Hall Prescott Farnsworth - Immigration and other interests

Author : Hall Prescott Farnsworth
Title : Immigration and other interests of Prescott Farnsworth Hall
Year : 1922

Link download : Hall_Prescott_Farnsworth_-_Immigration_and_other_interests.zip

Foreword by Madison Grant. The opportunity seldom offers of paying a tribute to a friend who has passed away without receiving from his fellow countrymen in this life the recognition that was his due, but fortunately for the welfare of the nation there are still among us Men who do their work and hold their peace And have no fear to die. Such a man was Prescott P. Hall and the writer doubts whether Prescott HaU himself appreciated the magnitude of his work or the debt of obligation he placed upon his countrymen. Certainly during his hfe he showed no signs of it nor indicated the slightest impatience at the scant appreciation by the nation at large for his work. The League for the Restriction of Immigration was not only of Prescott Hall's creation but it was he who kept it alive during the long decades of apathy and neglect from its friends and hostiUty from its enemies. Thanks to Mr. Hall's work, never did a legislative measure receive such huge majorities time and again, when restrictive bills differing in form but of similar purpose finally came before Congress. Three times restrictive measures were vetoed by Presidents of profoundly different characters and acting on profoundly different motives. The first veto was by President Cleveland, who was impatient at the socalled Corliss amendment, which had been improperly tacked on the bill as a rider. He lived to repent his action when he saw his hasty veto had opened the flood gates of the Polish Ghettos into the United States, draining that great swamp of human misery into the Eastside of New York to spread throughout the United States. In the closing years of his life, President Cleveland manfully admitted in this veto he had made a terrible blunder. During President Roosevelt's administration the racial elements seeking to force their way into this country knew that there was no chance of a veto from that sturdy American and they took refuge in the ingenious scheme of postponing the issue by a prolonged investigation under the control of a notorious advocate of free admission. This committee, after studjdng the subject here and in Europe, finally recommended a Literacy Test as the best practical means of restriction. This Literacy Test was later embodied in a bill and passed by the House and Senate and sent to the President. President Taft did not understand the issues involved, was confused by conflicting advisors and finally vetoed the bill. When Mr. Wilson was elected it was realized that we had in the White House for the first time a man who openly sympathized with the races seeking admission. President Wilson himself did not come from native American stock and consequently had little pride in American antecedents or traditions and readily adopted an international point of view. The Literacy Test finally passed both Houses by an enormous vote but President Wilson promptly vetoed it. His veto was over-ridden in both Houses and became law. This was Mr. Wilson's first real defeat by a heretofore subservient legislature. In the closing days of his administration another restrictive bill even more potent than the Literacy bill, was passed by both Houses and sent to him. Not daring to veto it because he knew that it would be repassed by more than the needed two-thirds vote, he took refuge in the device of a pocket veto, which proved effective and defeated the bill. In the next administration a similar bill was passed by the House of Representatives 276 to 33 and by the Senate 78 to i and was promptly signed by President Harding. During this long fight from Cleveland to Harding the guiding hand was that of Prescott Hall, who ceaselessly, untiringly and skilfully labored year after year until he finally steered the ship safely to port. He lived to see not only the success of his work but the acceptance throughout the country of the principles he fought for. It took the Great World War to arouse America to the danger of free immigration, whereas Prescott Hall had foreseen it for thirty years or more. It was he who pointed out that the alien in our midst remained an alien, sometimes a good alien, more often a bad alien but always an alien. All this now seems quite obvious but it is only lately that America has awakened to the fact that there were two distinct sections of population within our boundaries, one native American and the other hyphenate - American, some of the latter in sympathy with the native Americans and others thinking that they could improve our institutions and Constitution into conformity with the new standards of Eastern Europe. When the writer looks back on his long years of association in this great work with Prescott Hall he realizes the latter's unfailing steadfastness in a struggle which often seemed hopeless. It is hard to understand how he was able to endure the strain, but endure it he did, and to the day of his death asked for nothing for himself and everything for his country. In so doing he gave his countrymen the hardest of aU tasks, namely, to ask them to save themselves from themselves and it is for those of us who are left to carry on his work. Prescott Hall was the first to demonstrate that when immigrants of a low standard enter an American community it paralyzes the birth rate of the higher stock and that each immigrant that lands supplants and replaces a native American. With this in mind the question of restriction becomes, not a question of Labor Supply, nor of Steamship Rates nor of "Refuge for the Oppressed" but solely the question of whether we are willing to have our own stock replaced by the peoples of southern and Eastern Europe and of Western Asia. There is no problem of equal importance before this nation. If America goes wrong and allows our native Nordic stock to be replaced by half Asiatic mongrels the hope of the world is gone. Thisissue Prescott Hall saw and saw with the vision of a prophet a full generation ahead of his countrymen. Unlike most prophets he lived to see his prophesy come true and his fellow countrymen awakened to the danger. Prescott Hall served America well. He asked no reward and I know of no one of our generation to whom America owes so much. There are very few of us, who, when our turn comes, will have the satisfaction that Prescott Hall had in his last hours in knowing that his work had been well done. The lonely sentry of the outposts has been relieved but he "kept the faith" and more than that can no man do. ...

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