JAMES MADISON CONCERNING IMMIGRATION AND IMMIGRANTS TO USA

James Madison Quote Concerning Immigration & Immigrants

James Madison Concerning Immigration & Immigrants (Click to enlarge)

The criminal influence of the alien with its steady increase can be traced back in our history for the last 60-100 years. So surely and yet so gradually has it grown upon us that we have now become thoroughly accustomed to a condition of things which would have been extremely shocking to our ancestors. The belief and confidence in the cheap labor of the immigrant has been very strong among certain segments (i.e. GOP, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Wealthy Democrats, the Mainstream Media, et. al.) of our society, against the better judgement of the voting public at large. American citizens have been blinded by those afore mentioned segments of the country or they would never have been willing to go on with the system in the face of the shocking revelations of crime and corruption which has become more and more apparent.

Washington, in writing on the subject of immigration, said:

“My opinion with respect to emigration is that, except of useful mechanics and some particular descriptions of men or professions, there is no need of encouragement; while the policy or advantage of its taking place in a hody (I mean the settling of them in a hody) may be much questioned.”

On another occasion he wrote:

“It is not the policy of this country to employ aliens where it can well be avoided, either in the civil or military walks of life.”

Jefferson, though belonging to the party opposed to Washington, had very much the same opinion:

“They will bring with them the principles of the government they leave, imbibed in their early youth, or, if able to throw them off, it will be in exchange for an unbounded licentiousness, passing, as is usual, from one extreme to another. It would be a miracle were they to stop precisely at the point of temperate liberty. These principles, with their language, they will transmit to their children. In proportion to their numbers they will share with us the legislation. They will infuse into it their spirit, warp and bias its direction, and render it a heterogeneous, incoherent, distracted mass. I may appeal to experience during the present contest for a verification of these conjectures. But if they be not certain in event are they not possible, are they not probable? Is it not safer to wait with patience twenty-seven years and three months longer for the attainment of any degree of population desired or expected? May not our Government be more homogeneous, more peaceable, more durable? Suppose twenty millions of republican Americans thrown all of a sudden into France, what would be the condition of that kingdom? If it would be more turbulent, less happy, less strong, we may believe that the addition of half a million of foreigners to our present numbers would produce a similar effect here. If they come of themselves they are entitled to all the rights of citizenship, but I doubt the expediency of inviting them by extraordinary encouragements. I mean not that these doubts should be extended to the importation of useful artificers. The policy of that measure depends on very different considerations.”

The prophesy in the above passage has most certainly come true; and the last two sentences are also worth considering. “I mean not,” he says, “that these doubts should be extended to the importation of useful artificers. The policy of that measure depends on very different considerations.” This will at once be recognized as agreeing exactly with Washington’s words where he says, “that except of useful mechanics and some particular descriptions of men or professions there is no need of encouragement.” Washington, though strongly opposed to the admission of foreign officers in the army, had made exceptions in the case of certain artillerists and engineers, who he said were needed to teach us some of the fine points of gunnery and construction, and in his objection to immigration in general he made exceptions in favor of certain kinds of skilled labor.

The fathers of the Republic were entirely opposed to promiscuous, wholesale immigration, and they undoubtedly represented the opinions of a large number of our people at that time. Even Madison, who favored immigration more than any of the other fathers of the Republic, and who introduced in Congress the first bill intended to encourage it, always insisted that he intended to bring over only the “worthy part of mankind,” and in a letter written in 1813 he expresses almost the same opinion as Adams, Washington and Jefferson. Neither Madison nor any of the others had any conception of modern immigration. and apparently never realized that their moderate and, as they supposed, well-regulated encouragement would bring it about.

JAMES MADISON TO MORRIS BIRKBECK; 1813

Sir,—I have received your letter of September 18, though at a much later day than that at which it was due. The letter inclosed in it from Mr. Coles would have been received with additional pleasure from your own hand, if you had found it convenient to take Montpelier in your Westwardly route. He was a few days ago with me, and confirmed verbally the esteem and the friendly interest he takes in your behalf.

I cannot but commend the benevolent solicitude you express for your emigrating countrymen; and I sincerely wish that all who are attached to our Country by its natural and political advantages might be as little disappointed or embarrassed on their arrival as possible. I am obliged, at the same time, to say, as you will doubtless learn from others, that it is not either the provision of our laws or the practice of the Government to give any encouragement to emigrants, unless it be in cases where they may bring with them some special addition to our stock of arts or articles of culture. You will perceive, therefore, that it is not in the power of the Executive to dispose of the public land in a mode different from the ordinary one; and I should not be justified in encouraging any reliance on the success of a resort to the National Legislature.

Should your future movements bring you at any time within reach of my residence, I shall be happy in an opportunity of proving, by a cordial welcome, the sincerity of my respect and good wishes.

Sources: Writing of James Madison 1794-1815 By James Madison
Public Opinion, Volume 21

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GEORGE WASHINGTON CONCERNING IMMIGRATION and IMMIGRANTS

George Washington Quote Concerning Immigration and Immigrants

George Washington Concerning Immigration and Immigrants

See also:
THOMAS JEFFERSON CONCERNING IMMIGRATION and IMMIGRANTS
 
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS CONCERNING IMMIGRATION TO THE U.S.A.
 
MAKING THE FOREIGN-BORN FAMILIAR WITH THE AMERICAN SPIRIT By George S. Tilroe

 

PRESIDENT GEORGE WASHINGTON TO JOHN ADAMS, VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

Saturday, 27 November, 1794.

DEAR SIR,
I have not been able to give the papers herewith enclosed more than a hasty reading, returning them without delay, that you may offer the perusal of them to whomsoever you shall think proper. The picture, drawn in them, of the Genevese is really interesting and affecting. The proposition of transplanting the members entire of the university of that place to America, with the requisition of means to establish the same, and to be accompanied by a considerable emigration, is important, requiring more consideration than under the circumstances of the moment I am able to bestow upon it.

That a national university in this country is a thing to be desired, has always been my decided opinion; and the appropriation of ground and funds for it in the Federal City has long been contemplated and talked of; but how far matured, or how far the transporting of an entire seminary of foreigners, who may not understand our language, can be assimilated therein, is more than I am prepared to give an opinion upon; or, indeed, how far funds in either case are attainable.

My opinion, with respect to emigration, is, that except of useful mechanics, and some particular descriptions of men or professions, there is no need of encouragement; while the policy or advantage of its taking place in a body (I mean the settling of them in a body) may be much questioned; for by so doing they retain the language, habits, and principles, good or bad, which they bring with them. Whereas, by an inter-mixture with our people, they or their descendants get assimilated to our customs, measures, and laws; in a word, soon become one people.

‘ I shall, at any leisure hour after the session is fairly opened, take pleasure in a full and free conversation with you on this subject, being with much esteem and regard, dear Sir, &c.

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THOMAS JEFFERSON CONCERNING IMMIGRATION and IMMIGRANTS

 

Thomas Jefferson Quotes Concerning Immigration Policy

Thomas Jefferson Concerning Immigration Policy

John Quincy Adams Concerning Immigration and Immigrants

George Washington Concerning Immigration and Immigrants

MAKING THE FOREIGN-BORN FAMILIAR WITH THE AMERICAN SPIRIT By George S. Tilroe

I have taken the term of four million and a half of inhabitants for example’s sake only. Yet I am persuaded it is a greater number than the country spoken of, considering how much inarable land it contains, can clothe and feed without a material change in the quality of their diet. But are there no inconveniences to be thrown into the scale against the advantage expected from a multiplication of numbers by the importation of foreigners?

It is for the happiness of those united in society to harmonize as much as possible in matters which they must of necessity transact together. Civil government being the sole object of forming societies, its administration must be conducted by common consent. Every species of government has its specific principles. Ours perhaps are more peculiar than those of any other in the universe. It is a composition of the freest principles of the English constitution, with others derived from natural right and natural reason. To these nothing can be more opposed than the maxims of absolute monarchies. Yet from such we are to expect the greatest number of emigrants.

They will bring with them the principles of the governments they leave, imbibed in their early youth ; or, if able to throw them off, it will be in exchange for an unbounded licentiousness, passing, as is usual, from one extreme to another. It would be a miracle were they to stop precisely at the point of temperate liberty. These principles, with their language, they will transmit to their children. In proportion to their numbers, they will share with us the legislation. They will infuse into it their spirit, warp and bias its directions, and render it a heterogenous, incoherent, distracted mass. I may appeal to experience, during the present contest, for a verification of these conjectures. But, if they be not certain in event, are they not possible, are they not probable ? Is it not safer to wait with patience twenty-seven years and three months longer, for the attainment of any degree of population desired or expected? May not our government be more homogeneous, more peaceable, more durable?

Suppose twenty millions of republican Americans thrown all of a sudden into France, what would be the condition of that kingdom? If it would be more turbulent, less happy, less strong, we may believe that the addition of half a million of foreigners to our present numbers would produce a similar effect here. If they come of themselves they are entitled to all the rights of citizenship ; but I doubt the expediency of inviting them by extraordinary encouragements. I mean not that these doubts should be extended to the importation of useful artificers. The policy of that measure depends on very different considerations. Spare no expense in obtaining them. They will after a while go to the plough and the hoe; but, in the mean time, they will teach us something we do not know.

It is not so in agriculture. The indifferent state of that among us does not proceed from a want of knowledge merely ; it is from our having such quantities of land to waste as we please. In Europe the object is to make the most of their land, labor being abundant; here it is to make the most of our labor, land being abundant.

Reference: Notes on Virginia: Query VIII by Thomas Jefferson

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JOHN QUINCY ADAMS CONCERNING IMMIGRATION TO THE U.S.A.

John Quincy Adams Quote Concerning Immigration to America

John Q. Adams Concerning Immigration to America (Click to enlarge)

See also what George Washington had to say about what our policy should be towards immigrants and immigration to the United States.

LETTER FROM JOHN QUINCY ADAMS TO MORITZ VON FUERSTENWAERTHER.

(From Niles’ Register, April 29, 1820.)

(The letter, of which the following is a copy, appears to have been published in a German translation at Augsburg; whence, by a re-translation, it has appeared in some of the English gazettes, and from them been extracted into some of the newspapers in this country. In its double transformation it has suffered variations not supposed to be intentional, nor perhaps important, but which render the publication of it proper, as it was written. It has been incorrectly stated to be an answer in the name of the American government. It was indeed written by the Secretary of State, as it purports, in answer to an application from an individual and respectable foreigner, who had previously been employed by the baron de Gagern, to collect information concerning the German emigrants to the United States, and to endeavor to obtain encouragements and favors to them from his government. Upon that mission he had been particularly recommended to Mr. Adams, to whom a printed copy of his report to the Baron de Gagern had afterwards been transmitted. There are several allusions to the report, in this letter, which was an answer to one from Mr. Fürstenwärther, intimating a disposition to become himself an American citizen; but suggesting that he had offers of advantageous employment in his native country, and enquiring whether, in the event of his settling here, he could expect any official situation in the department of state, or any other under the government.)

“Department of State,
Washington, 4th June, 1819.

SIR :—I had the honor of receiving your letter of the 22d April, enclosing one from your kinsman, the Baron de Gagern, and a copy of your printed report, which I hope and have no doubt will be useful to those of your countrymen in Germany, who may have entertained erroneous ideas, with regard to the results of emigration from Europe to this country.

It was explicitly stated to you, and your report has taken just notice of the statement, that the government of the United States has never adopted any measure to encourage or invite emigrants from any part of Europe. It has never held out any incitements to induce the subjects of any other sovereign to abandon their own country, to become inhabitants of this. From motives of humanity it has occasionally furnished facilities to emigrants who, having arrived here with views of forming settlements, have specially needed such assistance to carry them into effect. Neither the general government of the union, nor those of the individual states, are ignorant or unobservant of the additional strength and wealth, which accrues to the nation, by the accession of a mass of healthy, industrious, and frugal laborers, nor are they in any manner insensible to the great benefits which this country has derived, and continues to derive, from the influx of such adoptive children from Germany. But there is one principle which pervades all the institutions of this country, and which must always operate as an obstacle to the granting of favors to new comers.

This is a land, not of privileges, but of equal rights. Privileges are granted by European sovereigns to particular classes of individuals, for purposes of general policy; but the general impression here is that privileges granted to one denomination of people, can very seldom be discriminated from erosions of the rights of others. Emigrants from Germany, therefore, or from elsewhere, coming here, are not to expect favors from the governments. They are to expect, if they choose to become citizens, equal rights with those of the natives of the country. They are to expect, if affluent, to possess the means of making their property productive, with moderation, and with safety;—if indigent, but industrious, honest and frugal, the means of obtaining easy and comfortable subsistence for themselves and their families. They come to a life of independence, but to a life of labor—and, if they cannot accomodate themselves to the character, moral, political, and physical, of this country, with all its compensating balances of good and evil, the Atlantic is always open to them, to return to the land of their nativity and their fathers. To one thing they must make up their minds, or, they will be disappointed in every expectation of happiness as Americans. They must cast off the European skin, never to resume it. They must look forward to their posterity, rather than backward to their ancestors;— they must be sure that whatever their own feelings may be, those of their children will cling to the prejudices of this country, and will partake of that proud spirit, not unmingled with disdain, which you have observed is remarkable in the general character of this people, and as perhaps belonging peculiarly to those of German descent, born in this country.

That feeling of superiority over other nations which you have noticed, and which has been so offensive to other strangers, who have visited these shores, arises from the consciousness of every individual that, as a member of society, no man in the country is above him; and, exulting in this sentiment, he looks down upon those nations where the mass of the people feel themselves the inferiors of privileged classes, and where men are high or low, according to the accidents of their birth. But hence it is that no government in the world possesses so few means of bestowing favors, as the government of the United States. The governments are the servants of the people, and are so considered by the people, who place and displace them at their pleasure. They are chosen to manage for short periods the common concerns, and when they cease to give satisfaction, they cease to be employed. If the powers, however, of the government to do good are restricted, those of doing harm are still more limited. The dependence, in affairs of government, is the reverse of the practice in Europe; instead of the people depending upon their rulers, the rulers, as such, are always dependent upon the good will of the people.

We understand perfectly, that of the multitude of foreigners who yearly flock to our shores, to take up here their abode, none come from affection or regard to a land to which they are total strangers, and with the very language of which, those of them who are Germans are generally unacquainted. We know that they come with views, not to our benefit, but to their own—not to promote our welfare, but to better their own condition. We expect therefore very few, if any, transplanted countrymen from classes of people who enjoy happiness, ease, or even comfort, in their native climes. The happy and contented remain at home, and it requires an impulse, at least as keen as that of urgent want, to drive a man from the soil of his nativity and the land of his father’s sepulchres. Of the very few emigrants of more fortunate classes, who ever make the attempt of settling in this country, a principal proportion sicken at the strangeness of our manners, and after a residence, more or less protracted, return to the countries whence they came. There are, doubtless, exceptions, and among the most opulent and the most distinguished of our citizens, we are happy to number individuals who might have enjoyed or acquired wealth and consideration, without resorting to a new country and another hemisphere. We should take great satisfaction in finding you included in this number, if it should suit your own inclinations, and the prospects of your future life, upon your calculations of your own interests.

I regret that it is not in my power to add the inducement which you might perceive in the situation of an officer under the government. All the places in the department to which I belong, allowed by the laws, are filled, nor is there a prospect of an early vacancy in any of them. Whenever such vacancies occur, the applications from natives of the country to fill them, are far more numerous than the offices, and the recommendations in behalf of the candidates so strong and so earnest, that it would seldom be possible, if it would ever be just, to give a preference over them to foreigners. Although, therefore, it would give me a sincere pleasure to consider you as one of our future and permanent fellow citizens, I should not do either an act of kindness or of justice to you, in dissuading you from the offers of employment and of honorable services, to which you are called in your native country. With the sincerest wish that you may find them equal and superior to every expectation of advantage that you have formed, or can indulge, in looking to them,

I have the honor to be, sir, your very obedient and humble servant,

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS.

Reference: Deutsch-amerikanische Geschichtsblätter, Volume 17

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