birth-rate is greater than the immense drain of immigration, so that this stream will continue to flow and increase, unless some check is put upon it, or some legislative dam built. The immigration from Russia, consisting chiefly of Jews, did not become appreciable until 1887, when it reached 30,766. It passed 100,000 in 1902; and from 1900 to 1905 the total arrivals were 748,522, or just about one half the entire number of Jews in the United States. The same is true of the Hungarian and Slav immigration. Its prominence has come since 1890.
[Sidenote: The Inferior Checks the Superior]
The point of importance to be considered is that as the immigration from southeastern Europe has increased, that from northwestern Europe has decreased. In 1869 not one per cent. of the total immigration came from Austria-Hungary, Italy, Poland, and Russia, while in 1902 the percentage was over seventy. In 1869 nearly three quarters of the total immigration came from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Scandinavia; in 1902 only one fifth was from those countries. The proportion has held nearly the same since.
[Sidenote: Change in Source]
The change is indicated most plainly in this table, which compares the total immigration of certain nationalities for the period 1821 to 1902 with that for the year 1903:
1821 to 1902 1903 Country Number Per cent Number Per cent
Austria-Hungary 1,316,914 6.5 206,011 24.00 England, Wales 2,730,037 13.4 26,219 3.1 Germany 5,098,005 25.0 40,086 4.7 Ireland 3,944,269 19.3 35,300 4.1 Italy 1,358,507 6.7 230,622 26.9 Norway, Sweden 1,334,931 6.5 70,489 8.2 Russia, Poland 1,106,362 5.4 136,093 15.9
This table shows not only the nations which have added chiefly to our population in the past, and which are adding to-day, but how the percentage of each has varied in the period before 1903 compared with 1903. Mr. Hall says: "If the same proportions had obtained in the earlier period as during the later how different might our country and its institutions now be!"
[Sidenote: The Problem of Diverse Race Stocks]
This brings up the question of type, of character, and of homogeneity. The new immigration introduces new problems. The older immigration, before 1870, was chiefly composed of races kindred in habits, institutions, and traditions to the original colonist. To-day we face decidedly different conditions. At the same time study of these comparatively unknown races will bring us many surprises, and knowledge of the facts is the only remedy for prejudice and the only basis for constructive Christian work. We must know something, moreover, of the Old World environment before we can judge of the probable development of these peoples in America, or learn the way of readiest access to them. For they will not become Americanized unless they are in some way reached by Americans; and they will never be reached until they are understood.
II. The Italians
[Sidenote: Extremes of Opinion]
In our more detailed study of the new immigration we take first the Italians, who are seen wherever one turns in our cities, and are perhaps the most conspicuous of the immigrants. Here we come at once upon two extremes of opinion. One extreme finds little or nothing that is favorable to the Italians, who are classed all together and judged in the light of the Mafia, or "black hand," ready for all deeds of darkness. The other lauds these aliens so highly that an Italian himself said to the writer, referring to a recent book about his people in America: "I suppose I ought to be glad to have us all made out to be saints, but I am afraid there is another side to the story." We shall hope to find the truth between these extremes. This has to be admitted, on the start, that in most cases those who have most to do with the Italians, of whatever class, become warmly interested in them, and believe both in their ability and in their adaptability to American life.
[Sidenote: A Gifted Race]
When so keen a writer as Emil Reich, in discussing "The Future of the Latin Races," in the Contemporary Review, says, "there can be little doubt that the Italians are the most gifted nation in Europe," we see that it is a mistake to class all Italians as alike and put them under the ban of contempt as "dagoes." They differ from one another almost as much as men can differ who are still of the same color, says a recent writer.
[Sidenote: Marked Differences Between North and South]
Most northern Italians are of the Alpine race and have short, broad skulls; southern Italians are of the Mediterranean race and have long, narrow skulls. Between the two lies a broad strip of country, peopled by those of mixed blood. In appearance the Italians may be anything from a tow-headed Teuton to a swarthy Arab. Varying with the district from which he comes, in manner he may be rough and boisterous; suave, fluent, and gesticulative; or grave and silent. These differences extend to the very essentials of life. The provinces of Italy are radically unlike, not only in dress, cookery, and customs, but in character, thought, and speech. A distinct change of dialect is often found in a morning's walk. An ignorant Valtellinese from the mountains of the north, and an ignorant Neapolitan have as yet no means of understanding each other; and what is yet more remarkable, the speech of the unschooled peasant of Genoa is unintelligible to his fellow of Piedmont, who lives less than one hundred miles away.
[Sidenote: Different Environment]
The northern Italian is the result of a superior environment. His section is more prosperous, intelligent, orderly, and modern. The industrially progressive, democratic north presents a striking contrast to the industrially stagnant, feudal south. The northern division is full of the spirit of the new Italy, and its people are less prone to leave home. Central Italy, too, is making steady advances in agriculture and education, and the peasant farmer is a stay-at-home. In southern Italy agriculture is practically the sole reliance of the people, the lot of the day laborers is wretched, and the failure of a wheat crop is as disastrous as the potato famine in Ireland was to the Irish in 1847. United Italy is undoubtedly making progress in education and industry, the standards of living are rising, and the money sent or carried back to Italy from America has helped to some degree in this advancement. Religiously, of course, the domination of the Roman Catholic Church continues over all Italy, and in illiteracy as in other respects Italy is an example of what this ecclesiastical rule means where it has power over the people sufficient to enable it to work its will.
[Sidenote: Common Poverty of the Peasants]
In view of these facts regarding the home environment and difference in peoples, it will not do, evidently, to use sweeping generalizations, or to regard the organ-grinder and fruit-peddler as the representatives of Italy in America. We receive all grades, from cultured professionals to illiterate peasants, though mainly, of course, the peasant class. The one common feature of the Italian provinces is the poverty produced by the crushing taxes and agricultural depression. Absentee landlordism has blighted southern Italy as it has Ireland. Yet with great tracts of fertile soil thus held away from the people, and with no new territory to cultivate, the population of Italy has increased within twenty years from twenty-eight and a half to thirty-two and a half millions, an average density of 301 per square mile, and the excess of births over deaths amounts to nearly 350,000 a year. Hence the question with the people in overcrowded districts is simply emigration or starvation. The southern Italian is driven from home by necessity to work, and work is to be found in America, so he comes. His labor is mostly unskilled, and this is in demand here. The result is that almost eighty per cent. of the Italian immigrants are males; over eighty per cent. are between fourteen and forty-five, the working age; over eighty per cent. are from the southern provinces, and nearly the same percentage are unskilled laborers, and a large majority of these are illiterates. The eighty per cent. of "human capital of fresh, strong young men" is Italy's contribution to America, and is a force winning its way to recognition.
[Sidenote: Figures of Italian Immigration]
Let us note the growth of Italian immigration, its sources, and its distribution. In the sixty years from 1820 to 1880 only 68,633 Italians made their way to America, while during this period the total foreign immigration was over ten millions. The census of 1890 gave the Italian population of the United States as only 182,580, and at that date not over a half million in all had come here. The rapid increase during recent years is shown in the following table:
IMMIGRATION FROM ITALY TO THE UNITED STATES
1890 52,003 1898 58,613 1891 76,055 1899 77,419 1892 61,631 1900 100,135 1893 72,145 1901 135,996 1894 42,977 1902 178,375 1895 35,427 1903 230,622 1896 68,060 1904 193,296 1897 59,431 1905 221,479
[Sidenote: Remarkable Increase]
This shows how steady and remarkable the immigration has been since 1900. In five years 959,768 Italians have come to this country. Surely it is worth our while to know more particularly the character of this million and their promise as an element in our civilization. Thousands of them are "birds of passage"—that is, they come and go, earning money here and going back home to spend it and then returning to earn more; but tens of thousands come to stay, and will play their part in shaping our future.
[Sidenote: Distribution of Italians]
The distribution of the Italians is shown partially in the accompanying diagram. This, however, is based upon the Census of 1900, and does not account for the million arrivals since 1900. The destination clause in the immigrant's manifesto gives light upon the matter of distribution, although the incomer does not always get to the point named in his papers. From the official report for 1905 these results are drawn:
North South Locality Italian Italian Total
New York 9,733 81,572 91,305 New Jersey 1,272 11,494 12,766 Pennsylvania 7,554 43,078 50,632 Connecticut 1,626 5,835 7,461 Massachusetts 2,011 11,747 13,758 Rhode Island 196 2,422 2,618 Illinois 3,663 6,685 10,348 Ohio 861 6,230 7,091 Michigan 1,330 1,649 2,979 West Virginia 421 2,987 3,408 Louisiana 177 2,631 2,808 Missouri 769 1,477 2,246 Mississippi 674 213 887 Eight Southern States 467 1,036 1,503 California 4,513 1,081 5,594 Colorado 824 881 1,705
[Sidenote: Largely in Cities]
It is interesting to note that at least one Italian immigrant was destined to every state and territory. Of the total Italian population in this country in 1900, 62.4 per cent. was in the 160 principal cities, and nearly one half in New York alone. The percentage of Italians attracted to the cities is about the same as that of the Irish.
[Sidenote: Italians and Irish Compared]
An interesting parallel, indeed, may be drawn between these races. The Italians to-day occupy largely the place occupied by the Irish of yesterday. The Irish came in the earlier years by reason of distressing conditions at home, forcing them to seek a living elsewhere; this is now true of the Italians. The Irish were chiefly peasants, unskilled laborers and illiterate; so are the Italians. The Irish came mainly from agricultural sections and herded in the great cities; so do the Italians. The handy weapon of the Irish was the shillalah, that of the Italian is the stiletto. The Irish found ready employment by reason of the demand for cheap unskilled labor created by the vast material enterprises of a swiftly developing country, with cities and towns and railroads to build; this work is done by the Italians now, and they are commonly conceded to be in many respects better at the job. Here is a sample of the kind of testimony frequently given concerning them as workers:
[Sidenote: Good Workers]
"I have learned to be cautious in comparing races. I find good, bad, and indifferent people in all races. But I dissent from the current notion that the southern Italian is so much inferior to the northern. As a people there is more illiteracy among them; but when he goes to school the southern Italian holds his own with the northern. Another fact of promise is that Italians have not lost the spirit of service. They are good workmen. Not long since, asking a contractor who was building a sewer in the city why he had only Italians in his employ, he replied, 'Because they are the best workmen, and there are enough of them. If an Italian down in that ditch has a shovelful of earth half way up when the whistle blows for dinner, he will not drop it; he will throw it up; the Irishman and the French-Canadian will drop it. And when the lunch hour is over, when the clock strikes the Italian will be leaning on his shovel ready to go to work, but the Irishman will be out under that tree and he will be three minutes getting to his job, and three minutes each, for 150 men, is not a small item. The Italian does not regard his employer as his natural enemy. He has the spirit of kindly service."
[Sidenote: Cheerful and Responsive]
The writer can confirm this from personal observation. The Italians are cheerful workers, and on hand ten to fifteen minutes before the hour to begin work. They relish a kind word, and can give lessons in politeness to many an American-born. Ask anyone brought in contact with them and you will get the same testimony.
[Sidenote: Flower of the Peasantry]
According to Adolfo Rossi, Supervisor of the Italian Immigration Department, who is deeply interested in the proper distribution and welfare of his countrymen in America, these immigrants are the flower of the laboring class of Italy. Economically they are doubtless of value at so many dollars per head. But of far more importance is the question, what are they in the social fabric? If, as some assert, the Italian race stock is inferior and degraded, if it will not assimilate naturally with the American, or will tend to lower our standards, then it is undesirable, even though the immigrant had a bank account in addition to his sturdy body. The further one investigates the subject, the less likely is he to conclude that the Italian is to be adjudged undesirable, as a race. He must be judged individually on his merits.
[Sidenote: Demand for Unskilled Labor]
Mr. Carr draws a decidedly favorable picture of the Italians, whether from north or south. He says that immediate work and high wages, and not a love for the tenement, create our "Little Italies." The great enterprises in progress in and about the city, the subway, tunnels, water-works, railroad construction, as well as the ordinary building operations, call for a vast army of laborers. It is the educated Italian immigrant without a manual trade who fails in America. The illiterate laborer takes no chances. The migratory laborer—for more than 98,000 Italians went back to Italy in 1903, and 134,000 in 1904—confers an industrial blessing by his very mobility. Then, in his opinion, there is something to be said for the illiterates who remain here. They are never anarchists; they are guiltless of the so-called "black hand" letters. The individual laborer is, in fact, rarely anything but a gentle and often a rather dull drudge. More than this, our school system deprives us of unskilled laborers. The gangs that dig sewers and subways and build railways are recruited from the illiterate or nearly so, and for our supply of the lower grades of labor we must depend upon countries with a poorer school system than ours.
[Sidenote: Favorable Comparison]
[Sidenote: Italians Not Beggars]
Concerning the charge that the Italian is a degenerate, lazy and a pauper, half a criminal, a menace to our civilization, it is shown that in New York the Italians number about 450,000, the Irish over 300,000. In males the Italians outnumber the Irish two to one. Consider these facts: In 1904 one thousand five hundred and sixty-four Irish, and only sixteen Italians, were admitted to the almshouse on Blackwell's Island. Mr. James Forbes, chief of the Mendicancy Department of the Charity Organization Society, says he has never seen or heard of an Italian tramp. In reply to this, those who dislike the Italians say that their cheap labor has made tramps of many who would otherwise be employed. As for begging, between July 1, 1904, and September 30, 1905, the Mendicancy Police in New York took into custody 519 Irish and only 92 Italians. This table will be found interesting:
NATIVITY OF PERSONS ADMITTED TO ALMSHOUSE (NEW YORK) IN 1900
Male Female Total
United States 355 199 554 Ireland 808 809 1,617 England and Wales 111 87 198 Scotland 25 14 39 France 19 2 21 Germany 290 84 374 Norway, Sweden and Denmark 22 6 28 Italy 15 4 19 Other Countries 50 36 86 ——- ——- ——- 1,695 1,241 2,936
This ought to correct some ideas as to where the pauperism comes from. Certainly the Italians are not to be charged with it. Conditions in Boston show equally well for the Italians. The proportions for the whole country also give them a remarkably low degree as compared with other races.
[Sidenote: Few Insane]
As to insanity, the figures tell their own story: In the charitable institutions of the country, there were of the insane: Irish, 5,943; Germans, 4,408; English, 1,822; Scandinavians, 1,985; and Italians, 718. As shown by the analysis of the Bureau of Immigration, the proportion of Irish in the charitable institutions is 30 per cent., of Germans 19, of English 8.5, while the Italians and Hebrews are each 8 per cent.
[Sidenote: Criminal Record]
The important point of crime remains to be considered. Here the Italian is commonly rated very high, by reason of the violent and conspicuous nature of most of his crimes, which are against the person. We hear of the brutal murders, the threats of the Mafia, the secret assassinations, and frequent sanguinary stiletto affrays, and are apt to regard the whole race as quarrelsome and murderous. The facts do not bear out this opinion. Here again they appear rather to the disadvantage of the older type of immigrant. The United States Industrial Commission on Immigration shows, by its statistical report, that "taking the United States as a whole, the whites of foreign birth are a trifle less criminal than the total number of whites of native birth." This report further says: "Taking the inmates of all penal and charitable institutions, we find that the highest ratio is shown by the Irish, whose proportion is more than double the average for the foreign-born, amounting to no less than 16,624 to the million."
[Sidenote: Italians Temperate]
By far the greatest proportion of crime is caused by intemperance, and here the Italians are at a decided advantage, for they are among the least intemperate of the foreign peoples, and far less so than the average native-born. Arrests for drunkenness are exceedingly rare among them, and a drunken Italian woman is as rare as one of immoral character. While in Massachusetts three in a hundred of the northern races, including the Scotch, Irish, English, and Germans, were arrested for intemperance in a given year, only three in a thousand of the Italians were arrested on this charge. In these respects the race is deserving of great commendation, especially in face of the tenement conditions into which most of the newcomers are thrust. If they become worse in America than they were when they came, we ought to take heed to the sins of greed, and not put all the blame on the aliens.
[Sidenote: Crimes of Assault]
In crimes against the person the Italians are at their worst, but the affrays with knives and pistols are confined mostly to their own nationality, and grow out of jealousy or rivalry or resentment at fancied injuries. "There are, no doubt," says Dr. S. J. Barrows, "murders of sheer brutality, or those committed in the course of robbery. There are known instances also of blackmail and dastardly assassination by individuals or bands of ruffians. But such outrages are utterly at variance with the known disposition of the great mass of the Italians in this country. There are vile men in every nationality, and it does not appear by any substantial evidence that the Italian is peculiarly burdened, though it has been unwarrantably reproached through ignorance or prejudice." This is the opinion of an expert in criminology, who has traveled extensively in Italy and knows the people on both sides of the sea.
[Sidenote: Italians not all Unskilled]
It is a fact of importance that the great majority of the Italian immigrants, while classed as unskilled, have had some experience in farming or gardening or home industries of some kind. There is a larger percentage of skilled labor than is commonly supposed, and the list is interesting. The Annual Report on Immigration for 1905, for example, gives the distribution by occupation, from which we take some of the leading classes:
PROFESSIONS, TRADES AND INDUSTRIES OF THE ITALIANS ADMITTED IN 1905
North South North South Occupation Italy Italy Italy Italy
Architects 10 10 Carpenters and cabinet Clergy 52 69 makers 367 1,857 Editors 9 6 Dressmakers 161 615 Electricians 24 20 Gardeners 30 165 Engineers, professional 20 24 Masons 1,374 3,161 Lawyers 12 25 Miners 1,843 492 Literary and scientific Shoemakers 287 4,004 persons 19 15 Stonecutters 409 567 Musicians 38 240 Tailors 239 2,591 Physicians 34 72 Farm laborers 6,181 60,529 Sculptors and artists 116 52 Farmers 1,397 4,814 Teachers 31 45 Manufacturers 14 32 Bakers 201 571 Merchants and dealers 557 1,415 Barbers 82 1,718 Servants 2,752 8,669 Blacksmiths 168 909 Laborers 14,291 56,040 Butchers 65 278 No occupation, including children under 14 7,632 32,115
[Sidenote: Tendency to Advance]
[Sidenote: Desire for Education]
It will be seen that not all the Italians who come are mere hewers of wood and drawers of water; while there is a distinct tendency on the part of those who begin at the bottom of drudgery, in the subways of American civilization, to advance. The desire for education and betterment is as manifest as it is hopeful. No parents are more ambitious for their children, or more devotedly attached to them, than are the Italian immigrants who have brought over their families, and no children in our schools are brighter or more attentive. There is good blood in the Italian strain. They are an art and music-loving people, and in this respect the southern Italians take the lead. They come from a land of beauty and fame, song and sunshine, and bring a sunny temperament not easily soured by hardship or disappointment. Otherwise the tenement and labor-camp experiences in America would soon spoil them. With the exception of the money they earn, the change has been for the worse.
[Sidenote: Amazing Thrift]
The thrift of the Italians is proverbial. To earn and save money they will live in conditions unsanitary, unhealthy, and degrading. It is not because they love dirt and degradation, but that they want money so much that they will put up with anything to get it. They can live and save a bit where an American family would starve. They have fairly monopolized for a time certain lines into which they entered—as the small fruit trade, the bootblacking business, and other pursuits. It is said that they have made the Americans a fruit-eating people. Supplanted in the street-vending of fruit by the Greek, the Italian has gone into business in earnest, and you find the small fruit stands everywhere, with always a good stock, and by no means a low price. As barbers and tailors, too, the Italians are becoming known. They have a passion for land, and acquire property rapidly. Take the increase of their real estate holdings in New York as an example. Mr. G. Tuoti, a representative Italian operator in real estate, says that twenty years ago there was not a single Italian owner of real estate in the districts where such owners now predominate. He has a list of more than 800 landowners of Italian descent, whose aggregate holdings in New York are approximately $15,000,000.
[Sidenote: Property Holdings]
As to Italian savings and investments in the same city, Mr. Gino C. Speranza, vice-president of the Society for Italian Immigrants, finds on computation the Italian investments in the city savings-banks to total more than $15,000,000. He puts the real estate holdings at 4,000, of the clear value of $20,000,000. He estimates that 10,000 stores in the city are owned by Italians, and sets their value at $7,000,000, with a further investment of as much more in wholesale business. He makes the total material value of the property of the Italian colony in New York to be over $60,000,000, and says this value is relatively below that of the Italian possessions in Saint Louis, Boston, and Chicago. The Italian Chamber of Commerce has over two hundred members, and has done much to promote the interests of the immigrants. There is one distinctively Italian Savings Bank, with an aggregate of deposits approximating $1,100,000, and about 7,000 open accounts. Sixteen daily and weekly Italian newspapers in New York alone indicate that the people are reading, and that not all are illiterates by any means. The Italian Hospital, the Italian Benevolent Institute, and over 150 Italian societies for mutual aid and social improvement—all this in New York—indicate a degree of enterprise and progress. In the smaller cities the condition of the Italians is in many respects much better than in the great centers, since the tenement evils are escaped. The reports from such cities as Bridgeport, Connecticut, and Schenectady, New York, are most favorable as to the general character of the Italians as faithful workers and peaceful residents.
[Sidenote: Increasing Land Values]
In the cities and on the small farms of the South and West the prosperity of the Italians is marked. They take unproductive land and make it fertile soil for truck-gardening, and have increased the value of surrounding lands in Louisiana and other states by showing what can be done. If they can be distributed properly, and gotten out of the congested city wards, there is unquestionably a future of prosperity for them. A Texas colony described by Signor Rossi, who recently investigated conditions with view to securing a better distribution by informing intending emigrants as to the openings for them in agricultural sections, illustrates the success of the Italians as gardeners and farmers.
[Sidenote: Successful Truck Farmers]
In the neighborhood of San Francisco Italians have cultivated about 250 truck farms. They "obtain the manure from the city stables gratis, and transform into fertile farms the original sand dunes." Nearly all our cities where Italians have settled are receiving vegetables and fruit as the product of Italian labor, and the Italian is first in the market. They are found on Long Island and Staten Island, in New Jersey and Delaware, in Virginia, and in all the New England states. Near Memphis, Tennessee, there is a large and noted colony of truck farmers, and they have done much to remove the prejudice formerly existing against Italian labor in the South. In this connection we give hearty second to the statesmanlike proposition made by a Christian worker who has been brought into close touch with the Italians and other foreign peoples in Brooklyn:
[Sidenote: A Good Proposition]
"Pure philanthropy could not find a better field for the investment of a few hundred thousand dollars than in the organization of farm and garden colonies a few miles out from our great city. On Long Island there are many thousands of acres of light, arable land perfectly adapted to the raising of small fruits and garden products. Irrigation plants could be provided at moderate cost, insuring generous crops. The Italian is prepared by nature, and by training in his own home land, for the cultivation of the soil. In a small way he has demonstrated his ability in the land of his adoption to do the very things here suggested. What he needs is a fair chance.
[Sidenote: Strong Guiding Hand Needed]
[Sidenote: The Crucial Point]
"What is needed is the guiding hand of 'philanthropy and five per cent.' to lead out of the congested and squalid tenement districts thousands of these poor yet industrious people who could make our deserts of Long Island sand and scrub oak blossom as the rose. Let the modern method find illustration here. Let our philanthropist choose for himself a board of trustees to whom should be delegated the management of a generous fund toward the end proposed. Keen-minded and great-hearted business men there are who would delight to give time and care to so worthy an object; and within five years a colony of 25,000 Italians could be transported and translated from the ghettos and filthy, crowded tenement districts of our great city into God's open country, there to be speedily transformed into industrious, self-supporting American citizens. Having studied this problem for years, I believe it is entirely feasible. Brain and heart, time and talent, land and water, enlarging markets demanding produce, men, women, and children begging for an opportunity to earn a decent living—all these are ready and waiting for use and service. All that is lacking is an adequate supply of good money to set the enterprise in motion. We have millions invested at Coney Island, at Gravesend racing track, and at the new Belmont Park, to beguile and hypnotize the masses. God must have in his keeping somewhere millions to uplift and redeem the masses. There is unspeakable need that they be ministered unto in the spirit of the Master."
[Sidenote: Opportunity of Wealth]
These are weighty and practical words, and some day Christian men of wealth will see the wisdom of them. How could American prosperity better insure itself and all it represents for the future?
[Sidenote: Favorable Conclusion]
What, then, is the conclusion of our study? On the whole, decidedly favorable to the Italian, while recognizing the vicious and undesirable element that forms a comparatively small part of the whole. The Italian in general is approachable, receptive to American ideas, not criminal by nature more than other races, not difficult to adapt himself to new environment, and eager to earn and learn. He furnishes excellent raw material for American citizenship, if he does not come too rapidly to be Americanized. But what he will mean to America, for good or ill, depends almost wholly upon what America does for and with and through him. Thus far, there has been too much of prejudice and neglect. Better acquaintance is the first step toward the transformation of the Italian alien into the Italian-American.
[Sidenote: Roman Catholic Testimony]
As for the religious side, here is testimony from a Roman Catholic source. Mrs. Betts says:
"The relation between the Roman Catholic Church and the mass of the Italians in this country is a source of grief. Reluctantly the writer has to blame the ignorance and bigotry of the immigrant priests who set themselves against American influence; men who too often lend themselves to the purposes of the ward heeler, the district leader in controlling the people, who too often keep silence when the poor are the victims of the shrewd Italians who have grown rich on the ignorance of their countrymen. One man made $8,000 by supplying 1,000 laborers to a railroad. He collected $5 from each man as a railroad fare, though transportation was given by the road, and $3 from each man for the material to build a house. The men supposed it was to be a home for their families. They found as a home the wretched shelters provided by contractors, with which we are all familiar. This transaction, when known, did not disturb the Church or social relations of the offender, but it increased his political power, for it showed what he could do. He is recognized to-day as the Mayor of—— street; his influence is met everywhere."
[Sidenote: Accessible to Evangelism]
There is no doubt that the Italians are accessible to evangelical Christianity. Thousands of them appreciate the true character of the Church that tried to prevent Italian unity and liberty, and they are peculiarly open to the truths of democracy and the gospel. The home missionary finds among them a fruitful field. Dr. Lee expresses the conclusions of many observers, and indicates also a gate of personal opportunity to serve, when he says, as a result of personal observation and effort:
[Sidenote: Exceptionally Open-minded]
"Incident to the general recoil from the papal control, an enormous number of the Italians coming to this country are out of the old Church; they are without religion, yet are in a way groping after one. As a consequence the Italian is exceptionally open-minded. You can talk with him. He is not suspicious—not apprehensive lest you mislead him. He may have no respect for any kind of religion, but he is not afraid that you will lure him into forbidden paths. He is beginning to think—a privilege which he has been denied in the past. This open-mindedness is readiness to accept the spirit and theories of American life; for open-mindedness is an American characteristic."
And open-mindedness toward the gospel is the vestibule to conversion.
QUESTIONS FOR CHAPTER IV
AIM: TO CONSIDER THE DESIRABILITY OF THE ITALIANS AS IMMIGRANTS, AND THE OPPORTUNITY FOR CHRISTIAN WORK AMONG THEM.
I. Contrast the Old and New Immigration.
1. What is the New Immigration?
2. What has become of the earlier immigrants? Was their coming a benefit to the United States?
3. Would your judgment concerning it have been the same when they were coming?
4. What races have gained and what have lost in their respective proportions?
II. The Italians.
5. What are the leading types at present? What are they likely to be in the future?
6. Mention opposing opinions as to the Italians? Which seem to you nearer the truth?
7. What differences are there between Italians from different parts of Italy?
8. From what class come most of the Italians now arriving? Of what sex? What age? What skill?
9. How has Italian immigration grown in numbers? How has it been distributed?
10. What proportion go West and South? Are efforts being made to attract them anywhere?
III. Are the Italians a Desirable Class of Immigrants?
11. How do they compare with the early Irish immigrants? With other nationalities?
12. What is the record of Italians in this country; as to work, citizenship, self-support, crime, temperance, thrift, care for education, financial ability?
13. Have many Italians taken to farming? Do they succeed? What sort of farming?
14. What efforts are being made to direct and distribute the Italian immigrants?
IV. What is the Opportunity of the Christian Church Among Them?
15. Do you know of any specific effort to uplift them through Christian influences?
16. Does this chapter make you feel that the churches can do more for them? How?
REFERENCES FOR ADVANCED STUDY.—CHAPTER IV
I. Further Study of Contrasts Between Different Types of Italians.
Lord, et al: The Italian in America, I, III, V. Brandenburg: Imported Americans, IV, VI, XII. Holt: Undistinguished Americans, III.
II. Illiteracy Among the Northern and Southern Italians.
(1) Its bearing on their desirability as immigrants. Brandenburg: Imported Americans, IV, XII, XX. Hall: Immigration, 54-58, 80-83.
(2) Its relation to the probable effect of a reading test for admission.
Lord, et al: The Italian in America, VIII, XI. Hall: Immigration, 262-280.
(3) Its bearing on their accessibility to the gospel.
McLanahan: Our People of Foreign Speech, 69-74. Wood: Americans in Process, IX.
III. Location of Italians After Their Arrival and Length of Their Stay.
Brandenburg: Imported Americans, II, XIX, XXII. Lord, et al: The Italian in America, VI, VII, IX.
IV. The Italians in New York City and State.
Benefits and dangers arising from their presence, and efforts made to help them. Riis: How the Other Half Lives, V, XXIV. University Settlement Studies, Vol. I, Numbers 3 and 4, issue January, 1906. Reports of the Society for Italian Immigrants, 17 Pearl Street, New York City.
Yesterday the Slav was a pauper immigrant; to-day he is what the English, Welsh, Irish, and German miner was a quarter of a century ago—on the way to becoming an American citizen. What sort of a citizen he will be will depend upon the influences brought to bear upon him.—F. J. Warne.
THE EASTERN INVASION
My people do not live in America. They live underneath America. America goes on over their heads.—Paul Tymkevich, a Ruthenian Priest.
"My people do not love America. Why should they, from what they see of it?" This is the profoundly suggestive question of a Ruthenian Greek-Catholic priest, of Yonkers, N. Y., who says his people do not come in contact with the better classes of Americans, but do come in contact with everyone who hopes to exploit them.
The subject of immigration is the most far-reaching in importance of all those with which this government has to deal. The history of the world offers no precedent for our guidance, since no such peaceful invasion of alien peoples has ever before occurred. It must have great and largely unforeseen effects upon our form of civilization, our social and political institutions, and, above all, upon the physical, mental, and moral characteristics of our people. Can such a subject be considered too seriously or too minutely? I cannot think it possible. The danger lies in the opposite direction.—F. P. Sargent.
It must not be forgotten that the Slav immigrants, and especially their descendants, are impressionable and adaptable; that forces are at work which have already done much for them, and will do more. The results of the public school are sure though slow. The full-grown individual must be brought under the influence of a yet more powerful agency, one which makes also for civilization and for Americanism in the best sense.—F. J. Warne.
THE EASTERN INVASION
[Sidenote: Mistaken Opinion]
Least known, least liked, and least assimilable of all the alien races migrating to America are the Slavs. That expresses the general opinion, based on ignorance and dislike. To the common view they seem to combine all the undesirable elements—low living, low intelligence, low morality, low capacity, low everything, including wages—this explaining in large measure their presence. The very name Slav excites prejudice. If an exclusion act of any kind were to be passed it would probably be easier to aim it at the Slavs than any other class of immigrants. We are now to submit this common opinion to the test of investigation, and see whether it is warranted in fact. Nowhere is discrimination based on knowledge more necessary than in dealing with this Slavic race division. First let us learn who the Slavs are. The following table shows this, and also how many of them entered our ports in 1905:
Poles 102,437 Servians, Bulgarians, and Slovaks 52,368 Montenegrins 5,823 Croatians and Slovenians 35,104 Dalmatians, Bosnians, and Lithuanians 18,604 Herzegovinians 2,639 Ruthenians 14,473 Bohemians and Moravians 11,757 Roumanians 7,818 Russians proper 3,746 Magyars 46,030 Russian Jews 92,388
[Sidenote: A Large Element in Europe]
The Slavs proper number about 125,000,000, or more than one twelfth of the total population of the world. They have been concentrated, until the recent migration began, in the eastern and larger part of Europe. They make up the bulk of Russia, the great Slav power (numbering about 70,000,000), and of the Balkan States, and form nearly half of the population of Austria-Hungary. The various Slavic languages and dialects are closely related but differ as do German and Swedish, so that the different races cannot understand each other.
[Sidenote: The Slavs in the Mines]
The Slav immigration is of comparatively recent date. Before 1880 it was unnoticeable. A small number of Bohemians and Poles had come, settling in the larger cities. But suddenly the thousands began to pour in. Demand for cheap labor in the coal fields of Pennsylvania drew this class, and presently the American, Canadian, English, Welsh, Irish, Scotch, and German mine-workers found themselves being supplanted by the men from Austria-Hungary and Russia—men who were mostly single and alone, who could live on little, eat any sort of food, wear any kind of clothes, and sleep in a hut or store-house, fourteen in a room. Of course the home of the English-speaking miner, with its carpet on the best room, its pictures and comforts, had to go, as did the miner and his wife and children, also the school and the church—for how could these stay when the Slav, homeless and familyless, could bunk in with a crowd anywhere, or build himself a hillside hut out of driftwood, and subsist on from four to ten dollars a month. The one conspicuous thing about the Slav was his ability to save money. Dr. Warne gives a graphic and pathetic picture of the struggle caused by the introduction of the Slavs into Pennsylvania, and his investigations may profitably be studied.
[Sidenote: Slav domination]
The results in Pennsylvania thus far are the reverse of satisfactory. The cheap labor has become dear in more senses than one. Where in 1880 the English-speaking foreign-born composed nearly ninety-four per cent. of the mine workers, in 1900 they were less than fifty-two per cent., and to-day are much less still. The Slavs dominate in the mines. Strikes are not less frequent, but more difficult to control, and the necessity of frequent state control by militia, the riots and bloodshed, mark the failure to Americanize this growing class of aliens. A striking illustration of non-assimilation and the attendant perils may be found in Pennsylvania. Fortunately all the Slavs do not go to the mines, and those who follow agriculture or trades afford a pleasanter study. The census of 1900 gave a million and a quarter of foreign-born Slavs and the number has been largely increased. In 1903 221,000 came, not counting the 67,000 Russian and Roumanian Jews. Since these peoples are all prolific, with an oversupply at home, there is every prospect that immigration will increase, unless some check is put upon it. The Slavs will have to be reckoned with, most assuredly, as an element in our civilization.
The maps here given, by the courtesy of Charities, show the sections from which the Slavs come and how they disperse in this country.
[Sidenote: Chiefly Unskilled and Illiterate]
An analysis of the official statistics shows that, with the exception of the Bohemians, these newest immigrants are mainly unskilled, illiterate peasants from country districts, and with little money in their pockets when they land. Of the Bohemians and Moravians forty-four per cent. are skilled laborers, and only 1.50 per cent. over fourteen are unable to read and write; but of the Poles eighty-five per cent. are unskilled, and thirty per cent. can neither read nor write; and this represents the average. We are getting in an illiterate mass, therefore, and the amount of money they bring per capita averages about $10. But on this point a writer says, speaking from a wide observation:
[Sidenote: A Hopeful View]
"This does not necessarily mean that they are undesirable immigrants. The illiterate, unskilled immigrant may be, in fact, more desirable than the better educated skilled laborer, or the still better educated professional or business man. There may be a great demand here for unskilled labor. Again, the moral qualities of the untaught but industrious, simple-minded, unspoiled countryman may be far more wholesome for the communities to which he comes than those of the educated, town-bred, unsuccessful business or professional man, the misfit skilled laborer, or the actual loafer and sharper of the cities, who comes over here when home gets too hot for him. As to illiteracy, moreover, the peasant is improving. The great mass of this unskilled labor pushes directly through the great gateway of New York, where unfortunately so many other races stop. They go to the eastern, middle, and northern states, mainly into our coal and iron mines, and our steel mills, but also to the farming regions, where they work patiently and thriftily, first as farm laborers, then as owners of abandoned farming lands or cut-over timber lands, reclaiming and making them fertile to the great advantage of the markets they supply."