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Project Gutenberg's On the Trail of The Immigrant, by Edward A. Steiner

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Title: On the Trail of The Immigrant

Author: Edward A. Steiner

Release Date: September 28, 2012 [EBook #40887]

Language: English

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image of the book's cover

From stereograph copyright—1904, by Underwood & Underwood, N. Y.
AT THE GATE

With tickets fastened to coats and dresses, the immigrants pass out
through the gate to enter into their new inheritance, and become our
fellow citizens.
From stereograph copyright—1904, by Underwood & Underwood, N. Y.
AT THE GATE
With tickets fastened to coats and dresses, the immigrants pass out through the gate to enter into their new inheritance, and become our fellow citizens.

ON THE TRAIL
OF
THE IMMIGRANT

EDWARD A. STEINER’S
Studies of Immigration

————
From Alien to Citizen
The Story of My Life in America
Illustrated net $1.50

In this interesting autobiography we see Professor Steiner
pressing ever forward and upward to a position of international
opportunity and influence.

The wonderful varied Life-story of the author of
“On the Trail of the Immigrant.”


The Broken Wall
Stories of the Mingling Folk.
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“A big heart and a sense of humor go a long way toward making
a good book. Dr. Edward A. Steiner has both these qualifications
and a knowledge of immigrants’ traits and character.”
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Against the Current
Simple Chapters from a Complex Life.
12mo, cloth net $1.25

“As frank a bit of autobiography as has been published for
many a year. The author has for a long time made a close
study of the problems of immigration, and makes a strong
appeal to the reader.”—The Living Age.

The Immigrant Tide—Its Ebb and Flow
Illustrated, 8vo, cloth net $1.50
“May justly be called an epic of present day immigration,
and is a revelation that should set our country thinking.”
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On the Trail of The Immigrant
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“Deals with the character, temperaments, racial traits, aspirations
and capabilities of the immigrant himself. Cannot
fail to afford excellent material for the use of students of immigrant
problems.”—Outlook.

The Mediator
A Tale of the Old World and the New.
Illustrated, 12mo, cloth net $1.25

“A graphic story, splendidly told.”—Robert Watchorn,
Former Commissioner of Immigration.

Tolstoy, the Man and His Message
A Biographical Interpretation.
Revised and enlarged. Illustrated, 12mo, cloth net $1.50

ON   THE   TRAIL
OF
THE   IMMIGRANT



EDWARD A. STEINER
Professor in Iowa College, Grinnell, Iowa

ILLUSTRATED


colophon



NEW YORK   CHICAGO   TORONTO
Fleming   H.   Revell   Company
LONDON AND   EDINBURGH


Copyright, 1906, by
FLEMING H. REVELL COMPANY

 


New York: 158 Fifth Avenue
Chicago: 125 No. Wabash Ave.
Toronto: 25 Richmond Street, W.
London: 21 Paternoster Square
Edinburgh: 100 Princes Street

  

 

 

This book is affectionately dedicated to
“The Man at the Gate”
ROBERT WATCHORN,
United States Commissioner of Immigration
at the
Port of New York:

Who, in the exercise of his office has been loyal to the interests of his country, and has dealt humanely, justly and without prejudice, with men of “Every kindred and tongue and people and nation.”

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

Cordial recognition is tendered to the editors of The Outlook for their courtesy in permitting the use of certain portions of this book which have already appeared in that journal.

CONTENTS

I.By Way of Introduction 9
II.The Beginning of the Trail16
III.The Fellowship of the Steerage30
IV.Land, Ho!48
V.At the Gateway64
VI.“The Man at the Gate”78
VII.The German in America94
VIII.The Scandinavian Immigrant112
IX.The Jew in His Old World Home126
X.The New Exodus143
XI.In the Ghettos of New York154
XII.The Slavs at Home179
XIII.The Slavic Invasion198
XIV.Drifting with the “Hunkies”213
XV.The Bohemian Immigrant225
XVI.Little Hungary238
XVII.The Italian at Home252
XVIII.The Italian in America262
XIX.Where Greek Meets Greek282
XX.The New American and the New Problem292
XXI.The New American and Old Problems309
XXII.Religion and Politics321
XXIII.Birds of Passage334
XXIV.In the Second Cabin347
XXV.Au Revoir359
 Appendix365
 Index371

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Facing page
At the Gate Title
As Seen by My Lady of the First Cabin10
The Beginning of the Trail26
Will They Let Me In?50
The Sheep and the Goats66
Back To the Fatherland92
Farewell to Home and Friends114
Israelites Indeed140
The Ghetto of the New World156
From the Black Mountain180
Without the Pale208
Ho for the Prairie!246
The Boss270
In an Evening School, New York294
A Slav of the Balkans302
On the Day of Atonement330

ON   THE   TRAIL   OF
THE   IMMIGRANT

I

BY WAY OF INTRODUCTION

My Dear Lady of the First Cabin:

ON the fourth morning out from Hamburg, after your maid had disentangled you from your soft wrappings of steamer rugs, and leaning upon her arm, you paced the deck for the first time, the sun smiled softly upon the smooth sea, and its broken reflections came back hot upon your pale cheeks. Then your gentle eyes wandered from the illimitable sea back to the steamer which carried you. You saw the four funnels out of which came pouring clouds of smoke trailing behind the ship in picturesque tracery; you watched the encircling gulls which had been your fellow travellers ever since we left the white cliffs of Albion; and then your eyes rested upon those mighty Teutons who stood on the bridge, and whose blue eyes searched the sea for danger, or rested upon the compass for direction.

From below came the sweet notes of music, gentle and wooing, one of the many ways in which the steamship company tried to make life pleasant for you, to bring back your “Bon appétit” to its tempting tables. Then suddenly, you stood transfixed, looking below you upon the deck from which came rather pronounced odours and confused noises. The notes of a jerky harmonica harshly struck your ears attuned to symphonies; and the song which accompanied it was gutteral and unmusical.

The deck which you saw, was crowded by human beings; men, women and children lay there, many of them motionless, and the children, numerous as the sands of the sea,—unkempt and unwashed, were everywhere in evidence.

You felt great pity for the little ones, and you threw chocolate cakes among them, smiling as you saw them in their tangled struggle to get your sweet bounty.

You pitied them all; the frowsy headed, ill clothed women, the men who looked so hungry and so greedy, and above all you pitied, you said so,—do you remember?—you said you pitied your own country for having to receive such a conglomerate of human beings, so near to the level of the beasts. I well recall it; for that day they did look like animals. It was the day after the storm and they had all been seasick; they had neither the spirit nor the appliances necessary for cleanliness. The toilet rooms were small and hard to reach, and sea water as you well know is not a good cleanser. They were wrapped in gray blankets which they had brought from their bunks, and you were right; they did look like animals, but not half so clean as the cattle which one sees so often on an outward journey; certainly not half so comfortable.

From stereograph copyright—1905, by Underwood &
Underwood, N. Y.
AS SEEN BY MY LADY OF THE FIRST CABIN.
The fellowship of the steerage makes good comrades, where no barriers
exist and introductions are neither possible nor necessary.
From stereograph copyright—1905, by Underwood & Underwood, N. Y.
AS SEEN BY MY LADY OF THE FIRST CABIN.
The fellowship of the steerage makes good comrades, where no barriers exist and introductions are neither possible nor necessary.

You were taken aback when I spoke to you. I took offense at your suspecting us to be beasts, for I was one of them; although all that separated you and me was a little iron bar, about fifteen or twenty rungs of an iron ladder, and perhaps as many dollars in the price of our tickets.

You were amazed at my temerity, and did not answer at once; then you begged my pardon, and I grudgingly forgave you. One likes to have a grudge against the first cabin when one is travelling steerage.

The next time you came to us, it was without your maid. You had quite recovered and so had we. The steerage deck was more crowded than ever, but we were happy, comparatively speaking; happy in spite of the fact that the bread was so doughy that we voluntarily fed the fishes with it, and the meat was suspiciously flavoured.

Again you threw your sweetmeats among us, and asked me to carry a basket of fruit to the women and children. I did so; I think to your satisfaction. When I returned the empty basket, you wished to know all about us, and I proceeded to tell you many things—who the Slavs are, and I brought you fine specimens of Poles, Bohemians, Servians and Slovaks,—men, women and children: and they began to look to you like men, women and children, and not like beasts. I introduced to you, German, Austrian and Hungarian Jews, and you began to understand the difference. Do you remember the group of Italians, to whom you said good-morning in their own tongue, and how they smiled back upon you all the joy of their native land? And you learned to know the difference between a Sicilian and a Neapolitan, between a Piedmontese and a Calabrian. You met Lithuanians, Greeks, Magyars and Finns; you came in touch with twenty nationalities in an hour, and your sympathetic smile grew sweeter, and your loving bounty increased day by day.

You wondered how I happened to know these people so well; and I told you jokingly, that it was my Social nose which over and over again, had led me steerage way across the sea, back to the villages from which the immigrants come and onward with them into the new life in America.

You suspected that it was not a Social nose but a Social heart; that I was led by my sympathies and not by my scientific sense, and I did not dispute you. You urged me to write what I knew and what I felt, and now you see, I have written. I have tried to tell it in this book as I told it to you on board of ship. I told you much about the Jews and the Slavs because they are less known and come in larger numbers. When I had finished telling you just who these strangers are, and something of their life at home and among us, in the strange land, you grew very sympathetic, without being less conscious how great is the problem which these strangers bring with them.

If I succeed in accomplishing this for my larger audience, the public, I shall be content.

You were loth to listen to figures; for you said that statistics were not to your liking and apt to be misleading; so I leave them from these pages and crowd them somewhere into the back of the book, where the curious may find them if they delight in them.

My telling deals only with life; all I attempt to do is to tell what I have lived among the immigrants, and not much of what I have counted. Here and there I have dropped a story which you said might be worth re-telling; and I tell it as I told it to you—not to earn the smile which may follow, but simply that it may win a little more sympathy for the immigrant.

If here and there I stop to moralize, it is largely from force of habit; and not because I am eager to play either preacher or prophet. If I point out some great problems, I do it because I love America with a love passing your own; because you are home-born and know not the lot of the stranger.

You may be incredulous if I tell you that I do not realize that I was not born and educated here; that I am not thrilled by the sight of my cradle home, nor moved by my country’s flag.

I know no Fatherland but America; for after all, it matters less where one was born, than where one’s ideals had their birth; and to me, America is not the land of mighty dollars, but the land of great ideals.

I am not yet convinced that the peril to these ideals lies in those who come to you, crude and unfinished; if I were, I would be the first one to call out: “Shut the gates,” and not the last one to exile myself for your country’s good.

I think that the peril lies more in the first cabin than in the steerage; more in the American colonies in Monte Carlo and Nice than in the Italian colonies in New York and Chicago. Not the least of the peril lies in the fact that there is too great a gulf between you and the steerage passenger, whose virtues you will discover as soon as you learn to know him.

I send out this book in the hope that it will mediate between the first cabin and the steerage; between the hilltop and lower town; between the fashionable West side and the Ghetto.

Do you remember my Lady of the First Cabin, what those Slovaks said to you as you walked down the gangplank in Hoboken? What they said to you, I now say to my book: “Z’Boghem,” “The Lord be with thee.”

II

THE BEGINNING OF THE TRAIL

SOME twenty years ago, while travelling from Vienna on the Northern Railway, I was locked into my compartment with three Slavic women, who entered at a way station, and who for the first time in their lives had ventured from their native home by way of the railroad. In fear and awe they looked out the window upon the moving landscape, while with each recurring jolt they held tightly to the wooden benches.

One of them volunteered the information that they were journeying a great distance, nearly twenty-five miles from their native village. I ventured to say that I was going much further than twenty-five miles, upon which I was asked my destination. I replied: “America,” expecting much astonishment at the announcement; but all they said was: “Merica? where is that? is it really further than twenty-five miles?”

Until about the time mentioned, the people of Eastern and Southeastern Europe had remained stationary; just where they had been left by the slow and glacial like movement of the races and tribes to which they belonged. Scarcely any traces of their former migrations survive, except where some warlike tribe has exploited its history in song, describing its escape from the enemy, into some mountain fastness, which was of course deserted as soon as the fury of war had spent itself.

From the great movements which changed the destinies of other European nations, these people were separated by political and religious barriers; so that the discovery of America was as little felt as the discovery of the new religious and political world laid bare by the Reformation. Each tribe and even each smaller group developed according to its own native strength, or according to how closely it leaned towards Western Europe, which was passing through great evolutionary and revolutionary changes.

On the whole, it may be said that in many ways they remained stationary, certainly immobile. Old customs survived and became laws; slight differentiations in dress occurred and became the unalterable costume of certain regions; idioms grew into dialects and where the native genius manifested itself in literature, the dialect became a language. These artificial boundaries became impassable, especially where differences in religion occurred. Each group was locked in, often hating its nearest neighbours and closest kinsmen, and also having an aversion to anything which came from without. Social and economic causes played no little part, both in the isolation of these tribes and groups and in the necessity for migration. When the latter was necessary, they moved together to where there was less tyranny and more virgin soil. They went out peacefully most of the time, but could be bitter, relentless and brave when they encountered opposition.

But they did not go out with the conqueror’s courage nor with the adventurer’s lust for fame; they were no iconoclasts of a new civilization, nor the bearers of new tidings. They went where no one remained; where the Romans had thinned the ranks of the Germans, where Hun, Avar and Turk had left valleys soaked in blood and made ready for the Slav’s crude plow; where Roman colonies were decaying and Roman cities were sinking into the dunes made by ocean’s sands. They destroyed nothing nor did they build anything; they accepted little or nothing which they found on conquered soil, but lived the old life in the new home, whether it was under the shadow of the Turkish crescent, or where Roman conquerors had left empty cities and decaying palaces.

In travelling through that most interesting Austrian province, Dalmatia, on the shores of the Adriatic, opposite Italy, I came upon the palace of Diocletian, in which the Slav has built a town, using the palace walls for the foundations of his dwellings. In spite of the fact that both strength and beauty lie imbedded in these foundations, the houses are as crude and simple as those built in an American mining camp. Upon the ruins of the ancient city of Salona, I found peasants breaking the Corinthian pillars into gravel for donkey paths. These people although surrounded by conquering nations were not amalgamated, and were enslaved but not changed. Art lived and died in their midst but bequeathed them little or no culture.

This is true not only of many of the Slavs but also of many of the Jews who live among them and who have remained unimpressed and unchanged for centuries; except as tyrannical governments played shuffle-board with them, pushing them hither and thither as policy or caprice dictated.

The Italian peasant began his wanderings earlier than the other nations, at least to other portions of Europe, where he was regarded as indispensable in the building of railroads. These movements, however, were spasmodic, and he soon returned to his native village to remain there, locked in by prejudice and superstition, and unbaptized by the spirit of progress.

But all this is different now; and the change came through that word quite unknown in those regions twenty-five years ago—the word America. Having exhausted the labour supply of northern Europe which, as for instance in Germany, needed all its strength for the up-building of its own industries, American capitalists deemed it necessary to find new human forces to increase their wealth by developing the vast, untouched natural resources. Just how systematically the recruiting was carried on is hard to tell, but it is sure that it did not require much effort, and that the only thing necessary was to make a beginning.

In nearly all the countries from which new forces were to be drawn there was chronic, economic distress, which had lasted long, and which grew more painful as new and higher needs disclosed themselves to the lower classes of society. Most of the land as a rule, was held by a privileged class, and labour was illy paid. The average earning of a Slovak peasant during the harvest season was about twenty-five cents a day, which sank to half that sum the rest of the time, with work as scarce as wages were low.

If a load of wood was brought to town, it was besieged by a small army of labourers ready to do the necessary sawing; other work than wood sawing there practically was none, and consequently in the winter time much distress prevailed.

The labour of women was still more poorly paid. A muscular servant girl, who would wash, scrub, attend to the garden and cattle and help with the harvesting, received about ten dollars a year, with a huge cake and perhaps a pair of boots no less huge as a premium. These wages were paid only in the most prosperous portion of the Slavic world, being much lower in other regions, while in the mountains neither work nor wages were obtainable.

The hard rye bread, scantily cut and rarely unadulterated, with an onion, was the daily portion, while meat to many of the people was a luxury obtainable only on special holidays. I remember vividly the untimely passing away of a pig, which belonged to a titled estate. According to the law, which reached with its mighty arm to this small village, the pig must be decently buried and covered by—not balsam and spices, but quick lime and coal oil. Hardly had these rites been performed when the carcass mysteriously disappeared—but meat was scarce, and the peasants were hungry.

During this same period, the Jewish people who were scattered through Eastern Europe, began to feel not only economic distress, but existence itself was often made unbearable by the newly awakened national feeling, which reacted against the Jews in waves of cruel persecution. Such trade as could be diverted into other channels was taken from them and they grew daily poorer, living became precarious and life insecure. It did not take much agitation to induce any of these people to emigrate, and when the first venturesome travellers returned with money in the bank, silver watches in their pockets, “store clothes” on their backs, and a feeling of “I am as good as anybody” in their minds, each one of them became an agent and an agitator, and if paid agents ever existed, they might have been immediately dispensed with.

Now one can stand in any district town of Hungary, Poland or Italy and see, coming down the mountains or passing along the highways and byways of the plains, larger or smaller groups of peasants, not all picturesquely clad, passing in a never ending stream, on, towards this new world. The stream is growing larger each day, and the source seems inexhaustible.

Sombre Jews come, on whose faces fear and care have plowed deep furrows, whose backs are bent beneath the burden of law and lawlessness. They come, thousands at a time, at least 5,000,000 more may be expected; and he does not know what misery is, who has not seen them on that march which has lasted nearly 2,000 years beneath the burden heaped by hate and prejudice. Both peasant and Jew come from Russian, Austrian or Magyar rule, under which they have had few of the privileges of citizenship but many of its burdens. From valleys in the crescent shaped Carpathians, from the sunny but barren slopes of the Alps and from the Russian-Polish plains they are coming as once they went forth from earlier homes; peaceful toilers, who seek a field for their surplus labour or as traders to use their wits, and it is a longer journey than any of their timid forbears ever undertook.

The most venturesome of the Slavs, the Bohemians, in whom the love of wandering was always alive, started this stream of emigration as early as the seventeenth century, sending us the noblest of their sons and daughters, the heroes and heroines of the reformatory wars; idealists, who like the Pilgrim Fathers, came for “Freedom to worship God.” Their descendants have long ago been blended into the common life of the people of America, scarcely conscious of the fact that they might have the same pride in ancestry which the descendants of the Pilgrims delight to exhibit. Not until the latter part of the nineteenth century, in the 70s, did the Bohemian immigrants come in large numbers and in a steady stream, bringing with them the Czechs of Moravia, a neighbouring province. Together they make some 200,000 of our population, fairly distributed throughout the country, and about equally divided between tillers of the soil and those following industrial pursuits. Nearly all Bohemian immigrants come to stay, and adjust themselves more or less easily to their environment. The economic distress which has brought them here, while never acute, threatens to become so now from the over accentuated language struggle which diverts the energies of the people and makes proper legislation impossible. The building of railroads and other governmental enterprises have been retarded by parliamentary obstructionists, to whom language is more than bread and butter. Business relations with the Germanic portions of Austria have come almost to a standstill; conditions which are bound to increase emigration from Bohemia’s industrial centres.

The Poles were the next of the Western Slavs to be drawn out of the seclusion of their villages; those from Eastern Prussia being the earliest, and those from Russian Poland the latest who have swelled the stream of emigration.

The largest number of the Polish immigrants is composed of unskilled labourers, most of them coming from villages where they worked in the fields during the summer time, and in winter went to the cities where they did the cruder work in the factories. The Poles from Germany’s part of the divided kingdom have furnished nearly their quota of immigrants, and those remaining upon their native acres will continue to remain there, if only to spite the Germans who are grievously disappointed not to see them grow less under the repressive measures of the government. They are the thorn in the Emperor’s flesh, and with social Democrats make enough trouble, to verify the saying: “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown,” true! even with regard to that most imperial of emperors.

The Austrian Poles who have retained many of their liberties and have also gained new privileges, have had a national and intellectual revival, under the impulse of which the peasantry has been lifted to a higher level which has reacted upon their economic condition; and although that condition is rather low in Galicia, as that portion of Poland is called, immigration from there has reached its high water mark. The largest increase in immigration among the Poles is to be looked for from Russian Poland where industrial and political conditions are growing worse, and where it will take a long time to establish any kind of equilibrium which will pacify the people and hold them to the soil.

The Slovaks, who were relatively the best off, and further away from the main arteries of travel, are, comparatively speaking, newcomers and furnish at present the largest element in the Western Slavic immigration. They have retained most staunchly many of their Slavic characteristics, are the least impressionable among the Western Slavs, and usually come, lured by the increased wages. They are most liable to return to the land of their fathers after saving money enough materially to improve their lot in life.

From the Austrian provinces, Carinthia and Styria, come increasingly large numbers of Slovenes who are really the link between the Eastern and Western Slavs. They belong to the highest type of that race, but represent only a small portion of the large Slavic family. Of the Eastern Slavs, only the Southern group has moved towards America, the Russian peasant being bound to the soil, and unable to free himself from the obligation of paying the heavy taxes, by removal to a foreign country. With the larger freedom which is bound to come to him, will also come economic relief so that the emigration of the Russian peasant in large numbers is not a likelihood.

Lured by promises of higher wages in our industrial centres, Croatians and Slovenians come in increasingly large numbers, while in smaller numbers come Servians and Bulgarians.

The only Slavs who are thorough seamen and who are coming to our coasts in increasingly large numbers as sailors and fishermen, are the Dalmatians; and last but most heroic of all the Slavs, is the Montenegrin, who has held his mountain fastnesses against the Turk and who has been the living wall, resisting the victories of Islam. His little country is blessed by but a few crumbs of soil between huge mountains and boulders, and in the measure in which peace reigns in the Balkans, he is without occupation and sustenance; so that he is compelled to seek these more fertile shores, where he will for the first time in history and quite unconsciously, “Turn the sword into a plowshare and the spear into a pruning hook.”

THE BEGINNING OF THE TRAIL.

The Wanderlust of the olden time still gets its grip on the peasants of
the great plains of Eastern Europe.
THE BEGINNING OF THE TRAIL.
The Wanderlust of the olden time still gets its grip on the peasants of the great plains of Eastern Europe.

Tennyson does not over-idealize this Montenegrin in his admirable sonnet:

They rose to where their sovran eagle sails,
They kept their faith, their freedom, on the height,
Chaste, frugal, savage, arm’d by day and night
Against the Turk; whose inroad nowhere scales
Their headlong passes, but his footstep fails,
And red with blood the Crescent reels from fight
Before their dauntless hundreds, in prone flight
By thousands down the crags and thro’ the vales.
O smallest among peoples! rough rock-throne
Of Freedom! warriors beating back the swarm
Of Turkish Islam for five hundred years.
Great Tsernogora! never since thine own
Black ridges drew the cloud and brake the storm
Has breathed a race of mightier mountaineers.

From Lithuania, a province of Russia, come smaller groups of non-Slavic emigrants; people with an old civilization of which little remains, and with a language which leans closest to Sanscrit, yet who, because of their subjection to Russia, have sunk to the level of the Russian peasants. Then there are Magyars and Finns, rather close kinsmen, who because one lives in the South and the other far North, are as different as the South is from the North; Greeks and Syrians, traders all of them and workers only when they must be. We shall follow them more closely as they pass into our own national life.

The Italian emigration, the largest which we receive from any one source, comes primarily from Southern Italy, from the crowded cities with their unspeakable vices; the smallest number of emigrants come from the villages where they have all the virtues of tillers of the soil. The most volatile of our foreign population, and perhaps the most clannish, they represent a problem recognized by their home government, which was the first to concern itself with it, to study it systematically, and to aid our government so far as possible in a rational solution. The number of Italian emigrants is still undiminished, and in spite of the fact that in recent years more than 200,000 of them have annually left their native land, their withdrawal is scarcely felt and the number could be doubled without perceptible diminution at home.

There are then upon this immigrant trail, many people of varied cultural development; some of them coming from countries in which they have been part of a very high type of civilization, while others come from the veritable back woods of Europe, into which neither steam nor electricity has entered to disturb the old order, nor has yet awakened a new life.

None of them starts for America tempted by wealth which can be picked up in the streets. That mythical man who, upon landing, refused to take a quarter from the side-walk, because he had heard that dollars were lying about loose, in America, has found it true because he has gone into politics.

The immigrant of to-day, be he Slav, Italian or Jew, starts upon this trail, with no culture, it is true, but with a virgin mind in which it may be made to grow. Not always with a keen mind, but with a surplus of muscle, which he is ready to exchange at the mouth of the pit or by the furnace’s hot blast, for a higher wage than he could earn in the miry fields of his native village;—but it is by no means settled who gets the best of the bargain.

III

THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE STEERAGE

BACK of Warsaw, Vienna, Naples and Palermo, with no place on the world’s map to mark their existence, are small market towns to which the peasants come from their hidden villages. They come not as is their wont on feast and fast days, with song and music, but solemnly; the women bent beneath their burdens, carried on head or back, and the men who walk beside them, less conscious than usual of their superiority.

The women have lost the splendour which usually marks their attire. Their embroidered, stiffly starched petticoats, flowered aprons and gay kerchiefs have disappeared, and instead they have put on more sombre garb, some cast off clothing of our civilization. The men, too, have left their gayer coats behind them, to wear the shoddy ones which neither warm nor become them.

Beneath the black cross which marks the boundary of the Polish town, they usually rest themselves. The cross was erected when the peasants were liberated from serfdom, and beneath it every wanderer rests and prays: every wanderer but the Jew, for whom the cross symbolizes neither liberty nor rest.

These towns which used to be buried in a cloud of dust in the summer and a sea of mud in the winter time; to which the peasant came but rarely, and then only to do his petty trading or his quarrelling before the law, are the first catch basins of the little percolating streams of emigration, and have felt their influence in increased prosperity. They are the supply stations where much of the money is spent on the way out, and into which the money flows from the mining camps and industrial centres in America. One little house leans hospitably against the other, a two-story house marks the dwelling of nobility, and the power of the law is personified in the gendarmes, who, weaponed to the teeth, patrol the peaceful town.

In Russia, before one may emigrate, many painful and costly formalities must be observed, a passport obtained through the governor and speeded on its way by sundry tips. It is in itself an expensive document without which no Russian subject may leave his community, much less his country. Many persons, therefore, forego the pleasure of securing official permission to leave the Czar’s domain, and go, trusting to good luck or to a few rubles with which they may close the ever open eyes of the gendarmes of the Russian boundary. Austrian and Italian authorities also require passports for their subjects, but they are less costly and are granted to all who have satisfied the demands of the law.

These formalities over, the travellers move on to the market square, a dusty place, where women squat, selling fruits and vegetables; the plaster cast and gaily decorated saints, stoically receiving the adoration of our pilgrims, who come for the last time with a petition which now is for a prosperous journey.

There also, the agent of the steamship company receives with just as much feeling their hard earned money in exchange for the long coveted “Ticket,” which is to bear them to their land of hope.

From hundreds of such towns and squares, thousands of simple-minded people turn westward each day, disappearing in the clouds of dust which mark their progress to the railroad station and on towards the dreaded sea.

From the small windows of fourth-class railway carriages they get glimpses of a new world, larger than they ever dreamed it to be, and much more beautiful. Through orderly and stately Germany, with its picturesque villages, its castled hills and magnificent cities they pass; across mountains and hills, and by rushing rivers, until one day upon the horizon they see a forest of masts wedged in between the warehouses and factories of a great city.

Guided by an official of the steamship company whose wards they have become, they alight from the train; but not without having here and there to pay tribute to that organized brigandage, by which every port of embarkation is infested. The beer they drink and the food they buy, the necessary and unnecessary things which they are urged to purchase, are excessively dear, by virtue of the fact that a double profit is made for the benefit of the officials or the company which they represent.

The first lodging places before they are taken to the harbours, are dear, poor and often unsafe. Much bad business is done there which might be controlled or entirely discontinued. For instance in Rotterdam three years ago, coming with a party of emigrants, we were met by an employee of the steamship company and taken in charge, ostensibly to be guided to the company’s offices near the harbour. On the way we were made to stop at a dirty, third-class hotel (whose chief equipment was a huge bar) and were told to make ourselves comfortable. While we were not compelled to spend our money, we were invited to do so, urged to drink, and left there fully three hours until this same employee called for us. I complained to the company through the only official whom I could reach, and who no doubt was one of the beneficiaries, for the complaint did not travel far.

This is only the remnant of an abuse from which the emigrant and the country which received him, used to suffer; for our stringent immigration laws have made it more profitable to treat the immigrant with consideration and to look after his physical welfare.

Yet, admirable as is the machinery which has been set up at Hamburg for the reception of the emigrant, these minor abuses have not all passed away and while care is taken that his health does not suffer and that his purse is not completely emptied, he is still regarded as prey.

The Italian government safeguards its emigrants admirably at Naples and Genoa; but other governments are seemingly unconcerned. When the official has done with the emigrants, they are taken to the emigrant depot of the company (which in many cases is inadequate for the large number of passengers), their papers are examined and they are separated according to sex and religion. At Hamburg they are required to take baths and their clothing is disinfected; after which they constantly emit the delicious odours of hot steam and carbolic acid. The sleeping arrangements at Hamburg are excellent. Usually twenty persons are in one ward, but private rooms which have beds for four people can be rented.

The food is abundant and good, plenty of bread and meat are to be had, and luxuries can be bought at reasonable prices. At Hamburg music is provided and the emigrants may make merry at a dance until dawn of the day of sailing.

The medical examination is now very strict, yet seemingly not strict enough; for quite a large percentage of those who pass the German physicians are deported on account of physical unfitness.

I wish to make this point here, and emphasize it: that restrictive immigration has had a remarkable influence upon the German and Netherlands steamship companies, in that they have become fairly humane and decent, which they were not; but improvement in this direction is still possible.

The day of embarkation finds an excited crowd with heavy packs and heavier hearts, climbing the gangplank. An uncivil crew directs the bewildered travellers to their quarters, which in the older ships are far too inadequate, and in the newer ships are, if anything, worse.

Clean they are; but there is neither breathing space below nor deck room above, and the 900 steerage passengers crowded into the hold of so elegant and roomy a steamer as the Kaiser Wilhelm II, of the North German Lloyd line, are positively packed like cattle, making a walk on deck when the weather is good, absolutely impossible, while to breathe clean air below in rough weather, when the hatches are down is an equal impossibility. The stenches become unbearable, and many of the emigrants have to be driven down; for they prefer the bitterness and danger of the storm to the pestilential air below. The division between the sexes is not carefully looked after, and the young women who are quartered among the married passengers have neither the privacy to which they are entitled nor are they much more protected than if they were living promiscuously.

The food, which is miserable, is dealt out of huge kettles into the dinner pails provided by the steamship company. When it is distributed, the stronger push and crowd, so that meals are anything but orderly procedures. On the whole, the steerage of the modern ship ought to be condemned as unfit for the transportation of human beings; and I do not hesitate to say that the German companies, and they provide best for their cabin passengers, are unjust if not dishonest towards the steerage. Take for example, the second cabin which costs about twice as much as the steerage and sometimes not twice so much; yet the second cabin passenger on the Kaiser Wilhelm II has six times as much deck room, much better located and well protected against inclement weather. Two to four sleep in one cabin, which is well and comfortably furnished; while in the steerage from 200 to 400 sleep in one compartment on bunks, one above the other, with little light and no comforts. In the second cabin the food is excellent, is partaken of in a luxuriantly appointed dining-room, is well cooked and well served; while in the steerage the unsavoury rations are not served, but doled out, with less courtesy than one would find in a charity soup kitchen.

The steerage ought to be and could be abolished by law. It is true that the Italian and Polish peasant may not be accustomed to better things at home and might not be happier in better surroundings nor know how to use them; but it is a bad introduction to our life to treat him like an animal when he is coming to us. He ought to be made to feel immediately, that the standard of living in America is higher than it is abroad, and that life on the higher plane begins on board of ship. Every cabin passenger who has seen and smelt the steerage from afar, knows that it is often indecent and inhuman; and I, who have lived in it, know that it is both of these and cruel besides.

On the steamer Noordam, sailing from Rotterdam three years ago, a Russian boy in the last stages of consumption was brought upon the sunny deck out of the pestilential air of the steerage. I admit that to the first cabin passengers it must have been a repulsive sight—this emaciated, dirty, dying child; but to order a sailor to drive him down-stairs, was a cruel act, which I resented. Not until after repeated complaints was the child taken to the hospital and properly nursed. On many ships, even drinking water is grudgingly given, and on the steamer Staatendam, four years ago, we had literally to steal water for the steerage from the second cabin, and that of course at night. On many journeys, particularly on the Fürst Bismark, of the Hamburg American line, five years ago, the bread was absolutely uneatable, and was thrown into the water by the irate emigrants.

In providing better accommodations, the English steamship companies have always led; and while the discipline on board of ship is always stricter than on other lines, the care bestowed upon the emigrants is correspondingly greater.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

At last the passengers are stowed away, and into the excitement of the hour of departure there comes a silent heaviness, as if the surgeon’s knife were about to cut the arteries of some vital organ. Homesickness, a disease scarcely known among the mobile Anglo-Saxons, is a real presence in the steerage; for there are the men and women who have been torn from the soil in which through many generations their lives were rooted.

No one knows the sacred agony of that moment which fills and thrills these simple minded folk who, for the first time in their lives face the unknown perils of the sea. The greater the distance which divides the ship from the fast fading dock, the nearer comes the little village, with its dusty square, its plaster cast saints and its little mud huts.

From far away Russia a small pinched face looks out and a sweet voice calls to the departing father, not to forget Leah and her six children, who will wait for tidings from him, be they good or ill. From Poland in gutteral speech comes a: “God be with you, Bratye (brother), strong oak of our village forest and our dependence; the Virgin protect thee.”

The Slovak feels his Maryanka pressing her lips against his while she sobs out her lamentation, and he, to keep up his courage, gives a “strong pull and a long pull” at the bottle, out of which his white native palenka gives him its last alcoholic greeting.

Silent are the usually vociferous Italians, whose glorious Mediterranean is blotted out by the sombre gray of the Atlantic; they shall not soon again see the full orbed moon shining upon the bay of Naples, sending from heaven to earth a path of silver upon which the blessed saints go up and down. In the silence of the moment there come to them the rattle of carts and the clatter of hoofs, the soft voice of a serenade and then the sweet scented silence of an Italian night. They all think, even if they have never thought much before; for the moment is as solemn as when the padre came with his censer and holy water, or when the acolytes rang the bells, mechanically, on the way to some death-bed.

It is all solemn, in spite of the band which strikes the well-known notes of “Lieb Vaterland, magst ruhig sein,” and makes merrier music each moment to check the tears and to heal the newly made wounds. They try to be brave now, struggling against homesickness and fear, until their faces pale, and one by one they are driven down into the hold to suffer the pangs of the damned in the throes of a complication of agonies for which as yet, no pills or powders have brought soothing.

But when the sun shines upon the Atlantic, and dries the deck space allotted to the steerage passengers, they will come out of the hold one by one, wrapped in the company’s gray blankets; pitiable looking objects, ill-kempt and ill-kept. Stretched upon the deck nearest the steam pipes, they await the return of the life which seemed “clean gone” out of them.—It is at this time that cabin passengers from their spacious deck will look down upon them in pity and dismay, getting some sport from throwing sweetmeats and pennies among the hopeless looking mass, out of which we shall have to coin our future citizens, from among whom will arise fathers and mothers of future generations.

This practice of looking down into the steerage holds all the pleasures of a slumming expedition with none of its hazards of contamination; for the barriers which keep the classes apart on a modern ocean liner are as rigid as in the most stratified society, and nowhere else are they more artificial or more obtrusive. A matter of twenty dollars lifts a man into a cabin passenger or condemns him to the steerage; gives him the chance to be clean, to breathe pure air, to sleep on spotless linen and to be served courteously; or to be pushed into a dark hold where soap and water are luxuries, where bread is heavy and soggy, meat without savour and service without courtesy. The matter of twenty dollars makes one man a menace to be examined every day, driven up and down slippery stairs and exposed to the winds and waves; but makes of the other man a pet, to be coddled, fed on delicacies, guarded against draughts, lifted from deck to deck and nursed with gentle care.

The average steerage passenger is not envious. His position is part of his lot in life; the ship is just like Russia, Austria, Poland or Italy. The cabin passengers are the lords and ladies, the sailors and officers are the police and the army, while the captain is the king or czar. So they are merry when the sun shines and the porpoises roll, when far away a sail shines white in the sunlight or the trailing smoke of a steamer tells of other wanderers over the deep.

“Here, Slovaks, bestir yourselves; let’s sing the song of the ‘Little red pocket-book’ or ‘The gardener’s wife who cried.’ ‘Too sad?’ you say? Then let’s sing about the ‘Red beer and the white cakes.’” So they sing:

“Brothers, brothers, who’ll drink the beer,
Brothers, brothers, when we are not here?
Our children they will drink it then
When we are no more living men.
Beer, beer, in glass or can,
Always, always finds its man.”

Other Slavs from Southern mountains, sing their stirring war song:

“Out there, out there beyond the mountains,
Where tramps the foaming steed of war,
Old Jugo calls his sons afar;
To aid! To aid! in my old age
Defend me from the foeman’s rage.
“Out there, out there beyond the mountains
My children follow one and all,
Where Nikita your Prince doth call;
And steep anew in Turkish gore
The sword Czar Dushan flashed of yore,
Out there, out there beyond the mountains.”

If the merriment rises to the proper pitch, there will be dancing to the jerky notes of an harmonica or accordion; for no emigrant ship ever sailed without one of them on board. The Germans will have a waltz upon a limited scale, while the Poles dance a mazurka, and the Magyar attempts a wild czardas which invariably lands him against the railing; for it needs steady feet as well as a steadier floor than the back of this heaving, rolling monster.

Men and women from other corners of the Slav world will be reminded of the spinning room or of some village tavern; and joining hands will sing with appropriate motions this, not disagreeable song, to Katyushka or Susanka, or whatever may be the name of this “Honey-mouth.”

“We are dancing, we are dancing,
Dancing twenty-two;
Mary dances in this Kolo,
Mary sweet and true;
What a honey mouth has Mary,
Oh! what joyful bliss!
Rather than all twenty-two
I would Mary kiss.”

Greeks, Servians, Bulgarians, Magyars, Italians and Slovaks laugh at one another’s antics and while listening to the strange sounds, are beginning to enter into a larger fellowship than they ever enjoyed; for so close as this many of them never came without the hand upon the hilt or the finger upon the trigger.

When Providence is generous and grants a quiet evening, the merriment will grow louder and louder, drowning the murmur of the sea and silencing the sorrows of the yesterday and the fears for the morrow.

“Yes, brothers, we are travelling on to America, the land of hope; let us be merry. Where are you going, Czeska Holka?” (a pet name for a Bohemian girl). “To Chicago, to service, and soon, I hope, to matrimony; that’s what they say, that you can get married in America without a dowry and without much trouble.” Ah, yes; and get unmarried again without much trouble; but of this fact she is blissfully ignorant. “Where are you going, signor?” “Ah, I am going to Mulberry Street; great city, yes, Mulberry Street, great city.” “Polak, where are you going?” “Kellisland.” “Where do you say?” “Kellisland, where stones are and big sea.” “Yes, yes, I know now: Kelly’s Island in Ohio. Fine place for you, Polak; powder blast and white limestone dust, yet a fine sea and a fine life.”

All of them are going somewhere to some one; not quite strangers they; some one has crossed the sea before them. They are drawn by thousands of magnets and they will draw others after them.

We have all become good comrades; for fellowship is easily begotten by the fellows in the same ship, especially in the steerage, where no barriers exist and where no introductions are possible or necessary. I am sharing many confidences; of young women who go to meet their lovers; of young men who go to make their fortunes; of bankrupts who have fled the heavy arm of the law; of women hiding moral taint; of countless ones who are hiding grave physical infirmities; and of some who have lost faith in God and men, in law and justice.

Yet most of them believe with a simpler faith than our own; God is real to them and His providence stretches over the seas. No morning, no matter how tumultuous the waves, but the Russian Jews will put on their phylacteries, and kissing the sacred fringes which they wear upon their breasts, will turn towards the East and the rising Sun, to where their holy temple stood.

Rarely will a Slav or Italian go to bed without committing himself to the special care of some patron saint.

Vice there is, crude, rough vice, down here in the steerage. Yes, they drink vodka,—even that rarely; but up in the cabin they drink champagne and Kentucky whiskies, the same devils with other names. Seldom do the steerage passengers gamble—a friendly game of cards perhaps, here and there; while up in the cabin, from sunlight until dawn, poker chips are piled and pass to and fro among daintily attired men and women. There are rough jests in this steerage, and scant courtesy; but virtue is as precious here as there, although kept under tremendous temptation. I have crossed the ocean hither and thither, often in the steerage, more often in the cabin; and I have found gentlemen in dirty homespun in the one place, and in the other supposed gentlemen who were but beasts, although they had lackeys to attend them, and suites of rooms in which to make luxurious a useless existence. The steerage brings virtue and vice in the rough. A dollar might not be safe, and yet as safe as a whole bank up in the cabin; the steerage might steal a loaf of white bread or a tempting cake, but it has not yet learned how to corner the wheat market; the men in the steerage might be tempted to steal a ride upon a railroad, but in the cabin I have met rascals who had stolen whole railroads, yet were called “Captains of Industry.”

Down in the steerage there is a faith in the future, and in the despair which often overwhelms them, I needed but to whisper: “Be patient, this seems like Hell, but it will soon seem to you like Heaven.”

Yes, this Heaven is coming; coming down almost from above, on yonder fringe of the sea, for far away trails the low lying smoke of the pilot boat, and but a little farther off is—land—land. None but the shipwrecked and the emigrants, these way-farers who come to save and be saved, know the joy of that note which goes from lip to lip as it echoes and reëchoes in thirty languages, yet with the one word of throbbing joy,—land—land—America.

IV

LAND, HO!

THE gay spirits soon flag when land is heralded; for Ellis Island is ahead, with its uncertainties, and the men and women who were the merriest and who most often went to the bar, thus trying to forget, now are sober, and reflect. The troubled ones are usually marked by their restless walk and by their eagerness to seek the confidences of those who have tested the temper of the law in this unknown Eldorado.

Not long ago, on one of the ships in which I sailed, there was in the steerage, a monk, who neither walked nor talked like one. He shunned me, not because of my heresies, but because of my Latin, and although he mumbled out of a prayer-book and unskillfully counted his beads, I knew that “The devil a monk was he.”

On the eve of the great day of landing, he was pacing the deck, evidently in an unreverential mood, and I too was there, being one of those who prefer the biting wind of the night to the polluted air of the steerage. He came close to me as we walked, and hesitatingly asked me in a French to which clung a peculiar dialect never spoken in monasteries, whether I had been in America before. When I replied in the affirmative, he inquired all about the examination of baggage and of men, and when I told him how strict it is, that nothing is hid from the lynx eyes of the custom-house officials, and that nothing is sacred to them, not even the body of a monk, he grew visibly excited.

Stealthily he drew from under the folds of his cassock, a stone, a large, brilliant, tempting diamond, and said: “You may have that.” As I took it between my fingers, I detected traces of the torn rim of its setting, and passed it back into the trembling hand of his “Reverence.” “You needn’t be afraid of that,” he said; “I am one of the monks driven out of France, and I am taking the treasures of the Brotherhood over. I am afraid of the high duty and it will be cheaper for me to give you that diamond which is a pendant from the jewels of the Virgin, than to pay for what I have; that is, if you will help me to pass this little bag safely in.” With this he drew aside his cassock and fumbling in the folds brought to light a little bag which he would have handed to me, but I assured him that I was not a smuggler even for pious purposes, and after darting at me an impious glance, he disappeared into the steerage.

The next day at Quarantine, a messenger boy of unusual size came on board and calling out the names of a rather large number of steerage passengers handed them telegrams which were written in English and were rather suspiciously vague.—“Pavel Moticzka,—Ivan Kovaloff,—Isaac Goldberg,” and last,—“Jaques Rosenstein.” My friend the monk nearly jumped out of his cassock to reach for his message, and the “Boy,” who made most remarkable haste for a telegraph messenger, slipped a pair of handcuffs where only rosaries hung; and a Jewish jeweller’s clerk from Paris, who was running away with the best part of his employer’s diamonds,—was in the toils of the law.

Some years ago when the steerage of the Hamburg American Line had not been made even partially decent by our stringent immigration laws, over 500 steerage passengers, booked for the Fürst Bismark, at that time the swiftest boat of the line, were, without explanation or notification, stowed away in a freight boat scheduled to cross in twelve days, but never having actually made the trip in less than sixteen days.

The quarters were very close but the number of passengers was not excessively large, the weather was favourable, and blissfully ignorant of the slowness of the ship, we were comparatively happy.

WILL THEY LET ME IN?

It is a serious matter to many a man who has invested his all in a
ticket for the New World to face the possibility of rejection.
WILL THEY LET ME IN?
It is a serious matter to many a man who has invested his all in a ticket for the New World to face the possibility of rejection.

We were divided about equally into Russian Jews, Slavs and Italians, and there was very little choice so far as comradeship was concerned. The passengers were all fairly dirty, the Italians being easily in the lead, with the Russian Jews a good second, and the Slavs as clean as circumstances allowed.

The Italians were from the South of Italy and had lost the romance of their native land but not the fragrance of the garlic. They quarrelled somewhat loudly and gesticulated wildly; but were good neighbours during those sixteen days. They were shy and not easily lured into confidences by one who knew their language but poorly, in spite of the fact that he knew their country well and loved it. In sixteen days the average American has a chance to discover at least one thing which he has found it hard to believe; that all Italians are not alike, that they do not look alike, and that they are not all Anarchists. When some relationship was established between us, and I had to serve as the link among the three races, we had a grand “Festa” to which the Slavs contributed some gutteral songs and clumsy dances, and the Italians, sleight of hand performances which made them appear still more uncanny to the Slavs.

They also supplied a Marionette theatre, of the Punch and Judy show variety, and “last but not least,” music from a hurdy-gurdy which played the dulcet notes of “Cavalliero Rusticana” and a dashing tune about “Marghareta, Marghareta.” “Signors and Signorinas,” said Pietro, after he had played all the tunes of his limited repertoire, “I have the great honour of presenting to you the national anthem of the great American country to which we are travelling.” He turned the crank, and out came,—the ragtime notes of “Ta—ra—ra—boom—de—a.”

The last number on the program was a song by a Russian Jewess, a woman whose beauty was marred by bleached hair which had grown rusty, and by a complexion upon which rouge and powder had done their worst. Her voice which was strong rather than melodious, had in it an element of artificiality evidently begotten on the stage. She at once became the star among our entertainers, and though her culture was superficial, she was by far the best company for me.

Her parents, she told me, had been well to do Jews in a market town in Russia. They had broken away from many of the observances and traditions of their religion, they and their children followed all the latest fashions, a governess imported from France brought with her Paul de Kock’s novels and other elevating(?) Parisian literature; music teachers came, who discovered in the only daughter a voice which of course, had to be cultivated in Vienna. There were concerts which the father’s money arranged, a few glowing press notices at so much a line, and finally the fruitless struggle to appear in opera.

Then came one of those Anti-Semitic riots, those brutal outpourings of human hate which she was unable to describe. All she could say over and over again was, “Strashno, Strashno,” “it was terrible, terrible.” The house in which she had lived was a wreck, her father beaten to death, and she—she could not say it; but I knew. She told of women whose mutilated bodies were torn open, and of children whose heads were beaten together until they were a bleeding mass. Yes, indeed, it was “Strashno, Strashno,” terrible, terrible.

Somewhat early in her girlhood, a clerk in her father’s store “had looked upon her, and loved her” with a youth’s ardour; but she had scorned him, as well she might scorn this uncultured, stupid looking son of Abraham. Again and again he asked her to be his wife, until through her entreaty, her father drove him out of the store. She told me much of her life and perhaps many things which she told me were not true. I knew for instance, that she had not sung before the Czar of Russia, that Hanslick the great musical critic of Vienna did not predict for her a Patti’s fame and fortune; nor did I believe that a young millionaire in Berlin blew out his brains because she would not marry him. But I did believe that the poor clerk went to New York, that he had worked day and night in a sweat shop pressing cloaks, that out of his earnings he had supported her in the vain struggle to attain Grand Opera, and that now she was on her way to reward his faithfulness and become his wife.

“What is it like, this America?” “What kind of life awaits one on the East-side?” “What social status has a cloak presser in New York?” “What chance is there for one to reach the goal of Grand Opera?” These and other questions she hurled at me while the line upon the horizon grew clearer, and the hearts of men and women heavy from expectation.

On this ship too, Susanka, a Slovak girl nursed her way across the Atlantic, giving food to a little Magyar baby which she despised; and while she rocked the restless little one to sleep and sang her Slavic lullaby, “Hi-u, Hi-u, Hi-u-shke-e-e”—one could see in her heavy face her heart’s hunger for her own child. “Oh! Pany velkomosny (mighty sir), my little child! I had to leave it with a stara baba (old woman) and it was gray, ashen gray when I left it, and it will die, it will die!” and she grew frantic in her grief as she rocked the Magyar child to and fro, “Hi-u, Hi-u, Hi-u-shke-e-e-e.” “Who was to blame, Susanka?” The look of pain changed to one of fiery anger as she sent back across the sea, a curse, long and terrible, against her betrayer.

Yes, those are heavy hours and long, on that day when the ship is circled by the welcoming gulls, and the fire-ship is passed, while the chains rattle and the baggage is piled on the deck. “Will they let me in, signor?” “Why should they not, Antonio?” “Ah! signor, I have not always been a free man. They held me in jail for four years. Will they know it in America? I stabbed a man,—yes, signor.”

“Will they let us in, Guter Herrleben?” anxiously asks Yankev: his wife Gietel and six children are with him and one of the boys lies motionless upon the hatch, pale, worn and almost gone. “Consumption? yes; he was so well, but we were smuggled over and driven by the gendarmes, and had to be out in the damp, and he caught cold and a cough came and you can see, Guter Herrleben, quick consumption!”

Yankev, and Gietel his wife, had an appalling story to tell, and I listened to it as we squatted on deck under the twinkling stars. The moon shone in silvery splendour upon the quiet water, and I wondered why the sea did not grow angry, the constellations pale, and why the moon did not become red like blood at the horror of it all—a horror which never can be told. Imagine an Easter night, a night when Yankev and Gietel celebrated the liberation of Israel from Egyptian bondage. On the same night their Russian neighbours were celebrating the liberation of the human race from the power of death. The synagogue service was over. They had told the story of Israel’s passing through the Red Sea, and of the perishing of Pharaoh’s horsemen; Yankev had come home to the feast of unleavened bread and bitter herbs; the neighbours had been to the church where until midnight, in darkness and silence, they mourned at the tomb of the slain Christ. Then with the passing of the long and silent night they went from street to street shouting: “Christ is risen, Christ is risen, Christ is risen, indeed.” But the mob came upon the defenseless home plundering and burning all in its fury, although mercifully sparing the lives of the now homeless and penniless family. Others fared worse, for they had no money with which to bribe, while their daughters were older and good to look upon. It was a little place and just a little pogrom. It was not written about nor protested against; but what would have been the use?

Dumb from agony we sat there and I had to breathe back into them the faith which they had almost lost, and the courage which had almost left them; a faith and courage which I myself did not possess. In the peace of the night I could hear only the terror of the voice of the Lord saying: “Vengeance is Mine.” The gentle Nazarene who came in love to conquer by love, I could scarcely see, and I yearned to make the Psalmist’s prayer my own. “Blessed be the Lord God which teacheth my hands to war and my fingers to fight.”

That night and many another last night on board of ship, I listened to the stories of men and women who were fleeing from the terror of Russia’s law. Russians who had wrought in secret, who had planned great things and who had risked everything—Bogdanoff, Philipoff, Lermontoff, Lehrman, Loewenstern. Jews and Gentiles who had struck out in their blind fury, who had felt the terror of the law and the greater terror of taking, or trying to take, human life. Some guilty, some innocent; all of them caught in the same net.

Characteristic is the story of a Warsaw merchant who sailed with me on my last journey. On the evening of the 21st of April, 1906, he went to a dentist to have some work done. He went in the evening because he was busy in the daytime, and when he arrived the police were searching the house; after which all the inmates, dentist and patients, were taken to the police station and cast into prison. Two hundred and fifty persons were together in a room large enough for twenty. The odours were frightful, as in common with all Russian prisons there were no toilet conveniences outside of that room, in which for three days they were left. After bribing the officials, twenty fortunate men, my informant among them, were given another room. Nine weeks he remained there utterly unconscious of the reason for his detention; and only after the hard and faithful struggle of his wife was he released,—without an apology, to find his business ruined and only sufficient money left to go to America.

On the same ship I met the widow of a Jewish physician, who was shot down in the act of binding the wounds of those fallen in the uprising of Moscow. Binding the wounds of soldiers and revolutionists alike, he was shot in the back by a police lieutenant who afterwards was promoted to a captaincy.

No, it is not easy to travel in the steerage; not because there is not room enough, nor air enough, nor food enough, although that is all true; but because it is hard to believe down there that the God of Israel is not dead, nor His arm shortened, if not broken, like those of the Greek deities.

Yet they still have faith in Him, these children of His, who have waited for the fulfillment of His promises. They still wait, although “Jerusalem the golden” is a far away dream, and they are scattered wanderers over the face of the earth.

Friday night, with the coming of the first star, all those who believed, met, to voice their faith in Jehovah.

In a corner of the steerage quarters, while the eyes of the Gentiles looked inquisitively on, they turned towards Zion, and lifting up their voices, greeted the Sabbath: “Come, my beloved, thou Sabbath bride,” “Lcho dody L Crass Calo.” They sang this one joyous song of Israel, and stretched out their arms as if to press this spiritual bride to their rest-hungry souls.

They do not doubt that Jehovah will guide the destinies of Israel, and that the Sabbath bride will some day descend upon the earth to abide forever, bringing rest and peace to the Israel of God.

At last the great heart of the ship has ceased its mighty throbbing, and but a gentle tremor tells that its life has not all been spent in the battle with wind and waves. The waters are of a quieter colour, and over them hovers the morning mist. The silence of the early dawn is broken only by the sound of deep-chested ferry-boats which pass into the mist and out of it, like giant monsters, stalking on their cross beams over the deep. The steerage is awake after its restless night and mutely awaits the disclosures of its own and the new world’s secrets. The sound of a booming gun is carried across the hidden space, and faint touches of flame struggling through the gray, are the sun’s answer to the salute from Governor’s Island. The morning breeze, like a “Dancing Psaltress,” moves gently over the glassy surface of the water, lifts the fog higher and higher, tearing it into a thousand fleecy shreds, and the far things have come near and the hidden things have been revealed. The sky line straight ahead, assaulted by a thousand towering shafts, looking like a challenge to the strong, and a warning to the weak, makes all of us tremble from an unknown fear.

The steerage is still mute; it looks to the left at the populous shore, to the right at the green stretches of Long Island, and again straight ahead at the mighty city. Slowly the ship glides into the harbour, and when it passes under the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, the silence is broken, and a thousand hands are outstretched in greeting to this new divinity into whose keeping they now entrust themselves.

Some day a great poet will arise among us, who, catching the inspiration of that moment will be able to put into words these surging emotions; who will be great enough to feel beating against his own soul and give utterance to, the thousand varying notes which are felt and never sounded.

On this very ship are women who have left the burdens which crippled them, and now hope to walk erect; who have fled from the rough, polluting hands of persecuting mobs, that they may be able to guard their virtue and have it guarded by gallant men. Here are hundreds of Slavs who never knew aught but the yoke of czar or other potentate, whose minds have been enthralled by a galling autocracy, and whose closed eyes have never been permitted to see their own downtrodden strength. Now they shall have the opportunity to prove themselves and show the nobility of a peasant race.

Here are Italians from shores where classic art is stored, and the air is soft and full of melody; yet they were left uncouth, rough and unhewn. They come to a rougher but freer air, that they may grow into a gentler, stronger, nobler manhood and womanhood.

Melancholy Jews whose feet never knew a safe abiding place, are here, and their hope is that they may find the peace which went out from their race, when Jerusalem was laid waste and they were scattered among the nations of the earth.

He who thinks that these people scent but the dollars which lie in our treasury, is mightily mistaken, and he who says that they come without ideals has no knowledge of the children of men.

I found myself close to hundreds of these people, closest to the Russian Jews who most excited my sympathies; and one day when they heard that I had been in Bialistok, Kishineff and Odessa, that I knew the horror of it all and that I sympathized with them, they crowded around me almost like wild animals. What did they ask for above everything? Money? No. The one loud cry was for a speech about America. “Preach to us,” they said, “preach to us about America.” It was a polyglot sermon which I preached that Sunday from the covered hatch which was my pulpit, and when I spoke to them of their new home and their new duties, they cheered me to the echo.

I have passed through this gateway more than ten times; I have sounded as far as a man can sound, the souls of men and women, and I have found them tingling from emotions, akin only to those which we more prosperous voyagers shall feel, when we have crossed the last sea and find ourselves in the presence of the great Judge.

Many of these emigrants expect to find more liberty, more justice, and more equitable law than we ourselves enjoy; they imagine that our common life is permeated by a noble idealism; and while they cannot give expression to their high anticipations they feel more loftily than we think them capable of feeling. Many a time I have heard conversations between those who had read about America and those who were ignorant of its life, and invariably I have had to keep silence; for had I spoken I must have destroyed blessed illusions. From the very people whom we call Sabbath breakers, I have heard glowing descriptions of an ideal American Sabbath, and from men to whom alcoholic beverages seemed essential to life, I have heard a defense of laws regulating the sale of liquor. If, in our superficial touch with them in our own country, we find them materialistic and dulled to what we call our higher life, they are not the only ones at fault.

 

Cabin and steerage passengers alike, soon find the poetry of the moment disturbed; for the quarantine and custom-house officials are on board, driving away the tourist’s memories of the splendour of European capitals by their inquisitiveness as to his purchases. They make him solemnly swear that he is not a smuggler, and upon landing, immediately proceed to prove that he is one.

The steerage passengers have before them more rigid examinations which may have vast consequences; so in spite of the joyous notes of the band, and the glad greetings shouted to and fro, they sink again into awe-struck and confused silence. When the last cabin passenger has disappeared from the dock, the immigrants with their baggage are loaded into barges and taken to Ellis Island for their final examination.

V

AT THE GATEWAY

THE barges on which the immigrants are towed towards the island are of a somewhat antiquated pattern and if I remember rightly have done service in the Castle Garden days, and before that some of them at least had done full service for excursion parties up and down Long Island Sound. The structure towards which we sail and which gradually rises from the surrounding sea is rather imposing, and impresses one by its utilitarian dignity and by its plainly expressed official character.

With tickets fastened to our caps and to the dresses of the women, and with our own bills of lading in our trembling hands, we pass between rows of uniformed attendants, and under the huge portal of the vast hall where the final judgment awaits us. We are cheered somewhat by the fact that assistance is promised to most of us by the agents of various National Immigrant Societies who seem both watchful and efficient.

Mechanically and with quick movements we are examined for general physical defects and for the dreaded trachoma, an eye disease, the prevalence of which is greater in the imagination of some statisticians than it is on board immigrant vessels.

From here we pass into passageways made by iron railings, in which only lately, through the intervention of a humane official, benches have been placed, upon which, closely crowded, we await our passing before the inspectors.

Already a sifting process has taken place; and children who clung to their mother’s skirts have disappeared, families have been divided, and those remaining intact, cling to each other in a really tragic fear that they may share the fate of those previously examined.

A Polish woman by my side has suddenly become aware that she has one child less clinging to her skirts, and she implores me with agonizing cries, to bring it back to her. In a strange world, at the very entrance to what is to be her home, without the protection of her husband, without any knowledge of the English language, and with no one taking the trouble to explain to her the reason, the child was snatched from her side. Somewhere it is bitterly crying for its mother, and each is unconscious of the other’s fate.

“Gdeye moya shena” (where is my wife?) an old Slovak cries as he looks wildly about for her, whose physique was suspected of being below the normal and who was passed on for further examination.

A Russian youth, stalwart and strong, is separated from his household which came together to settle in Dakota; but now he, the mainstay of the family, is gone and they are perplexed and distracted.

A little girl scarcely five years of age, cries: “Mitter, mitter, ich will zu meiner mitter gehen”; she is there alone and uncomforted, surrounded by rough-looking men, while not far away her mother is working herself into hysterics because she must await in the detention room the supreme decision.

A woman with three children has two of them taken from her because they are suspected of disease and found to be afflicted by trachoma; the mother also has the disease, but her husband, now an American citizen, comes to claim her, and she passes in while the little ones are held in custody by the immigration authorities.

One by one we pass the inspectors; we show our money and answer the questions which are numerous and pertinent.

The average immigrant obeys mechanically; his attitude towards the inspector being one of great respect. While the truth is not always told, many of the lies prepared prove both inefficient and unnecessary.

THE SHEEP AND THE GOATS.

In the great examination hall, they wait, some with curiosity, some with
anxiety, the decision that shall give them entrance to the new home or
consign them again to the Old World strife.
THE SHEEP AND THE GOATS.
In the great examination hall, they wait, some with curiosity, some with anxiety, the decision that shall give them entrance to the new home or consign them again to the Old World strife.

On one of the boats very recently a number of young women were imported for immoral purposes, and each of them was supposed to be married to the attendant agent of a firm which conducts an international business. The young man having announced himself as married to the woman accompanying him, was asked, “Where were you married?” “In Paris.” “Who married you?” “Pere Abelard.” “When were you married?” “The fifteenth of May.” “Were your wife’s parents present?” “Yes.” Next the young woman was questioned, and announced the marriage as having taken place in Brussels, some time in June, and that she is an orphan. The case is very plain, and both will have to face the court of special inquiry.

A young Jewish girl who really escaped the torment of some Russian persecutions conjures up in her mind a relative in New York whose name and address are not discovered, and the more she is questioned the more she entangles herself in a network of lies.

A dear old mother is held, because instead of the one son who awaits her, she has announced three or four sons residing here; and continued questioning more and more involves her in useless affirmation.

The examination can be superficial at best; but the eye has been trained and discoveries are made here, which seem rather remarkable.

Four ways open to the immigrant after he passes the inspector. If he is destined for New York he goes straightway down the stairs, and there his friends await him if he has any; and most of them have. If his journey takes him westward, and there the largest percentage goes, he enters a large, commodious hall to the right, where the money-changers sit and the transportation companies have their offices. If he goes to the New England states he turns to the left into a room which can scarcely hold those who go to the land of the pilgrims and puritans. The fourth way is the hardest one and is taken by those who have received a ticket marked P. C. (Public Charge), which sends the immigrant to the extreme left where an official sits, in front of a barred gate behind which is the dreaded detention-room.

The decision one way or the other must be quickly made, and the immigrant finds himself in a jail-like room often without knowing just why. There is not much time for explanation.

Imagine a room filled by at least fifty people, many of them doomed to recross the terrible sea and to be landed upon strange territory, to find the way unattended, to their obscure little village. When they arrive there they are usually paupers with a stigma resting upon them; for were they not rejected in America, and why? Ah, who knows why!

Let us pass through this room. “Brother, why are you here?” A stalwart Lettish peasant boy answers demurely, “Because I haven’t money enough. I had some money and they stole it out of my father’s pockets.” The father and the boy have been marked by the inspector as likely to become a public charge, because they had neither money in their pockets nor friends waiting for them. A matter of ten or twenty dollars is between these men and the fulfillment of all their desires.

The court may be lenient, but the father is old and the boy young and it is more than probable that they will both end their days on the rough Baltic, where society now is as turbulent as that northern sea.

A Servian peasant, browned by the hot sun which shone upon the Danubian plains where he lived, edges up to me, for he hears a familiar Slavic note in my speech, and he brings this bitter plaint. “How far I have travelled from Budapest, Vienna, Berlin, and Hamburg. I have spent all my money and now it looks as if I must go back. Must I go? Tell me.” The court will tell him to-morrow that he has passed the dreaded dead line, is over fifty years of age, not too well built, used up by the hardships of his native country, and that as he is likely to become a public charge he is marked for deportation. He will be sent back to Hamburg and how he will find his way home I do not know.

A German woman with three children is the next whom I notice. She is at the point of a nervous breakdown. She has a husband waiting for her, she has over $100, but P.C. is marked on her slip; so she must face the court which will admit her, but she has a long twenty-four hours to wait and the strain is terrible. She needs to be reassured and comforted.

Two boys under ten years of age came unattended; fine looking boys. Over their heavy blue coats hung tickets with the mother’s address. How happy they were to be going to mother. She had preceded them by several years to work out for herself and for them a new destiny on this side of the sea; for on the other side life had been blighted by the unfaithfulness of her husband. At last the hour came when she could send for her children. How she watched their journeying, and how anxious she was while they were on the sea! They are on this ship, and she is waiting for them behind the iron grating at the island. Crowds pour into the great hall, past the physician, towards the inspectors, towards the great centre, to the east and the west. Now she sees them; the physician looks at their faces, and bends low over their chests; but instead of walking straight towards her they are turned aside with those suspected of contagious disease.

“Where are you from, my boy?” “Russia.” One of the few real Russian peasants whom I have met. He measures five feet six inches, is sound as an oak, and having escaped through the cordons of gendarmes which separate his native country from the rest of the world, came here to meet his brother who was at work in the coal mines near Scranton, Pa. “What about your brother?” “Ah! Barin (sir), my brother they say, was killed in the mines and they are afraid to let me in; so I suppose I shall have to go back to Russia,” and the big melancholy peasant cried like a baby. “Buy this shirt from me, Barin, I need money.”

“What’s the matter with you, why are you so unhappy, you gay, care free Roumanian?” Half Slav, half Latin, and the whole no one quite knows what,—he is dressed in a shepherd’s garb, a heavy sheepskin coat over him. “Look here, Panye (sir). This keeps me from going as a shepherd to the West;” and he shows me a lacerated breast on which a wolf has written the shepherd’s story of his faithfulness to the sheep. “Yes, the wolves came round and round my sheep,” he says, “and I went round and round between the sheep and the wolves and the nearer they came the faster I went my rounds between them; but before the morning came they tore many sheep though they tore me first. I bled and bled and have remained sore as you see. A younger shepherd took my place and I sold all and spent all to come here. Ah, well, I could still guard the sheep.”

The most melancholy of all men are the detained Jews, for they usually have strong family ties which already bind them to this new world, and they chafe under the delay. Their children or friends are waiting impatiently, crowding beyond their allotted limit, trying the severely taxed patience of the officials, asking useless questions, and wasting precious time in waiting; for the courts work their allotted tasks with dispatch, but with care and dignity; and all must wait in deep uncertainty through the long vigil of a restless night spent on the clean, but not too comfortable bunks provided by the government.

Let no one believe that landing on the shores of “The land of the free, and the home of the brave” is a pleasant experience; it is a hard, harsh fact, surrounded by the grinding machinery of the law, which sifts, picks, and chooses; admitting the fit and excluding the weak and helpless.

Much ignorance needs to be dispelled regarding these immigrants. Not long ago, I heard one of the secretaries of a certain home missionary society say, with much unction as he pleaded for money for his work, “We land annually on these shores, a million paupers and criminals.” Unfortunately, much of such impression prevails. It was my privilege recently, as a member of the National Conference on Immigration, to be among the guests of the commissioner of the port of New York, and one of the spectacles which we witnessed was the landing of a ship-load of immigrants. We stood in the visitor’s gallery and looked down upon a hall divided and subdivided by the cold iron railings. Many of the visitors were beginning to hold their noses in anticipation of the stenches which would come with these foreigners, and were ready to be shocked by the horrors of the steerage.

Slowly the bewildered mass came into view; but strange to relate, those who led the mass appeared like ladies and gentlemen.

The women wore modern, half acre hats a little the worse for wear, but bought in the city of Prague a few months before; and they were more becoming to these young Bohemian women than to the majority of their American sisters.

The men carried band-boxes, silk umbrellas and walking canes, the remnants of past glories. They were permitted to come in first because they wore good clothing and passed out quickly into their freedom, the members of our Congress welcoming them heartily by the clapping of hands.

After them came Slavic women with no finery except their homespun, rough, tough and clean; carrying upon their backs piles of feather-beds and household utensils. Strong limbed men followed them in the picturesque garb of their native villages; Slovaks, Poles, Roumanians, Ruthenians, Italians, and finally, Russian Jews; but lo, and behold! no smells ascended to our nostrils, and no horrors were disclosed.

Taking a group of delegates down among them, we found that they were wholesome looking people, not devoid of intelligence, and when the barrier between us was broken down by the sound of their native speech, they were communicative, at ease, and very human. The first time I entered New York was at Castle Garden, from the steamer Fulda, twenty years ago; and having watched the tide of immigration ever since, I can say that I never have seen, at any time, a ship-load of better human beings disembark than those which came from the steamer Wilhelm II, on December 7, 1905. And of the many who came on this ship, it is just possible that those who wore neither fashionable hats nor trailing skirts, and who were not politely treated,—it is just possible that they may after all, make the best members of this democratic society.

A gentleman from Ohio, a member of the Conference on Immigration said on the floor, in open debate, and he said it with menacing gesture: “We don’t want you to send none of them yellow worms from Southern Europe to our state, we got too many of them now.” No doubt the gentleman from Ohio and the delegate from Rhode Island who said: “We don’t want no more iv thim durrty furriners in this grand and glorious counthry of ourn,” voiced the common prejudice which rests itself entirely upon its ignorance.

It is true that many criminals come, especially from Italy. Many weak, impoverished and poorly developed creatures come from among Polish and Russian Jews, but they are only the tares in the wheat. The stock as a whole is physically sound; it is crude, common peasant stock, not the dregs of society, but its basis. Its blood is not blue, but it is red, wholesomely red, which is more to the purpose. Blue blood we also receive—thin, worn-out blood, bought at a high price for the daughters of some of our multi-millionaires; but no one can claim that either they or we have been specially blessed by it.

The hardships which attend the examination and deportation of immigrants seem unavoidable, and would not be materially reduced if any other method were devised. To examine them at the centres of immigration seems a rather vague and not a feasible plan. First of all because the immigrant can present himself as physically fit, more easily in his native country where the agencies already exist, to prepare him for an examination which most steamship companies rigidly enforce; because the long journey makes artificial cleansing of diseased eyelids or the hiding of other physical defects impossible. Again because of the fact that such commissions would be hard to control so far from home and would be in constant danger of exposure to “Graft”; a disease not unknown among American officials at home and abroad. The next reason is, that these countries might object to the presence of such alien commissions, which would select the best material and leave the worst; and the last reason is that it would give foreign governments a very fine opportunity to detain those who emigrate for political reasons or those who desire to avoid service in the army.

Much greater responsibility should be put upon the steamship companies, many of which still practice their ancient wrongs upon their most profitable passengers. One of the demands which should be made, and made immediately, is the abolition of the steerage.

Future American citizens should be taught when they step on board of ship, that people in America are expected to live like human beings, and not like beasts.

The price they pay for their passage is large enough to entitle them to better treatment, and if it is not, then the price should be raised to such a figure as to permit it.

This humane treatment should follow the passenger until the last moment of his stay under government supervision; for the more humanely the immigrant is treated, the better citizen he is likely to become.

The steerage is responsible for not a little imported anarchy, and the sooner it is abolished the better. The more humanely the immigrant is treated at Ellis Island, the more humanely he will deal with us when he becomes the master of our national destiny.

VI

“THE MAN AT THE GATE”

“What questions will he ask?” “How much money will he take?” “Will he deal gently with us?” These are the questions which pass from lip to lip among those detained; for the subjects of the Czar speak of the State in the personal pronoun. In fact the State is scarcely known in their vocabulary. It is the person of the ruler which they know, and which they fear more than they revere. The State they have known, was to them very personal; but to the new State, they are just so much human freight which needs to be inspected. In the past this has been done not only impersonally but inhumanely as well, and that it is now done more humanely and justly so far as possible, we owe to “the man at the gate.”

He passed through the gate himself in the old Castle Garden days, when not much system prevailed, when boarding-house keepers were let loose upon us, frightening us half out of our senses and completely out of our change. His dollars were few; but like the average immigrant of to-day he possessed a buoyant spirit, a strong body, keen wits, and bright eyes out of which shone good nature and the spirit of the mischievous boy. He was admitted without difficulty, and drifted into Pennsylvania where he shared the lot of the miner, his labour and his dangers. The miners then were recruited from the strongest immigrant stock and when they felt themselves strong enough to organize, he became one of the leaders. The fact that he led many a rescue party to save his entombed comrades, and that he displayed courage and intelligence brought him into prominence, and the Governor of Pennsylvania chose him as State Factory Inspector. In this position he made enemies enough among the employers to prove that he was faithful to the task set before him, which was, to enforce the laws regulating the conditions of labour in workshops and factories. Later he was appointed inspector at Ellis Island at a time when the condition of that federal post was anything but pleasing to those of us who knew them, and who were concerned for the well-being of the immigrant.

Roughness, cursing, intimidation and a mild form of blackmail prevailed to such a degree as to be common. The commissioner in charge at that time was far above all this, and though made conscious of the conditions was seemingly powerless to discharge dishonest employees or in any way improve the morale of the place.

The new spirit had not yet come into politics and the spoils still belonged to the victors who made full use of the privilege. Among those who did their full duty and who smarted under the wrong done to this weak and helpless mass, was the once immigrant, now inspector.

The conditions steadily grew worse; at least the complaints grew more numerous. Experiences like my own were not rare. I knew that the money changers were “crooked,” so I passed a twenty mark piece to one of them for exchange, and was cheated out of nearly seventy-five per cent. of my money. My change was largely composed of new pennies, whose brightness was well calculated to deceive any newcomer.

At another time I was approached by an inspector who, in a very friendly way, intimated that I might have difficulty in being permitted to land, and that money judiciously placed might accomplish something.

A Bohemian girl whose acquaintance I had made on the steamer, came to me with tears in her eyes and told me that one of the inspectors had promised to pass her quickly, if she would promise to meet him at a certain hotel. In heart-broken tones she asked: “Do I look like that?” The concessions were in the hands of irresponsible people and I remember the time when the restaurant was a den of thieves, in which the immigrant was robbed by the proprietor, whose employees stole from him and from the immigrant also.

My complaints when I made them were treated with the same neglect as were those of others, until with the coming in of the Roosevelt administration they had their resurrection, a change was demanded and the demand satisfied....

Mr. William Williams, who was just back from Cuba where he had rendered distinguished service, and who had come under the notice of the President, was tendered the office of Commissioner of Immigration at Ellis Island. Upon his acceptance, the President’s instructions were to “clean out the stables.” A large measure of reform was inaugurated during the two and one half years of Mr. Williams’s incumbency of this office.

In looking for a successor, the President consulted the records, evidently with the purpose of discovering one thoroughly conversant with the conditions, and of experience coupled with executive ability, sufficient to further extend the needed reforms. Mr. Robert Watchorn was chosen for this important office.

This official announcement in relation to the appointment appeared in the daily press at this time:

Washington, January 16, 1905.

“Robert Watchorn will succeed William Williams as United States Commissioner of Immigration at New York. The appointment will be solely on merit. Mr. Watchorn is now United States Commissioner of Immigration at Montreal. He has been in the immigration service for many years, and his record is perfect.”

I ventured to ask the Commissioner one day if he had been given any instructions by the President as to the course to be pursued. He replied: “Yes, the President gave me instructions very brief but very pointed. ‘Mr. Watchorn, I am sending you to Ellis Island.—You will find it a very difficult place to manage.—I know you are familiar with the conditions.—All I ask of you is that you give us an administration as clean as a hound’s tooth.’”

Should one desire any further evidence that Ellis Island is a difficult place to manage, let him turn to this incident and its sequel in Senator Hoar’s “Autobiography of Seventy Years” (Scribner’s):

During the Christmas holidays of 1901 a very well-known Syrian, a man of high standing and character, came into my son’s office and told him this story:

A neighbour and countryman of his had a few years before emigrated to the United States and established himself in Worcester. Soon afterwards, he formally declared his intention of becoming an American citizen. After a while, he amassed a little money and sent to his wife, whom he had left in Syria, the necessary funds to convey her and their little girl and boy to Worcester. She sold her furniture and whatever other belongings she had, and went across Europe to France, where they sailed from one of the northern ports on a German steamer for New York.

Upon their arrival at New York it appeared that the children had contracted a disease of the eyelids, which the doctors of the Immigration Bureau declared to be trachoma, which is contagious, and in adults incurable. It was ordered that the mother might land, but that the children must be sent back in the ship upon which they arrived, on the following Thursday. This would have resulted in sending them back as paupers, as the steamship company, compelled to take them as passengers free of charge, would have given them only such food as was left by the sailors, and would have dumped them out in France to starve, or get back as beggars to Syria.

The suggestion that the mother might land was only a cruel mockery. Joseph J. George, a worthy citizen of Worcester, brought the facts of the case to the attention of my son, who in turn brought them to my attention. My son had meanwhile advised that a bond be offered to the immigration authorities to save them harmless from any trouble on account of the children.

I certified these facts to the authorities and received a statement in reply that the law was peremptory, and that it required that the children be sent home; that trouble had come from making like exceptions theretofore; that the Government hospitals were full of similar cases, and the authorities must enforce the law strictly in the future. Thereupon I addressed a telegram to the Immigration Bureau at Washington, but received an answer that nothing could be done for the children.

Then I telegraphed the facts to Senator Lodge, who went in person to the Treasury Department, but could get no more favourable reply. Senator Lodge’s telegram announcing their refusal was received in Worcester Tuesday evening, and repeated to me in Boston just as I was about to deliver an address before the Catholic College there. It was too late to do anything that night. Early Wednesday morning, the day before the children were to sail, when they were already on the ship, I sent the following dispatch to President Roosevelt:

To the President,

    “White House, Washington, D. C.

    “I appeal to your clear understanding and kind and brave heart to interpose your authority to prevent an outrage which will dishonour the country and create a foul blot on the American flag. A neighbour of mine in Worcester, Mass., a Syrian by birth, made some time ago his public declaration for citizenship. He is an honest, hard-working and every way respectable man. His wife with two small children have reached New York.

“He sent out the money to pay their passage. The children contracted a disorder of the eyes on the ship. The Treasury authorities say that the mother may land but the children cannot, and they are to be sent back Thursday. Ample bond has been offered and will be furnished to save the Government and everybody from injury or loss. I do not think such a thing ought to happen under your Administration, unless you personally decide that the case is without remedy. I am told the authorities say they have been too easy heretofore, and must draw the line now. That shows they admit the power to make exceptions in proper cases. Surely, an exception should be made in case of little children of a man lawfully here, and who has duly and in good faith declared his intention to become a citizen. The immigration law was never intended to repeal any part of the naturalization laws which provide that the minor children get all the rights of the father as to citizenship. My son knows the friends of this man personally and that they are highly respectable and well off. If our laws require this cruelty, it is time for a revolution, and you are just the man to head it.

GEORGE F. HOAR.”

Half an hour from the receipt of that dispatch at the White House Wednesday forenoon, Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States, sent a peremptory order to New York to let the children come in. They have entirely recovered from the disorder of the eyes, which turned out not to be contagious, but only caused by the glare of the water, or the hardships of the voyage. The children are fair-haired, with blue eyes, and of great personal beauty, and would be exhibited with pride by any American mother.

When the President came to Worcester he expressed a desire to see the children. They came to meet him at my house, dressed up in their best and glorious to behold. The President was very much interested in them, and said when what he had done was repeated in his presence, that he was just beginning to get angry.

The result of this incident was that I had a good many similar applications for relief in behalf of immigrants coming in with contagious diseases. Some of them were meritorious, and others untrustworthy. In the December session of 1902 I procured the following amendment to be inserted in the immigration law.

“Whenever an alien shall have taken up his permanent residence in this country and shall have filed his preliminary declaration to become a citizen and thereafter shall send for his wife and minor children to join him, if said wife or either of said children shall be found to be affected with any contagious disorder, and it seems that said disorder was contracted on board the ship in which they came, such wife or children shall be held under such regulations as the Secretary of the Treasury shall prescribe until it shall be determined whether the disorder will be easily curable or whether they can be permitted to land without danger to other persons; and they shall not be deported until such facts have been ascertained.”

Senator Hoar had touched however, only one of the many phases of the situation. As the President said, it was still “a difficult place.” Yet under Commissioner Watchorn changes were soon visible. The place became cleaner; a new and better system of inspection was organized, discipline was maintained and strengthened, the comfort of the immigrants was considered, the money changers were watched, dishonest, discourteous and useless employees were discharged; and above all, the institution in its remotest corner was open to any one who wished to come and inspect the place which is so important in our economic and social life.

Heartier welcome than the Commissioner gives to the visitor cannot be imagined; and you may take your place among the dozen or more who have come and who are watching him as he decides the destinies of human lives.

The cases which come before him are those upon which the special courts have already passed; so you will see only the wreckage of humanity; those who upon landing are barred by a law which is indefinite enough to leave the way open to human judgment for good or ill.

Two undersized old people stand before him. They are Hungarian Jews whose children have preceded them here, and who, being fairly comfortable, have sent for their parents that they may spend the rest of their lives together. The questions, asked through an interpreter, are pertinent and much the same as those already asked by the court which has decided upon their deportation. The commissioner rules that the children be put under a sufficient bond to guarantee that this aged couple shall not become a burden to the public, and consequently they will be admitted.

A Russian Jew and his son are called next. The father is a pitiable looking object; his large head rests upon a small, emaciated body; the eyes speak of premature loss of power, and are listless, worn out by the study of the Talmud, the graveyard of Israel’s history. Beside him stands a stalwart son, neatly attired in the uniform of a Russian college student. His face is Russian rather than Jewish, intelligent rather than shrewd, materialistic rather than spiritual. “Ask them why they came,” the commissioner says rather abruptly. The answer is: “We had to.” “What was his business in Russia?” “A tailor.” “How much did he earn a week?” “Ten to twelve rubles.” “What did the son do?” “He went to school.” “Who supported him?” “The father.” “What do they expect to do in America?” “Work.” “Have they any relatives?” “Yes, a son and brother.” “What does he do?” “He is a tailor.” “How much does he earn?” “Twelve dollars a week.” “Has he a family?” “Wife and four children.” “Ask them whether they are willing to be separated; the father to go back and the son to remain here?” They look at each other; no emotion as yet visible, the question came too suddenly. Then something in the background of their feelings moves, and the father, used to self-denial through his life, says quietly, without pathos and yet tragically, “Of course.” And the son says, after casting his eyes to the ground, ashamed to look his father in the face, “Of course.” And, “The one shall be taken and the other left,” for this was their judgment day.

The next case is that of an Englishman fifty-four years of age, to whom the court of inquiry has refused admission. He is a medium-sized man, who betrays the Englishman as he stands before the commissioner, and in a strong, cockney dialect begins the conversation in which he is immediately checked by the somewhat brusque question: “What did you do in England?” “I was an insurance agent.” “How much did you earn?” “Four pounds a week.” “Why do you come to America?” “Because I want a change.” “How much change, that is, how much money have you?” “Forty dollars.” “What do you expect to do here?” “Work at anything.” “At insurance?” “Yes.” “The decision of the court is confirmed; deported, because likely to become a public charge.” Evidently insurance agents are not regarded as desirable immigrants.

The next case is a sickly looking Russian Jew over forty years of age, with an impediment in his speech and physically depleted. He is guaranteed an immediate earning of ten dollars a week. The commissioner turns towards his visitors and asks, “What would you do in this case?” The answers differ, the majority favouring his admission. Although he values our judgment the commissioner is compelled to confirm the decision of the court. It is all done quickly, firmly and decisively as a physician, conscious of his skill, might sever a limb; but it is done without prejudice.

He knows no nationality nor race, his business is to guard the interests of his country, guarding at the same time the rights of the stranger.

Work of this kind cannot be done without friction, for intense suffering follows many of his decisions. Yet I have found no one closely acquainted with the affairs of the island, who does not regard the “man at the gate” as the right man in the right place.

It is interesting to follow him on one of his rounds; for he watches closely the workings of his huge machine. “Why don’t you let those people sit down?” A long line of Italians had been standing closely crowded against each other when they should have been seated to await their turn.

“Open that box,” he says, to a lunch counter man, who forthwith opens box after box containing luncheons bought by the immigrants as they are starting westward; boxes containing rations enough for a day or two, according to the length of the journey undertaken.

Out upon the roof, shaded, protected and guarded are many who still await the decision of the court. Little children who came all alone and who often wait for their parents, in vain; wives whose husbands have not yet come as they promised they would; a promiscuous company of unhappy mortals of various degrees. One child, a little girl, sees her father far away among those who come to claim their loved ones; but the law still holds the child, and she cries: “Tate, Tateleben,” and he calls back to her; but his voice is caught by the wind, and the “man at the gate” has to be the comforter for a season; and no one knows how long it may be before her own father will comfort her.

A blind old mother here awaits tidings from her son that she may be speeded on towards her destination, and when she hears his voice demands to know just when she may go; and she, too, draws on the sympathies of the “man at the gate.”

We follow him into a room which harbours some eight or ten young women marked for deportation. They are gaily attired and betray at a glance that they belong to the guild of the daughters of the street. They claim to have come to America for all sorts of purposes; but they were caught with the men who imported them, members of a firm whose business it is to supply the New York market with human flesh. They know neither shame nor remorse; it is all crushed out of them, and they brazenly demand to know just when they may go into New York to begin their careers. America will be none the worse for their speedy departure.

We have seen “the lame, the halt and the blind” and one is apt to think that they represent the normal type of immigrants; while they are really but a small fraction of the mass which is strong, young, industrious and virtuous and which makes of the “man at the gate” an optimist. He does not share the feeling that the immigration of to-day is worse than that of the past; in fact he will say quite freely that it is growing better every day. He has his fears and forebodings; but he knows that the miracle of transformation wrought on us, can still be wrought on this mass which is just like us, in that it is like clay in the hands of the potter, which may be moulded just as millions of us have been moulded, into the likeness of a new humanity. The danger, he does not hesitate to say, lies less in the clay than in the potter.

The visit over, we take the little boat for the battery, crowding through a mass of men who look up to the guarded roof where their loved ones are detained. “Tate Tateleben” comes the painful cry of the little children, and one envies the man at the gate who on the morrow may answer these cries and give the children to their fathers and the wives to their husbands; who may unite those who have been divided by long years and a wide sea.... But what if he cannot answer the cry of the children?

The “man at the gate” need not be envied for the hard, daily task which awaits him; the task of opening or shutting the gates, of saying: “This one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.”

Clear and vivid before his eyes constantly stands the law, commanding him, on his allegiance, to refuse admission, not merely to those physically or morally tainted in such degree as to endanger the nation’s life, but to those “persons likely to become a public charge.” He is not responsible for the law. He is responsible for its execution, even though his decisions sometimes are not less hard for himself than for those who find the gates shut against them.

BACK TO THE FATHERLAND.

Not merely the dangerous elements are refused admission, but those who
for reasons of ill health of mind or body, or inability to work, are
likely to prove a hindrance rather than a help.
BACK TO THE FATHERLAND.
Not merely the dangerous elements are refused admission, but those who for reasons of ill health of mind or body, or inability to work, are likely to prove a hindrance rather than a help.

It requires a buoyant spirit, a steady hand, a tender heart, and a resolute mind. He must be both just and kind, show no preferences and no prejudices, guard the interests of his country and yet be humane to the stranger. To be able to say of “the man at the gate” that he accomplishes this in a very large measure is not scant praise; and if here and there his judgment is questioned, it simply proves that he is as human as his critics.

VII

THE GERMAN IN AMERICA

THE past had its apprehensions about its various problems no less than the present has, and our forefathers looked upon the non-English speaking immigrants much as we look upon them to-day. No doubt they spoke of them as an undesirable class.

Many of us remember when the German and the Scandinavian immigrants who came, received no heartier welcome than we now give the Slav, the Italian and the Jew.

This large tide of immigration from among our non-English speaking races had its beginning long before there was a Castle Garden or Ellis Island, and shortly after the Pilgrims and Puritans laid the foundations for their colonies at Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay. Upon the path made by English Quakers, came in 1682 the first German immigrants. They were Mennonites, a Protestant sect which manifested in its tenets many of the faults and virtues of both Quakers and Puritans.

They sailed up the shallow Delaware Bay, where a Penn, who was “mightier than the sword,” had subdued the savages by his gentle spirit and had made the flat shores peaceful for the habitation of these strangers. They settled in what is now called Germantown, and soon their little cottages were surrounded by gardens where the rosemary wafted its fragrance on the air, and where no doubt the cabbage lifted its astonished head above the ground, little dreaming that some day it would be “monarch of all it surveyed.”

In some points these Germans out-Puritaned the Puritans; for while it is said that the Puritans did not kiss their wives on the Sabbath, these German Puritans did not kiss their wives at all. That they brought with them noble ideals is proved by the fact that they were the first people on this continent to oppose slavery, and sent to the Quakers a petition to that effect. It contains the following quaint paragraph: “If once these slaves (wch they say are so wicked and stubborn men) should joint themselves, fight for their freedom and handel their masters & mastrisses, as they did handel them before; will these masters & mastrisses tacke the sword at hand & warr against these poor slaves, licke we are able to believe, some will not refuse to doe? Or have these negers not as much right to fight for their freedom, as you have to keep them slaves?”

The Germans were also the first among us to legislate against the vice of intemperance, and may be said to be the first Prohibitionists, a fame which the modern German immigrant does not care to share with them.

One of the most ideal men of this time was Francis Daniel Pastorius, a man who combined in himself all the graces and virtues of his noble race; he was a lover of science and the finer pleasures, and was a mystic who yearned for the closer communion with God. Pietists, Tunkers, and others followed the Mennonites in the eighteenth century; and Pennsylvania was soon dotted by communities in which these strangely garbed people lived their peculiar and simple lives. To name them all would require much space, and to describe their peculiarities would fill a book. The Schwenkfelders, the Moravians, and the Amish were the most important among the later arrivals, and Germany seemed to have exhausted her ability to produce sects after their departure. Encouraged by good Queen Anne, Lutherans and Roman Catholics came later, and these were neither so pious nor so intelligent as their predecessors; but were the advance guard of that vast horde of peasantry which ceased not its coming for nearly two centuries, which moved from Pennsylvania to Ohio, from there southward along the Mississippi to Louisiana, and northward to Wisconsin and Minnesota, and which was a great factor in redeeming the wilderness and making it to “blossom as the rose.”

Thousands of these peasants were sold into a semi-slavery as Redemptionists, and thousands more laid down their lives in the attempt to blaze paths through the forest and make the fever-stricken plains habitable. Wherever they went they created wealth by their unremitting industry, and by their skill in cattle-raising and farming, so that where an English-speaking farmer starved and was forced to move westward, they stayed and dug riches out of the neglected soil.

To-day, in travelling through this country, one can almost invariably detect the German farm; and the German farmer is everywhere the standard of excellence.

These immigrants were not idealists like their forefathers, but were content to worship God as did their fathers, and by the honest sweat of their brows eat the fruit from their own “vine and fig tree.” In 1848, when the breath of freedom grew into a wind-storm, there came involuntary immigrants, political exiles of whom the late Carl Schurz is the best known, if not the best example. They were all educated men, many of them real scholars, and whatever German culture there is among the Germans to-day in our cities is in a large measure due to their influence and example. They and their descendants are our real German aristocracy, and in the German centres of Cincinnati and Milwaukee they form the select society.

While these men were idealists politically, they were in a large degree materialists religiously, and planted the seed of Marxian Socialism and of infidelity among their countrymen. One whole colony in Minnesota made it one of its tenets not to have a church or even to mention the name of God, and the little city of New Ulm bore that distinction for a great many years; but in spite of the most diligent efforts to keep God and the churches out of their town, several houses of worship have been built in late years. While much skepticism still prevails, the younger generation almost as a whole has turned to its God.

The modern German immigrant comes pressed neither by hunger nor by his conscience, but most often to escape irksome military service, or drawn by the German “Wanderlust” which carries him beyond the mountains of his Fatherland into all corners of the earth, although emigration from Germany increases and decreases, as the economic times are good or bad. On board ship he is the jolliest of passengers, and you will find him at the bar in the morning for his beer and late at night in the smoking-room with a crowd of jovial men and women, singing the songs of the Fatherland, which grow sadder as he grows jollier. He carries with him an exalted opinion of his own country, and has fully made up his mind not to let anything crowd out his love for it, so that when New York Harbour with its vastness and beauty rises before him he insists that it is not half as big or as beautiful as the harbour at Hamburg, and only at the sight of the sky-scrapers does he acknowledge our superiority. I once stood before mighty Niagara with one of these subjects of Kaiser Wilhelm, and, with a deprecating shrug of his shoulders, he said: “Ve gots dem in Shermany too.” This attitude towards our country lasts a long time, and is lost only when success comes.

The German immigrant invariably has a good common-school education, although not always possessed of culture, and, if he has it, he does not find much of it among those with whom his lot is cast. A young chemist whom I met grew so despondent at the sight of his German boarding-house, and at the lack of manners among the boarders that he returned to Germany two weeks after he landed. Not many such young men come, and few of such who come succeed, for the “hustle and bustle,” the common tasks to be performed, and the common people whom they must meet as equals, repel them. The weaning from aristocratic notions, the being thrown into the hopper without being asked, “Who are you, and who are your parents?” are painful processes, and only the fit survive. Although the process is slow, it is sure. A young man who has come to this country to study our way of doing business was employed in a large department store in Chicago as a bundle-boy. At first he politely addressed the elevator man thus: “Vill you blease let me off on de second floor?” but within two months he said imperatively, “Second”; and he was on the road towards complete Americanization.

The city of Milwaukee is probably the most German city in the United States, although nothing in its business or residence portion suggests the Germany across the sea and, with sixty per cent. of its population German, it has not impressed upon the city the best things which we usually associate with that nationality. The intellectual life of its people does not receive that stimulus which one might expect; and whatever German culture there is outside of the ever-diminishing circle of the “forty-eighters” has been transplanted by Americans who have travelled and studied in the Fatherland. The few Germans who try to bring the Germany of America in touch with its glorious heritage across the sea, usually fail most miserably. The cry I most often heard from them was, “The idealists are dead, and the dollar reigns supreme.”

With a few exceptions, neither the German stage nor the German newspaper has been able to keep alive that intellectual spirit; and, as a rule, the German population falls below the American in its desire to keep in touch with the intellectual life of Germany. “We have two kinds of Germans in Milwaukee: soul Germans and stomach Germans, and the latter are in the vast majority,” said a keen observer; and it does seem that the national spirit rallies around social usages rather than around the things which make Germany a world power in the noblest sense. The editors upon whom I called were all intent upon telling me how great their papers were and how many subscribers they had, and I could not go beyond the business point with any of them, although I wasted two hours upon one, trying to get a glimpse of his German soul; but if I saw it at all, it had the American dollar-mark written all over it. Upon the social side the German is abnormally developed, and to be a “good fellow” is to him a high ideal. He usually belongs to numberless lodges and societies, in few of which he receives any intellectual stimulus. He retains his convivial habits and frequents the saloon, but is seldom intemperate, although the American treating habit often works havoc with his frugality.

That I have not misjudged the situation is proved by the fact that similar conclusions have been reached by eminent German scholars who have recently visited the United States.

Prof. K. Lamprecht, of the University of Leipsic, who has recently published his notes under the title “Americana,” says: “Have the Germans done much besides having a large share in making the soil tillable? A visit to the great cities such as Chicago and Milwaukee compels to the sad answer, no.

“The Germans, capable as they are, in their separate and narrower activities have not held together and have been overcome by others; overcome to the degree that they still make the stupid “Dutchman” the target for their jokes. One need only to see the part he plays in the American farce to be convinced of this. He is the man who is always too late, who always wants much and at last gets but little, and who in spite of the fact that he is portrayed as good natured, is laughed at. This caricature tells some truth and is the product of some observation.

“Intellectually he does not stand very high; (the Negro also learns reading and writing), but in intense thinking he is outdistanced by the Englishman and presumably by the Slav also.

“Whoever has visited the beer gardens of Milwaukee, especially the unfortunate Pabst Park, that pattern of stupidity, must say to himself that a people which enjoys such things as are here offered, is not capable of intellectual competition in America. “Still sadder is the lack of political discernment. One need not speak of the corrupt condition of American politics. If the Germans had really had the desire they could greatly have improved the political morals of the United States. That they did not use their opportunity is due largely to the fact that when the early German immigrants came to us, their country was not politically ripe; nevertheless they may be accused of not having kept pace with the citizens of the mother country, who, under more difficult conditions have reached a very high political development. The common people from whom our immigrants sprang, now have large powers in directing the political well-being of the Fatherland under less favourable conditions. This is also true in regard to the German intellectual development with which the German-American has not kept in touch and to which he is now very slowly awaking.”

Another thing which this vast German population has failed to impress upon our cities is the love of law and order which characterizes it in its native home, and almost without exception it stands arrayed against any attempt to curtail the privileges of the saloon; while lawmakers, and officials, are usually kept from enforcing existing laws by their fear of the German vote. One of the Milwaukee beer-brewers with whom I talked in regard to his influence upon local politics naively said: “No, we have no influence upon politics at all, but if a sheriff or a judge should try to enforce laws against our saloons, he would simply lose his head.” The fact is that a certain phase of municipal life is completely controlled by the brewing interest in nearly every city where the German element plays a political part, and that element always rallies to the support and defence of the brewers. It is a strange but general experience that the German immigrant is immediately arrayed against the temperance element; this is due in no small measure to the facts that his first lodging-place is usually connected with a saloon; that the German newspaper almost always ridicules temperance effort and misinterprets the motives of its leaders, and, lastly, that designing politicians make their slogan, “personal liberty,” synonymous with “beer at any time and anywhere.” Only very recently a large portion of the German population of Chicago was the leading element in a mass-meeting in which over ten thousand people took part, demanding the granting of special licenses to dance-halls; a precedent which would be as illegal, as dangerous.

Nevertheless, the German is a law-abiding citizen, although he has never been convinced that temperance laws are either wise or just; and that, in spite of the fact that his own Fatherland is making strenuous efforts in that direction, and that temperance societies are coming to be as numerous in Germany as they are in America, but much more sensible in their agitation than with us. The average German comes, willing enough to obey all the laws, and, if he has proper environment, develops quickly into the best kind of citizen.

Neither in Milwaukee nor elsewhere did I find that the Church, whether Lutheran or Roman Catholic, had kept pace with the intellectual development of the home Church, nor has it come to feel its social responsibility to the community. The German Lutheran pastors, in certain synods, are often more exclusive than the Catholic priests in their unwillingness to coöperate with other churches for the public good; and while the churches in Germany are the most progressive on the continent, here they are the most conservative, and correspondingly inactive in the affairs which move society. Certain synods of the Lutheran Church, and those the most prosperous, hold to the Augsburg Confession more tenaciously than Luther ever did, and believe that beside that Church there is no Church, and outside of that creed no salvation.

I attended a Lutheran church one Sunday evening when it was crowded largely by young people, all of them wage-earners in the lower walks of life. The whole burden of the sermon of nearly forty-five minutes’ length was the thought that salvation is not in morality or merit or good deeds, but that the only thing necessary to it is a proper definition of the nature of Jesus Christ. There was not one ethical note in the whole sermon, and if it is a fair sample of that man’s discourses, his flock of more than fifteen hundred souls is feeding upon barren pasture. When I called upon a Lutheran pastor who was pointed out to me as a liberal, I found, upon asking him to define his liberality, that it turned entirely upon social habits and had nothing to do with theology. “I want to drink my beer whenever I want to,” was the article in his creed that had driven him into the arms of a more liberal synod.

Among the Germans of the Northwest there is a good deal of infidelity, fostered by the Turner societies; but they are languishing and dying, and with them dies the unbelief. I was told in Milwaukee by a business man that the disappearance of those societies is due to the fact that men of affairs discovered that it was poor business policy to belong to them, because it arrayed against them the conservative church element, and that the cessation of infidel agitation is not a sign of more faith, but simply a sign of more common sense. One free-thinking paper is still published in Milwaukee; but its constituency is gradually growing smaller, and the lecturers on infidelity, of whom there used to be many, have dwindled to one or two. They find it hard to make a living out of a thing that has no life. Yet the German immigrant contributes positive good to this nation’s life; he brings usually a sound body, and while seldom intellectual, he is nearly always intelligent. He is scrupulously honest in business affairs, and has elevated the business morals of his community. By his love of music he has robbed the social life in America of some of its sternness; and the German singing societies are known not so much for the artistic quality of their performance, as for keeping alive the spirit of good fellowship.

Unfortunately, the German falls an easy prey to the prevailing materialistic spirit, and when he worships mammon he becomes the most ardent of devotees. Then he has no time for his “Gesangverein,” nor for anything else which is not utilitarian, and “Geldmachen,” the making of money, is his great ideal. In his home life he still emphasizes those virtues which have given inspiration to the German poets’ best songs. His wife is, even in America, the model “Hausfrau”; for “she looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.” Yet the Woman’s Club has touched her also, and the “Kaffeeklatsch,” with its innocent neighbourhood gossip, has given way to the formal reception and kindred social delusions. The German has been the prime factor in dispelling the Puritan idea of the Sabbath, which to many is a positive evil, but may at least be considered a mixed good. Still, he ought not to bear the blame alone, for the average American was ready to have his Sabbath broken for him and has easily followed into the breach; just as it often takes four or five grown persons to escort one child to the circus, so one may find four or five natives at every Sunday base-ball game, helping the German to amuse himself.

The disintegrating process has also been stimulated by the American tourists who annually cross the ocean, and who, during their visits in Continental Europe, leave much of the Puritan spirit behind them—too much for their own good and the good of their country.

The German has not largely contributed to the deepening of the religious life of the nation, although wherever he enters the life of the church he makes its expression more honest. The one thing which he hates desperately is hypocrisy, and because of that he guards himself very jealously and seldom speaks of his religious experiences. The German Methodist and Evangelical Churches, which are of the emotional type, are not only failing to grow, but are perceptibly becoming smaller. This is to be deplored, because they developed a somewhat deep if rather narrow Christian character, and strove to counteract the cold and more formal spirit of the majority of their brethren in other communions.

The German in America has not produced many great men, but he has filled this country with good men, which is infinitely better. The cause of the dearth of prominent German-Americans is due to the fact that they blend more quickly than any other foreigner (except the Scandinavian) with the nation’s life, especially if the German reaches any kind of eminence; and the effect which he has upon the life of the nation is difficult to trace just because of that.

The coarse, the crude and the low, retain their national stamp, while the finer and better soon become part of us. Some of us seem to know the German best and judge him most from the standpoint of the saloon and all it implies; but I have almost always found him industrious, intelligent, honest, frugal, patriotic, and God-fearing—noble qualities for American citizenship. If he has not risen to the highest which he is capable of reaching, and if he does not exert his influence for the best in all directions, it is not due to the fact that he is not willing to do it; but because he could not rise much higher than the highest marked out for him by the native citizens, or because he could not quite comprehend that this money-making, materialistic Yankee had ideals which he was trying honestly to realize.

If we misjudge the German, he misjudges the American and rates him much lower than he deserves. This has robbed him of a higher standard for himself and made him exaggerate our national weaknesses, imitating which has created a peculiar combination of character which does scant justice to himself or to his American neighbour. When he revisits his Fatherland, these weaknesses manifest themselves most; and then his adopted Fatherland comes in for a good share of the blame for his lack of manners. The following incident illustrates this point. In the lobby of a fashionable hotel in Berlin a German-American of this type was expectorating tobacco-juice with the exactness and frequency of an adept. To a German who called his attention to this nuisance, he replied: “Everybody does that in America.” He needs to know the American and value him as he deserves, and he ought to know that which he does not seem to, that the making of money is to the true American, after all, not the greatest of achievements; that the hypocrisy with which he charges him in his religious life is less frequent than he thinks it is, and that the national ideal is slowly but surely gaining ascendency. He ought also to know that, more than any other foreigner, he has impressed upon us both his strength and his weakness, and that we are growing quite definitely Teutonic. It is for us to find out what this strength is and to appropriate it more; and it is for him to grow conscious of his weakness and eliminate it from his social life, that he may become indeed one of the strongest pillars of this Republic, which already, like the coming Kingdom, is made up of “every nation and kindred and tribe and people under heaven.”

VIII

THE SCANDINAVIAN IMMIGRANT

THE steerage of an English vessel on which the Scandinavian immigrants travel is not the forbidding place usually found on the steamers which sail from Continental ports. The passengers have cabins assigned to them, their meals are served in human fashion, and the general appearance of everything is in keeping with that of the travellers who come from the best peasant stock of Europe. The Scandinavian peasants bear no taint of past slavery; and as far back as their “Saga” reaches, they were freemen.

When the new light which first shone at Wittenberg travelled northward, it found ready entrance into Swedish hearts, and Scandinavia has ever been the bulwark of Protestantism, so that wherever its story is written, the name of Gustave Adolphe has a prominent place. With scarcely any exception the Scandinavian immigrant is a Protestant, a confessed adherent of some church, and in most cases an ardent worker and worshipper. Repeatedly during services on shipboard I have found that every Scandinavian present took an active interest in it, and on the Sabbath the number of Bible readers and students was astonishingly large. There is practically no illiteracy among them and the steerage passenger who read nothing on his journey was an exception; the quality of the reading was also remarkable, for on one journey I counted among fifty books, nine of Sheldon’s “What would Jesus do?” and only fourteen novels of a purely secular character.

The demeanour of the Scandinavian immigrant is quiet, unobtrusive, almost melancholy; and when he sings it is always in a minor key, his folk-song having the dreaminess of the Orient and being as far removed from the jig of his Irish fellow traveller as the North is from the South. He is homesick from the time he steps on board of ship until he reaches his home “in the land where there is no more sea”; and the asylums of the Northwest are full of Scandinavian men and women who have sunk into hopeless melancholia because of homesickness. Yet in spite of this most of the immigrants remain in America and more than any other foreigner blend completely into the national life.

There is scarcely such a thing as a second generation of Scandinavians, although the first generation never loses its love and longing for fair “Scandia.” A great many who come know the English language or at least some words, and being in touch here with a spirit which is as serious as their own it is no wonder that they remain, and become merged in the national life. Not one who comes is a pauper, although not a few are poor; yet nearly all are rich in a heritage of health and character which unfortunately they do not always retain on this side of the Atlantic. In fact it is proved that the second generation is weaker physically, and many of the older immigrants claim that it has lost much moral fibre also. This complaint which I have heard from all foreigners about their descendants is largely due to the natural tendency to overrate the past and to underrate the present. It is also true that the second generation undervalues the heritage which the parents brought with them from across the sea; and in not a few cases because of that, it becomes morally and spiritually bankrupt.

From stereograph copyright—1905, by Underwood &
Underwood, N. Y.

FAREWELL TO HOME AND FRIENDS

Close of kin to us are the Scandinavians, not only in race, but in
thought and in ideals. More than any other element do they blend quickly
and thoroughly with our national life.
From stereograph copyright—1905, by Underwood & Underwood, N. Y.
FAREWELL TO HOME AND FRIENDS
Close of kin to us are the Scandinavians, not only in race, but in thought and in ideals. More than any other element do they blend quickly and thoroughly with our national life.

I have seldom seen Scandinavian immigrants of more than middle age, and most of them are young men and women between eighteen and thirty-six. Some remain in the large cities of the East where they are valued as servants, gardeners and dairymen, more of them drift to Jamestown, N. Y., as mechanics; but the large majority of immigrants go to the Northwest where they have been “hewers of wood and drawers of water,” where they have turned the sod of far stretching acres towards the sun and where their cattle graze upon a thousand hills. They like the melancholy plains of the Dakotas; the cold winters remind them of their own far North, and if any strange country ever grows to them like home it certainly is this hospitable region in whose mills and factories, beginning at Chicago and ending in that West which each day comes nearer to the true East across the Pacific, they are toilers, skilled labourers and trusted foremen.

I have yet to find the shop where they are not liked; although their less industrious fellow workmen of other nationalities call them treacherous—a word which they themselves do not quite understand; but which means that the Scandinavians “get ahead,” and that is often cause enough to give them a bad name. In all my dealings with them I have found them frank and generous, and while playing farmer in order to know them better, my fellow labourer has many a time hitched the horses for me, or shovelled my portion of the corn, and when he found that I was only a make-believe farmer did not betray my confidence.

With such experiences and with such high esteem of the Scandinavian, I joined a party of young Swedes who were travelling from Chicago to the Northwest. They were disgusted by that city, by its moral and physical filth, its noise and its few glimpses of God’s heaven, and I congratulated them upon going to Minneapolis which I described in glowing terms as a clean and godly city in which an American population of New England descent combined with this wholesome Scandinavian element in making a model city. Eager to have America shine to them in its very best light I offered myself as their guide through the city, an offer which they readily accepted. We had scarcely stepped out of the Union Depot before I wished that I had not said anything about the godliness of Minneapolis; for we were set upon by thugs, fakirs and lewd women in such numbers and in such a disgusting manner that I thought for a moment I had struck the Bowery in its palmiest days. Dozens of squares around the depot and deep into the heart of the city were filled by brothels of the most disgraceful kind; pictures were displayed in show windows and in the open porticos of museums which would make a Paris street gamin blush, and the whole city seemed to be stricken by some fatal disease. Policemen were neither ornamental nor useful, city detectives were employed by gamblers to hustle the fleeced stranger out of town, the mayor, the sheriff and who knows who else were in league with gamblers and thieves, while vice was everywhere rampant and did not even have to defy the law for there was no law.

Newspaper men whom I interviewed, told me that Minneapolis was considered by travelling men the “toughest” town this side of Butte, Montana. Ministers said that they were helpless and many told me that it was none of their or my business; officials were paralyzed, the mayor was a fugitive from justice, the chief of police was about to be sent to the penitentiary for safe keeping; and all of them agreed that these conditions were in no small measure due to the Scandinavian population which was not fitted for public responsibility.

I had just come from Jamestown, N. Y., which has about the same population of Scandinavians, where they had elected a Swedish mayor who gave great satisfaction, where many offices were held by Swedes, and where I had heard no such complaints.

In Minnesota generally, no taint attached itself to such Scandinavians as Knute Nelson, Lind and others who had served in high offices in state and nation; therefore I was shocked, puzzled and disappointed. I found the common verdict in Minnesota to be: “We can’t trust the Swedes in public offices;” and the number of defaulting county and city treasurers of Scandinavian nationality (especially Swedish) who spent a few years in Stillwater prison, makes the generally accepted estimate of the high character of the Swede as a citizen waver not a little.

If this estimate be true it may be due first of all to the Swedish churches, which have not as a rule, in common with a large share of the American churches, sufficiently emphasized the fact that “righteousness exalteth a nation,” and that it can become exalted only through a righteous citizenship. The Lutheran churches have been busy preaching doctrines and have been so eager to maintain the Augsburg confession that they have not laid much stress upon upholding the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount and all that it means for the Kingdom of God. The “Mission Friends,” as a large body of Swedish Christians calls itself, has been so busy in common with Methodists and Baptists, doing evangelizing work, and building up its local church membership, that it has forgotten that it has something to do with saving the state or the city.

The second cause may be ascribed to the clannish feeling fostered by cunning politicians, which makes these people vote for a Scandinavian no matter what his character is, just because he is one of their own. In this as in the first case I do not wish it to appear that the Scandinavian is a sinner above all others, but he has been remarkably unfortunate in the character of the officials whom he has chosen, and it will take a great deal of repentance and general betterment to make the people of Hennepin County unsuspicious of the Scandinavian office seeker.

The very worst thing in our national life, the most corrupting thing in every way is this voting as Scandinavians or Hungarians, and not as Americans. It amounts in many cases to a kind of treason and deserves to be treated as such. The politicians and the political party which foster that sort of thing are in a small but very dangerous business which does more to hamper the American consciousness in the foreigner than any other thing I know of; and is to-day the great poison which needs to be eliminated from the national life. In nine cases out of ten the foreigner is made a scapegoat by designing politicians who give him a small office which pledges him to do an unfair and often a dishonest thing. In the Northwest it has brought a stigma upon the Swedes: a bad reputation which they do not deserve and which they must throw off for their own good and for the good of the country.

The third and perhaps the best reason for this state of affairs is the fact that in common with other foreigners they have had a poor example set them by the Americans. Minneapolis citizens were so busy making money that they did not realize that their city was in the hands of thieves and robbers who not only “killed the body,” but cast many a soul into hell. One is roused to anger by the disclosures of graft in St. Louis, Philadelphia and other cities too numerous to mention; but when city officials like the mayor of the city and the chief of police, both of them of good American stock, are proved to be in league with gamblers and other immoral folk who corrupt the youth and destroy the trustful foreigner who comes from farm and forest, then one’s indignation ought to know no bounds. Justly, the Swedes of Minneapolis say, “the big rascals were Americans supported by American voters, many of them in Christian churches and highly esteemed in business and social life.” Nor can the contented citizen of that beautiful place take any satisfaction in the fact that some of the rascals were brought to justice and that the conditions have changed. This miserable state of affairs might still exist if the aforesaid rascals had not quarrelled with each other and finally destroyed themselves. Scarcely any one in Minneapolis deserves the credit of having lifted his voice against it or raised a protest because of the encroachment of a vice which has no bounds and which can be made harmless only by being driven away. For a city to give up its waterfront to palaces of shame where openly and defiantly, women plied their fearful trade, is poor business, poor esthetics, poor ethics and poor Christianity. Its encroachment upon the Union Depot where every stranger enters, and its perfect freedom to obtrude itself, is all poor politics as it certainly is a poor introduction to that beautiful city’s life. How much the foreigner is to blame I cannot tell, but this is true: that Minneapolis has the best foreign element and of course some of the worst; it has a vigorous, earnest American population with a noble heritage, and yet it has failed not only in making an all-around citizen of that foreigner but even in governing its own city; and the usual excuses of an ignorant, Sabbath-breaking foreign element do not hold good here, for the foreigner in Minneapolis obeys the Sunday law, goes to church (one church has over 4,000 worshippers on Sunday night), is not ignorant or vicious, and yet he is said to be a poor citizen.

After all the blame must fall largely upon those Americans who have lost the backbone of the Puritans and the vision of the Pilgrims, who feel little responsibility towards the great city problem, and rest content with the fact that they live in parks, that the saloon cannot encroach upon their dwellings, and then are willing to let the rest go as it pleases and where it pleases. If their pastors lift the prophetic voice, they are “fired,” even as Savonarola was burned, and it amounts to the same thing. There is a perfect stream of new ministers who come and go, and many go away broken in body and in spirit.

In the politics of the state, the Scandinavian has a well-deserved and honoured place, and the administration of Governor Johnson goes far to disprove any aspersions cast upon his people.

One of the most interesting communities in Kansas is the Swedish town of Lindsburgh, where Bethany College is located. It has become an intellectual and musical centre, and its influence is as wholesome as it is large.

I am not defending the foreigner; he has his faults, and too often does not make the most of his great opportunity, but he is as clay in the hands of the American who can make of him what he pleases.

In Jamestown, N. Y., you have a strong American community with firm convictions, and this same Scandinavian becomes like it.

In Minneapolis you have no such strong convictions of righteousness and you have a Scandinavian population which men in authority say is unfit to exercise its citizenship. Our cities need to cultivate a twentieth century Puritanism—broad and deep, intense yet sympathetic, unyielding yet charitable; and they will find that the most ready imitators will be the foreigners; especially these Scandinavians who were our kinsmen before they came here and who are ready to be our brothers, and heirs of the same Kingdom.

In everything which makes a strong people and a great state they have taken an active and conscientious part. They are staunch supporters of the public schools; their children finally become teachers and in every academy and university of the northwest the Scandinavians are an important contingent, industrious and faithful as students, scholarly and loyal as professors. Their churches are well built, well supported, and more and more their pastors are taking their places as true leaders among the people. They are intensely interested in the larger mission of the gospel and in the evangelization of the world; they believe in missions, pray for missions, give to missions, and thus have a wide horizon. In the Northwest they are the greatest foes of the liquor traffic, and one can always count on many of them in an effort to enforce existing laws or frame new ones for its restriction or destruction. Neither they nor any nationality which has come to America is alike good or free from serious faults, but a man would have to be short-sighted indeed not to realize that they have brought to this country rich moral treasures which we have not sufficiently used or developed.

What a people we might be, if we would appropriate all that the Jew brings of spiritual vision and cut down his business ardour and craftiness by our own emphasis of the nobler gift; if we would receive the Slav’s virgin strength and plant upon it all that we of older civilization have learned to hold precious; if we would emulate the German’s thoughtfulness and thoroughness and not imitate and encourage him in the trade in lager beer and the use of it. What a nation we should be if we would take the Hungarian’s devotion to his native land and make it burn with just such a true fire upon the altar of this country; and finally, if we would mingle all the virtues that the nations bring us with the seriousness and loftiness of the Scandinavian’s mind and heart,—if we did this through one generation, in one city of our country we would bring the Kingdom of God down upon the earth.

Nor is this all a pious wish or simply a flow of rhetoric: we shall have to do that,—cultivate in one another the best gifts,—or we shall reap a harvest of the worst; for in the Scandinavian we can see how the very best may become like the worst simply through our own neglect. We must believe about one another only the best, for people, like bad boys, live up to their reputation.

This country ought to be no place for racial or national hatreds, and no people must be branded as this or that simply because of one superficial or even deep seated fault. How often I have heard from well meaning, respectable people: “You can’t trust the Scandinavians, they are immoral, they are treacherous;” when in fact they had no proof for their assertions, and simply sowed seeds of discord of which they must some day reap the harvest.

IX

THE JEW IN HIS OLD WORLD HOME

IT is said of a certain English scientist that he began a work on “Snakes in Ireland” by the sentence: “There are no snakes in Ireland”; and one could easily without seeming to be facetious begin this chapter by saying: “The Jew has no home.”

He is a man without a country, and without a king; he belongs to a nation which, scattered over the face of the earth has yet retained the chief elements of an ancient faith, although no centralized authority guards it. Inheriting the cultural influences of his past, he absorbs the culture of each race which harbours him for a season. Although driven in turn from each insecure habitation, he has not degenerated into a nomad, but begins the task of home and fortune making, wherever a more hospitable people affords a resting place for his weary feet.

In his ancient home in Palestine, in the very citadel of his faith,—Jerusalem, he is the greatest stranger, and people of alien beliefs have built their monuments on the sites of his grandest spiritual conquests, and over the tombs of his prophets and seers.

Weeping, he tears his garments and beats his head against a wall which is all that is left of the temple thrice rebuilt, thrice ruined, and now having upon its ancient foundations a mosque, with crescent crowned minaret, from whose height the Muezzin cries: “Allah ho Akbar,” a sound which vibrates against the ears of the Jew like the mocking of the prophets who seem to say: “I told you so.”

Among the Arabs, his kinsmen, he is a stranger; for although in speech, dress and bearing he is like them, in thought and feeling he is above them; yet the coarsest Mohammedan servant will pronounce the word “Yahudi,” with all the scorn of a superior and all the hatred of an enemy.

His features have not changed since the time when Egyptian artists drew with crude touch on their temple walls the story of the stranger’s coming, his slavery and his exodus.

Wherever you find him, among the Arabs of North Africa or among the Danes of Northern Germany, he still bears the marks of his race, with the flame of Sinai in his look and the fire of the Southland on his cheek.

In Africa he is most numerous in Morocco, where 300,000 souls struggle for daily bread and are hated according to their number; while in Egypt where once he was found in largest numbers, now only about 10,000 Jews live.

The whole number for Africa does not exceed half a million; in Asia he is 200,000 strong or weak, in America above 2,000,000, while Europe has given him room enough to grow into 7,000,000. Between 10,000,000 or 11,000,000 is about the whole number of Jews now in existence, with the city of New York as the largest Jewish centre in the world, having no less than 600,000 of the faithful.

To describe the Jews in their varied environments means to draw many pictures and yet one; for while they differ widely according to the degree of civilization by which they are surrounded, certain characteristics remain the same.

Everywhere the Jew becomes outwardly like his masters—but often remains unlike them in his spiritual life and in those deeper things which express themselves spontaneously and which are too well grounded in his nature to be wiped out entirely by the mere touch of the stranger.

Physically he is usually smaller and weaker, has brown or gray eyes and dark hair, although not seldom it is red and curly. Among the Europeans his head and neck are always large; but his face is the smallest.

There are a vivaciousness in his manner, a rather emphatic and constant gesticulation, and a certain something in his speech which always mark him, and mark him unmistakably, the Jew.

He quickly reciprocates both good and evil, and is regarded with apprehension because of his aggressiveness; for as both friend and foe he is intense. Where an inch of approach is granted he may want an ell, while where he hates he does not hate in moderation. His business shrewdness is proverbial, although it is not his native genius for the proverb current in the Orient: “It takes one Jew to cheat three Christians, it takes one Armenian to cheat ten Jews, it takes one Greek to cheat twenty Armenians,” while no more correct than such generalities are likely to be, proves the assertion that he is not the champion in the chief game of life.

He has had bad environment for the development of business honesty, yet I know of scarcely a community in the world, in which the Jew plays any part, where he would not have a strong representation, if a group of the most trustworthy citizens was called together for any purpose.

The world in which he lives and in which he trades, is the world which he reflects, and he has not always created the conditions which exist there.

To “Jew down,” which is a synonym for beating down in price, is as current in business where he is no factor, as where he is. In Italy it is an economic disease, and in Russia, in those regions closed to the Jewish tradesman, the native haggles with the priest about the price of a funeral or a baptism, with the cab driver over the fare, and even attempts to bargain on the railroad when he buys his ticket.

To generalize about the good or bad characteristics of the Jew is as difficult as it is to portray those of any race. When he judges himself he is either unjustly severe or profusely apologetic, for a people which has lived for so many centuries under abnormal conditions, cannot be known by the stranger, nor can it know itself.

At present the Jew is somewhere between Shakespeare’s Shylock and George Elliot’s Daniel Deronda; and more Shylock where the hate of the middle ages makes it impossible for him to grow into George Eliot’s ideal. He is most uncomfortably felt in those countries where he is in the transition period, when he is apt to be over-bearing and given to sensuous pleasure; even then he is not so grasping as Shylock although not so lovable as Daniel Deronda. He does not need much time to come to his full development. His genius quickly manifests itself, and while he is charged with superficiality, the fact that in all sciences there are accurate scholars of the Jewish race, disproves that accusation, although his emotional nature does not best fit him for the patient task of the investigator.

His neighbours are quickly conscious of his faults because he is not yet schooled in the art of suppressing them, and his virtues are often unrecognized because they shine the brightest in the inner circle, from which the neighbour is usually excluded by mutual consent.

In Northern Africa we find him to-day just as he was thirty-five or forty years ago when Sir Moses Montefiore tried to alleviate his inhuman treatment and his impoverished and miserable condition. The Moors without knowing the prophecy concerning the fate of Israel are actively engaged in fulfilling it with a cruel literalness. In every city and village the Jews have their separate quarters and their own judges.

They are not permitted to study the reading and writing of Arabic lest their eyes defile the sacred pages of the Koran; they are not allowed to ride a horse although they may ride a donkey; and they must walk barefooted before the mosques.

They are prohibited from going near a well when a Mussulman is drinking, and must wear black, a colour despised by the Moors.

The men are all ugly because of the abject fear on their faces; their eyes are always cast down and their walk is unsteady while the whole posture is expressive of the worst kind of slavery.

They may be beaten, kicked and spit upon at any time without being able to protect themselves or even having the spirit to do it.

The women are unusually handsome and some of the homes are splendidly furnished and are hospitably opened to the traveller. The same conditions existed in Algiers until it passed under the rule of France, when the Jews asserted their superiority and became landowners, manufacturers and business men, so that nearly half of the property in Algiers is said to be in their hands, for which they are again beginning to feel hatred and persecution.

The Egyptian Jews are found only in the two cities of Cairo and Alexandria; but they have followed the victorious arms of England and have entered the heart of Africa where in Khartum and the fabled Timbuctoo there are Jewish communities.

In Asia Minor the largest Jewish population outside of Jerusalem is in Smyrna; where there are over thirty thousand in the city and vicinity. These Jews, like those of Morocco, are descendants of Spanish fugitives and are considered, even by their enemies, honest and industrious, performing the commonest and hardest labour.

Jerusalem remains to this day the unhappiest city in the world for the Jew, who sees in it his glorious past and his present shame, and who must feel the pangs of persecution most in the city in which once he was master and lord.

Highly interesting is the story of the Jews in China. That they existed there, was known as early as the sixteenth century when the Jesuit, Ricci, found them in Khai Fung Fu, the old capital of Honan.

How they came to China is not definitely known, but according to Chinese history they came as far back as 58 B. C.

In 1848 they were found by some English missionaries, who reported their synagogues in ruins and the Jews unable to read the one scroll of the law which remained. At present there are only about twenty families left, and but a few years ago, a number of Jews came from the interior to Shanghai, to be taught Hebrew by the English Jews and to have the rite of circumcision performed.

The real Jewish world, and that which touches our own each day is in the eastern part of Europe; in Hungary, Poland, Russia and Roumania.

While most of the Jews in the south of Europe and Asia are the descendants of Spanish Jews, from whom they inherit a peculiar language and certain tendencies of worship and belief,—those of Eastern Europe are nearly all under the cultural influences of Germany, whose language they speak, in a more or less corrupt form. They left Germany because of the persecutions of the middle ages and settled among the Slavs, where they have lived for many centuries; never quite sure of an abiding place, and suffering ever recurring persecutions of varying degrees of intensity.

The Jews of Bohemia, whose spiritual centre was the Ghetto of the city of Prague, as well as the Jews of Hungary, exhibit certain liberal tendencies in their faith, and are midway between orthodox and reformed Judaism. They are generally classed among German Jews, while the Jews of Poland, Lithuania and Bessarabia, are classed with the Russian Jews, by far the largest number, and the one great source of Jewish immigration to this country.

The cause of this immigration is found in the persecutions, not new in the history of Israel, but like death, always holding a new terror.

In Russia the horrors of these persecutions are shared by other non-Russians, yet there is in the Jewish persecutions an element of hatred and contempt which makes them exceptionally galling, and affects not only the Jews’ civic, social and economic condition but their self-respect also. They are classed with the Kalmuks, the Samoyedes, the Kirghese and other aboriginal tribes of low mental capacity and still lower standards of civilization; while not sharing with them their legal status, being as Jews, regarded as outlaws, for whom special repressive legislation is necessary.

Above all else, these laws tend to keep them within the pale, which pale is the old kingdom of Poland, and the western provinces originally belonging to Poland. On this territory which is by far the smaller portion of European Russia, over 5,000,000 Jews are virtually imprisoned, entrance into the larger Russia being permitted only to:

1. Merchants of the first class, who have to pay an annual tax of nearly $500.

2. Professional men who have university diplomas. As, however, of the entire number of pupils admitted to the higher schools only from five to ten per cent. are permitted to be Jews, this class is very small.

3. Old soldiers who have served twenty-five years in the army.

4. Students of higher education.

5. Apothecaries, dentists, surgeons and midwives.

6. Skilled artisans, who have no legal residence outside the pale but who may follow their vocation anywhere, provided they earn their living by their trade, and that they are members of their trade guilds; a privilege rarely granted to Jews.

Worst of all is the element of uncertainty as to the interpretation and operation of the laws, which are now lax, now severe, but always means of extortion and a recognized avenue of income for numerous officials.

The greatest hardship suffered comes from the fact that in the villages, only those residents who were there prior to a certain date, are permitted to remain; while the vast majority is herded together in the city Ghettos, which offer but a scant living to the normal population.

The Jewish part of the city, the Ghetto, is invariably sunk in mud or dust, according as there is rain or sunshine, and is the picture of melancholia. Cadaverous men in long, black, greasy cloaks, countless children and women, who alone carry sunshine; for in the Jewish woman’s heart the hope of giving birth to the Messiah is not yet dead.

All of these people are narrow chested, with the melancholy eyes deep set; they have long bodies and short limbs with which they make ambling strides like the camel in the desert.

It is a haggling, bargaining, pushing, crowding, seething mass; ugly in its environment, hard for the stranger to love, cowed by fear, unmanned by persecution; a thing to jeer at, to ridicule, to plunder and to kill.

This is no apology for the Jew. He carries the faults and the sins of ages; not only his own, but those of his persecutors also. He is himself the keenest critic of racial faults, and once awakened to them hates them and his race most unmercifully. His people are greedy, greasy, and pushing, or doggedly humble; as might be expected of hunted human beings, who for 2,000 years have known no peace, wherever the cross overshadowed them. They could escape torment in a moment by having a few drops of holy water sprinkled over them, for baptism opens to all, the door of opportunity. Whatever else may have died, the ancient fire is not dead in them, and they prefer to suffer, to die, if need be, rather than to enter a so-called Christian church through the door of expediency. Sometimes that door has to be entered, but the Jews who enter it are still Jews, and often they suffer agonies of mind and of spirit, to which persecution might be preferable.

A friend of mine in Moscow, a manufacturer of tobacco, who had lived in that city for thirty years, received sudden notice to dispose of his business and leave the city. He was prosperous, his children were going to school, they knew no home but Moscow, and the town to which they were to go was in the crowded Jewish pale which he had left as a child.

He and his family were baptized, he became a full-fledged Russian, with all the rights of citizenship, and his business went on as usual.

Soon afterwards, however, he became depressed, the depression increasing each time that he had to take part in religious ceremonies which were hateful to him, and it was not long before he grew violently insane.

I have no doubt that as soon as the Jewish disabilities are removed, most of those who have entered the Greek Church will return to the faith of their fathers which they have never really left.

It is said in Moscow of a certain Jew, that after the priest had instructed him in the catechism, he asked: “Now what do you believe?” and he replied: “I believe that now I shall not have to leave Moscow.”

Much more than this, these so-called converted Jews do not and cannot believe.

Most of them prefer to live in dirty little hovels, hungry and wretched, to brood over the ancient lore, the Psalms of David, the prophets’ messages from God, the law of Moses and the sayings of the sages. Day and night, while hunger gnaws and poverty oppresses, they look to Jehovah and fast and mourn and believe.

Minsk, Wilna, Kovno, and Warsaw contain Jewries in which from 80,000 to 200,000 souls are living—no one knows how; two-thirds by manual labour, the commonest and the coarsest, for the lowest wage. To-morrow’s bread is always an unknown quantity, and these people do “Walk by faith and not by sight.” No labour is too heavy or too dirty; and the mournful Jewish face will look out at you from the pit of a mine, from under a burden of wood or water, from the margin of the river as boats are unloaded, or from the seat of a miserable cab, whose horse and driver are alike most pitiable. Because of their weak bodies they are not regarded as good labourers, except at tailoring.

Locked in the city, hampered in their movements by unreasonable laws, groaning under taxes too heavy to be borne, the government, labour, religion—life itself a burden, they are living Egypt over again, waiting and praying for their deliverance. Why are they persecuted? Can any one answer that question? Has any one yet found the reason for blind hate, that blindest of all,—the hate of race? They are hated because they are supposed to be rich; yet seventy-five per cent. of them are poorer than Chinese coolies.

They are hated because they have strange customs, because they hold themselves, in a large measure, aloof from the common life. How can they be anything but strangers to the adherents of a religion who choose a holy day, the day of resurrection, to kill them? Easter time is almost invariably the time of persecution. How can they be other than strangers to a church, the ringing of whose bells marks the carnage of hundreds of thousands—murdered for the glory of Jesus—a Jew.

How can they be anything but strangers to a government whose officials will step among the mobs to encourage them, shouting: “Steady boys, keep it up.”

They are hated by the government because they are supposed to be revolutionists. If only they were! The masses of the Jews are so cowed by fear that they are unmanned. They do not know the use of a weapon. Here and there a Jew, alert and keen, sees his misery and is brave enough to defend himself. Many of them advocate Socialism; it attracts them because it knows no race, because it preaches a certain kind of peace, because it is a brotherhood. The Jew does not find in the orthodox church the meek and lowly Nazarene, because the Messiah whom the church preaches, is masked behind church millinery; because the representative of the lowly Nazarene sits upon the throne of the haughtiest autocrat, and because the cross is an ornament and not an element in the salvation of men.

The Jew in Russia is persecuted because he is supposed to use the blood of Gentile children for his passover. This false accusation has followed him through the years, in spite of the fact that those who promulgated it knew that it was false. The shedding of human blood was never one of Israel’s crimes, and killing is a desire which the Jew lost long ago, having never been a master in this art.

ISRAELITES INDEED.

The root of the persecution of the Russian Jew is found in his superior
ability to cope with the difficulties of existence, in his thrift and
shrewdness which know no bounds.
ISRAELITES INDEED.
The root of the persecution of the Russian Jew is found in his superior ability to cope with the difficulties of existence, in his thrift and shrewdness which know no bounds.

Frankly, the root of this persecution of the Jews is found in their superior ability to cope with the difficulties of existence in Russia, in their thrift and shrewdness which know no bounds and which have almost crushed in them their spiritual longings, making them a byword among the nations.

But a new inspiration has come to the Jews of Eastern Europe through the Zionistic movement; a revival of Jewish nationalism, a desire to win back the lost Palestine,—the Fatherland of their spiritual sires.

The way back to Palestine is a difficult one and neither their Maccabean spirit nor the wealth they accumulate may avail them as a nation, to reach their goal. But the way there is beautiful, the dream is glorious and the spiritual and physical miracles wrought among the wealthiest and the poorest of them are remarkable. A new literature and a new psalmody are being born, a new Maccabean spirit is filling the emaciated bodies of these sons of Israel, and one of them sings and he but one of thousands:

“Arise, and shine, Jerusalem,
In costly jewelled diadem;
Put off thy ash strewn garb of gray,
In glorious dress, thyself array.
“Jehovah made thy people free;
Now that they long for liberty.
At end is all thy suffering night,
Jerusalem, send forth thy light.
“A note of ancient psalmody
Fills heaven and earth with melody;
A sacrifice of grateful praise
From altars old, we now upraise,
“And God looks pleased from glory down,
His smile oh! Israel is thy crown.
Put off thy ashen garb of gray,
Jerusalem, see thy glorious day.”

But for a long time to come, this Jerusalem will have to be New York, and their Palestine, America.

One can but hope that the Jew will so live and act, as to become one with the highest ideals of his new country, and so unwrap himself from ancient faults that in the truest sense, Jerusalem will be the “Bride adorned for her bridegroom,” and the city come down from heaven among men, in whose midst the reign of God will be an acknowledged fact.

X

THE NEW EXODUS

IN a little studio on the West side of New York, a Jewish sculptor modelled the clay for a medal upon which he was to engrave for grateful Israel, the memorial of its settlement in America two and a half centuries ago. The face of the medal bore the veiled form of Justice, casting the evil spirit of Intolerance from his throne and placing upon it the Goddess of Liberty, who is bestowing on all alike the rich gifts in her keeping. On the reverse side of the medal, Victory is engraving the date 1655, the year of the landing of the Jewish forefathers. The Victory modelled by this Jewish genius is not the triumphant, over-bearing, conquering spirit; but in her noble form are embodied graciousness, determination and a sincere gratitude.

At the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the landing of the Jews in America, held in Carnegie Hall on Thanksgiving day, November 30, 1905, these feelings were given utterance in various ways by various persons; but by none more truly than by the Rev. Dr. Joseph Silverman, in his opening prayer. “We thank Thee for America, this haven of refuge for the oppressed of the world. We thank Thee for the blessings of a permanent home in this country, its opportunities for development of life and advancement of mind and heart, for its independence and unity, its free institutions, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We reverently bow before Thy decree, which has taught us to find enduring peace and security in the sure foundation of this blessed land.”

The Jewish pioneers were cultured and far travelled men, who came from Portugal, Holland and England and their provinces. They were imbued by the adventurous spirit of the people whom they had left, in order to seek the undiscovered paths of the sea which led to fabled wealth.

It is no wonder if, at that early period when Jewish persecutions were at their height and the Jewish name under the darkest cloud, they had difficulty in gaining free entrance to their desired haven, and that the charter which was granted them was given grudgingly. It reads thus:

“26th of April, 1655.

“We would have liked to agree to your wishes and request that the new territories should not be further invaded by people of the Jewish race, for we foresee from such immigration the same difficulties which you fear, but after having further weighed and considered the matter, we observe that it would be unreasonable and unfair, especially because of the considerable loss sustained by the Jews in the taking of Brazil, and also because of the large amount of capital which they have invested in the shares of this company.[1] After many consultations we have decided and resolved upon a certain petition made by said Portuguese Jews, that they shall have permission to sail to and trade in New Netherlands and to live and remain there, provided the poor among them shall not become a burden to the company or the community, but be supported by their own nation. You will govern yourself accordingly.”

These Jews, true to their religious instincts, built synagogues wherever they settled and were called Sephardic Congregations. Until the beginning of the nineteenth century, they were the dominating religious and cultural type, and while yet retaining certain racial characteristics, they blended into the national life, having no small share in its development.

With the coming to this country of the German peasantry, there was brought from the villages and towns a not inconsiderable number of Jews, who scattered through the North and South upon all the highways of commerce, and who finally became the second strata of the Jewish life in America. At first, they were more or less amalgamated with the Portuguese Jews, but as their numbers grew overwhelmingly great, they developed their religious and social life after their own traditions and were distinguished from their Sephardic brethren by the generic name “Ashkenazim” (Germans).

Within this group developed the German Reform movement, which has in greater or less degree attracted all the Germanic Jews, and from which the merely traditional and ritualistic element has quite disappeared; so that at the present time it is not far removed from Unitarianism in faith and practice. Later, when the population of the Eastern portion of Europe found its way across the sea, under the impulse of great nationalistic movements in Austria, Hungary and Poland, a new factor was introduced into the Jewish communities, which brought with it Rabbinistic lore and faithfulness to the traditions of the Elders, and this factor tended to strengthen the Jewish consciousness. In after years a good portion of this group attached itself to the Reform movement and cannot be differentiated from the Germanic group; while the residue has become the link between it and the overwhelmingly large mass of Russian Jews, which was to come and which now forms the greatest proportion of the Jewish population.

This Russian Jewish group is not easily analyzed; it is neither heterogeneous nor homogeneous; it is Polish, Roumanian, Lithuanian, Bessarabian and Galician. It is steeped in traditionalism, overburdened by ritualistic laws, loaded by the fetters of Rabbinism, held under the spell of Kabalism and Wonder Rabbis, swayed now by this teacher and now by that one. It has no common centre or common aim, and has not analyzed itself nor its environment. Strongly individualistic, its members are united to one another and to the other groups, only by their common misfortune, an indefinable racial consciousness; intellectually and culturally, far below the other groups, it bears the marks of oppression and of the oppressor in its thought and in its action. Nevertheless, it is destined to be the determining influence in the future of Judaism in America, and as such, deserves special study and consideration.

The Jewish population may be divided into four large groups, some of which are subdivided. I. The Sephardic or Spanish-Portuguese Jews, who have not retained their native speech, but who have preserved certain peculiarities in their worship, and distinctive ritualistic forms which are dignified and stately. The Hebrew language which they use in their service is pronounced in a peculiar way and in better harmony with the spirit of the language than one hears elsewhere. They are the real aristocracy among the Jews; rarely poor, with much of old time Spanish pride remaining in their bearing and expressed in their attitude towards the other Jewish groups. They are centred almost entirely in the Eastern cities, where they are found in the upper world of finance and in business and professional life.[2] The second group, the “Ashkenazim” or German Jews, has most quickly adjusted itself to the life in America and has developed what might be called an American Judaism, in which liberal tendencies have prevailed and have played havoc with the traditions of the past, very often at the expense of the spirit of Judaism. Some of these congregations have made Sunday the Sabbath of their week, and the service is conducted in the English language with the Hebrew almost entirely eliminated. Out of this group have come most of the prominent Jews in the United States, and in nearly every community of any size we find German Jews, engaged in reputable business, most often owning dry goods or clothing stores.[3]

The third group is composed of Austrian and Hungarian Jews many of whom have remained orthodox without being slavishly attached to Rabbinism; while their congregations are usually upon what is called the “Status Quo” basis, which is neither extremely orthodox nor reformed, and consequently is sterile.

They are apt to be more clannish than the German Jews, grouping themselves into centres according to the districts from which they come, strongly retaining the characteristics of the races among which they lived so long, and bringing with them many of the antagonisms engendered in that conglomerate of nationalities, the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. This is especially true of the Hungarian Jews who have become convivial, like the Magyars, and are not over fond of work. The coffee houses of “Little Hungary” in New York, draw their revenue largely from these Jews, to whom life without the coffee house would not seem worth the living, and for whom each day must hold its pause for a friendly game of cards or billiards, and a pull at a long and strong black cigar. Among them are shrewd traders, pawn-brokers and a very small proportion of peddlers; although the occupation of peddler entails a position not agreeable to their proud spirits. In a larger degree than the other groups mentioned, they are engaged in mechanical labour, being wood and metal workers, and makers of artificial flowers and passementerie. In these trades they have attained real proficiency. They are not so well distributed as the German Jews, and are found largely in New York with a slowly increasing number in Chicago and St. Louis. They have brought with them many of the looser ways of such cities as Vienna and Budapest; therefore they are less thrifty than the Russian Jews and less intelligent than those from Germany. Their Judaism is apt to sit very lightly upon them, as they have neither the spiritual vision of the first group, nor the ethical conception of religion which the second group possesses. Racially they are also less conscious of Judaism, and easily intermarry with Gentiles or lose themselves among them where their physique does not betray them. A Hungarian Jew usually prefers to be called a Magyar; yet I know of many instances where that fact was stoutly denied, though undoubtedly the Magyar spirit was grafted upon Semitic stock.

The last and largest group, the Russian Jews, the youngest army of the immigrants, is ultra orthodox, yet ultra radical; chained to the past, and yet utterly severed from it; with religion permeating every act of life, or going to the other extreme, and having “none of it”; traders by instinct, and yet among the hardest manual labourers of our great cities. A complex mass in which great things are yearning to express themselves, a brooding mass which does not know itself and does not lightly disclose itself to the outsider.

More broken into individualistic groups than the Austrians and Hungarians, they have the strongest racial consciousness, and perhaps are also the depository of the greatest Jewish genius. The synagogue is the centre of each provincial or village group gathered in some Ghetto and, being subject to no ecclesiastical law outside of itself, is thoroughly Congregational. These synagogues vary in size and untidiness as the services vary in monotony and disorder. Each man prays or chants as fast or as slowly, as high or as low, as he pleases. Naturally, the effect is not harmonious, neither is there much harmony in the administration of ecclesiastical affairs.

Rabbi, Cantor and Shochet (the official slaughterer) are usually out with each other and with various members of the congregation, and quarrels during service are not unknown. While the worship seems fervent, it is often spiritless, and only a small portion of the Russian Jewish population works seriously at the business of its organized religious life. The younger generation has much unsatisfied longing for the real spiritual life, and there are a few Jewish Endeavour Societies entirely apart from the synagogues, in which this spirit expresses itself. A still larger number of the young people have slowly but surely drifted into complete antagonism to the faith of their fathers, and here lies the great conflict as well as the great problem.

Nothing in the whole story of immigration is so pathetic as this growing breach between the old and the new; this ever widening gulf which is not being bridged.

The Ethical Culture Society has a hold, although not a very vital one, upon a small number; and here and there one or the other of the young people drifts into a Christian church, but this makes no serious impression upon the mass.

Zionism has become the strong rallying point for many of them, and has gathered into its various lodges much of the radical element, which is coming back to the law and the prophets by the way of an awakened consciousness.

The Russian Jews are the busiest of our alien population, and although at first among the poorest, a respectable middle class is growing up, and is marching towards wealth, if not as yet enrolled among the millionaires.

Of the total of 600,000 Jews in New York City, nearly 100,000 are engaged in various branches of the clothing industry, and in mechanical and manufacturing pursuits. This is a remarkable showing for people who nearly all had to adjust themselves to manual labour for which they were not physically fitted, and which they had no opportunity to perform in Russia.

In the trades which they have entered they usually maintain a satisfactory wage, and cannot be regarded as a serious economic menace. If they remain crowded in the Ghettos of the Eastern cities, it is due, not so much to their gregarious habits and to the needs springing from their religious observances, as it is due to the fact that the trades in which they find readiest employment are here concentrated, and the wages most satisfying. The needle above all else is to blame for the congestion of the Ghetto, and a great transformation must come over Israel both physically and mentally, before the needle will be exchanged for the plow.

XI

IN THE GHETTOS OF NEW YORK

AT last we are free, although still upon Uncle Sam’s ferry boat, which carries those of us who have passed muster, to the Battery, the gateway into the gigantic city and the vast country which lies beyond where, “sans ceremonie,” we are landed.

Boarding house “Runners” call out the names of their hostelries, express men entreat us to entrust to them our belongings, the voice of the banana peddler is heard in the land, and through the babel of sounds there arise the joyous shrieks of those who welcome their dear ones.

Over in Hoboken, where the cool-blooded Anglo-Saxon awaits his wife, who “toiled not neither did she spin” during her year abroad,—the joy remains unexpressed. She may say to him: “Hello, old man!” and he will reply: “How are you, old girl?” and that is all, so far as the public knows. But here on the Battery, where Jacob meets his Leah, for whom he has toiled and suffered these five years, for whose sake he ate hard rye bread and onions that he might save money to bring her to him;—when Jacob meets his Leah, there are warm embraces and kisses through the tears. Here, men embrace and kiss each other, and children are held up to the father’s gaze,—fathers who left them as infants and now see them grown.

Half a dozen stalwart men and women will almost crush a little wrinkled “Mutterleben,” their mother, coming to them for the sunset of her life, which is to be bright and beautiful after many dark mornings and cloudy noondays.

I attached myself to a young Russian Jew of about my own age, who had no relatives waiting for him, but who had the address of his parents’ friends. They had come here a few years before, and now served as the clearing house for that particular district in Russia, of which their native town was the centre.

We went up Broadway, and after plunging into the whirlpool of its traffic, emerged safe at the City Hall, crossed the Bowery and were at the edge of the great Ghetto, the heart of the largest Jewish community in the world. It numbers now nearly 700,000 souls, scattered through all parts of Greater New York, and massed in four centres, commonly called Ghettos; of which the one through which we are passing is the “Great Original” one. It is less dirty, less suspiciously fragrant than the Ghetto which my comrade has left, and in spite of squalor and visible signs of poverty, a certain air of joyousness pervades its life which is lacking in the old home. The hurdy gurdy grinder lures nimble footed children from block to block, like the “Pied Piper of Hamelin,” and they are happier and more graceful than the much be-starched children of the rich who take lessons in dancing and in conventional deportment.

The sidewalks and driveways are packed by humanity, most of it children, for the Abrahamitic promise that his “seed shall increase like the sands of the sea” has not yet departed from Israel—only the illustration is not quite complete, for while the Ghetto children are as numerous as the sands (I counted almost two thousand in one block), they are not nearly so clean.

The language of the Ghetto is Yiddish, a mixture of German, Hebrew, and Russian; but with enough English mixed with it to make the immigrant halt before such words as “gemovet,” “gejumpt,” “getrusted,” which sooner or later will become part of his own vocabulary.

Street signs are written in Hebrew letters, and the passer-by is invited by them to drink a glass of soda for a cent, to buy two “pananas” for the same sum, to purchase a prayer-mantle or “kosher” meat, to enter a beer saloon or a synagogue. Many of these signs are translated into English, and Rabbi Levinson on Cannon Street has in large English letters, “Performer of Matrimony;” in the same house one finds “wedding dresses for hire,” and can have his “picture photographed,” and also may buy “furnitings for pedrooms and barlours.”

THE GHETTO OF THE NEW WORLD.

East of the Bowery in New York City is the heart of the largest Jewish
community in the world. Sidewalks, street signs, language, all indicate
the process of development.
THE GHETTO OF THE NEW WORLD.
East of the Bowery in New York City is the heart of the largest Jewish community in the world. Sidewalks, street signs, language, all indicate the process of development.

Everything is for sale on the street, from pickled cucumbers to feather beds, and almost all the work done in this Ghetto is done by Jewish workmen. There are Jewish plumbers, locksmiths, masons, and of course tailors; and work and trade are the watchwords of the Ghetto, where, in all my wanderings through it, I have not seen that genus Americanum, the corner loafer.

The prevailing type of dwelling, even after tenement-house legislation, is much too crowded and too dirty. The New York Ghetto looks remarkably decent from the outside, but pharisaic landlords have beautified the “outside of the cup and platter,” while within, the house is poorly prepared for human habitation. A good example is the house into which I lead my friend. It is an old fashioned front and rear tenement with fifty families as residents, and on climbing the stairway to the fifth story to which our address directs, our nostrils are greeted by a fragrance which, compared with the well remembered smells of the steerage, is like unto the odours of Araby the blest.

We come into the kitchen, where the family of nine is just at dinner; two of the number, a husband and wife, are regular boarders. I doubt whether anywhere else, under similar circumstances, we would have received so genuinely hearty a welcome, in spite of the fact that we were practically strangers to them, and that I had no claim whatever upon their hospitality.

One of the children has already been dispatched to the nearest store to buy additional dainties, and room is made at the already crowded table for two very hungry adults.

My Russian friend, amazed as he was at the turmoil of the streets and the height of the buildings, is still more awed by the sight of such abundant and wholesome food, to which he may help himself without stint. There are large sweet potatoes which taste better than cake, and are permeated by the delicate flavour of nuts; they are a greater contrast to the small, gnarly, scant portion of potatoes which it has been his lot to eat, than any forty story sky scraper can be to the tumble-down shanty in which his father kept store. Meat,—a huge piece of meat, on his plate,—and in the memory of his palate, only the soft end of a soup bone, as a special delicacy. What a contrast!

“Last, but not least,” the pie, that apple pie, of which he had a whole one for himself and knew not how to attack it; until finally, following good precedent, he took it into his trembling hands and let his joyous face disappear in its juicy depths. After the dinner, he was catechized, all the inhabitants of the far away town were inquired after, and the record of the living and the dead told to the news hungry hearers.

What a marvellous group this is! and typical of thousands. The father is a cloak presser. He is a small, cadaverous looking man of very gentle mien, who knows not much beyond the fact that to-morrow the whistle will blow, and that he will be on the fifteenth floor of a great cloak factory, “doing his allotted task,” (God willing). The enemies that await him are many; the red-headed Irish “Forelady,” who looks hard after the creases in the cloaks, and who in turn, is suspected by him of all the evils in the catalogue of sin; the cloak designer, a Viennese Jew, who hates all Jews, especially Russian Jews, and more especially this particular one with whom, after the fashion of the Viennese, he quarrels for pastime. His fellow cloak presser, whose name was Elijah and who now calls himself Jack, is an ardent Socialist, who “pesters” my host by his economic theories which are obnoxious to him in the extreme. “I yoost haf to led him dalk,” is the refrain of my host’s complaint. Our hostess is corpulent and somewhat untidy; her horizon is even more limited than that of her husband. She, too, works; she is a skillful operator, and from 8 A. M. until 6 P. M. she hears nothing but the whirr of the machine. She does not even have an enemy to vary the monotony by her Socialistic doctrines. The oldest daughter is called Blanche, although she was named Rebecca; she too works, and has worked for several years, albeit she is not past sixteen. She embroiders in a fashionable dressmaking establishment on Broadway, and likes her place; she sees fine ladies and handles fine stuffs, and, “above all,” she says to me in good English, “I don’t have to associate with Russian Jews.” She reads good books,—fiction, biography, history—everything. The two on her shelf that evening, were “Ivanhoe,” and “The Life of Florence Nightingale.” Other children are growing up and going to work soon; so the family is on the up grade, in spite of the fact that work is not always steady, that the wife’s parents who live with them are old and feeble, that the youngest child is threatened by blindness, and that they have paid much money to quack doctors who advertise and to those who do not. It was pathetic in the extreme to see this family crowd together to make room for us for the night. My friend slept on a sofa, the ribs of which protruded like those of Pharaoh’s lean kine, and I slept soundly on the smoother surface of the floor.

The next day brought to us the momentous task of going out to find work, and before the whistle blew for the night’s rest, my friend was part of a sewing machine, while I being stronger, was assigned to pressing cloaks. My fellow cloak presser told a piteous story of his wife and four children on the other side, who had been almost heart-broken because he had been here two years and been kept by “hard luck” from sending for them. I worked by his side for a day, receiving my first lessons in cloak-pressing from him, and the last letter from his wife was so pathetic, that it drew tears from my eyes and money from my pocketbook towards those tickets. When the day’s work was over, and the possibility of soon seeing his family was almost realized, he said as we parted, “I shall sleep happily to-night;” and so did I, in spite of heat and sore muscles.

Rarely do these clothes pressers rise to a higher place in their trade, although occasionally by strict economy and much hard labour, one may own a shop and “sweat” the “greener” as he has “been sweated.”

In my wanderings through the Ghetto I dropped into a pawnshop on Avenue C one day, and after I made some purchases the proprietor grew friendly and introduced me to his family. He is the happy father of seven sons, all of them “smart as a whip,” and all of them doing well. The youngest one, Charles T., the smartest, is still in school and, like all the Yiddish boys, at the head of his class. Charles T. knows everything, from Marquis of Queensberry rules to the schedule of lectures at the Educational Alliance building. “What are you going to be, Charles?” I asked. “A business man like my father;” and the keen look in his big eyes, the determination of his whole frame and face, showed that he would succeed even better than his father, who is beginning to think of “being at ease in Zion,” and retiring from business. Charles T.’s father began life by buying rags on Houston Street; his sons will sell bonds on Wall Street.

The Ghetto is not all barter and manual labour, for there are many synagogues in which prayers are said every day; although only a few of these synagogues are anything more than halls or large rooms in tenement houses, sometimes above or below a drinking-place and in many instances in ball rooms, which on Saturdays and holy days put off their unholy garb.

If all the population of the Ghetto attended to its religious duties, these one hundred synagogues would have to be increased to a thousand; but on Saturdays many have to work, and increasingly many wish to work, so that not twenty per cent. of the Ghetto population attend religious services. However, on the great feast days, New Year’s day and the day of Atonement, everybody goes; or as Charles T.’s father would say: “I go to the synagogue twice a year and pay my dues, and then I’ll not have a ---- thing to do with them for another year.” Charles T.’s father is a politician.

Most of the Ghetto rabbis are, like Mr. Levinson, “Performers of Matrimony” and not much else; they are professionally pious and not deeply religious; they have no vision and measure a man’s religion by his observances of fasts and feasts; they are ignorant of all literature except the Talmud, that treasure house of Jewish thought and prison-house of Jewish souls. They are as superstitious as their constituency, and often less honest, but in not a few cases truly devout and charitable. There is no ecclesiastical control over these rabbis, and they are in some cases self-made men in the worst sense of the word, while their influence upon the ethical life of the Ghetto is almost “nil.” They are the Jews’ law court and judges in matters which pertain to ritualistic questions, but they are almost nothing to them in life. There is very little preaching, less pastoral visitation, and much useless bending of the back over musty books full of “dry bones” of rabbinical lore.

The one great Jewish intellectual and ethical centre of the Ghetto is the Educational Alliance building, with its various scattered branches; it is everything which a Young Men’s Christian Association is to a Gentile community, only more, inasmuch as it ministers to all, from childhood to old age. Israel’s intellectual hunger is as great as its proverbial greed for wealth, and this gigantic building, covering a block and containing forty-three classrooms, is entirely inadequate to meet the demand. The main entrance is always in a state of siege, and two policemen are stationed there to maintain order and keep the crowding people in line. I visited it on a hot Sunday afternoon in July, and I found the large, well-stocked reading-room uncomfortably filled by young men. The roof-garden is a breathing-place for thousands, and is always crowded by children, who are supervised in their play and who enjoy it eagerly.

The annual report reads like a fairy tale. Many of the lectures and entertainments have to be given a number of times to give all an opportunity to hear and to see, and some of the most difficult subjects discussed find the most numerous and enthusiastic hearers. Baths, sewing and cooking schools, are maintained, and to give even a list of all the agencies employed to lift this population would exhaust my space. There has been marked improvement among its constituency mentally and ethically, and the redemption of New York from Tammany was in no small measure due to the faithful work done by this and other similar centres, not the least among them being the University Settlement.

There are several Christian churches in this district, but what their influence upon the newcomer is I could not determine. In the main it may be said that the churches do not concern themselves greatly regarding this problem around them, although there are a few notable exceptions.

The following letter does not give one a hopeful view of the situation. The gentleman to whom this letter was written, Mr. User Marcus, was actively engaged in the kind of politics in which the churches ought to have an interest. He organized a club, and through one of its members secured a room in the Woods Memorial Church on Avenue A. After the first meeting Mr. Marcus received the following letter:

New York, Nov. 1, 1901.

Mr. User Marcus, 157 Second Ave., City.

Dear Sir—Word has just come to me that your club will mainly consist of Jews, also that you are acting independently of the club already formed. Now you must know that the young men who have the club are the men of our church, and therefore it would not be right to oust them for strangers, and especially Jews. The men are quite worked up about it, and came to see me about it the other night, and this is my decision: that you get another place of meeting other than ours. I have issued orders that you cannot meet again. And another thing: I told you strictly that you must be out by 10 P. M., which you were not, as you kept the room open until eleven o’clock. All these things have determined me on my course, and I hope that you will not take it in a wrong spirit, as I am acting simply for the best interests of my church, and feel that this is the best way for all concerned.

It seems to me that, being Jews, you would scorn to accept any favours from Christians. I should certainly be pretty far gone before I should ask or even accept a favour at the hand of a Jew, knowing as I do the feeling which exists between them and the people of our religion.

Yours respectfully,

The Jew suspects every convert and suspects and hates the missionary. His own religious faith may have little hold upon him, but he is hostile to the attempt to proselyte him and his brethren. He knows Christianity from its worst side, and he does not always see it in these missions from its best side, for all religious work which bends its effort towards making a big annual report must be superficial if not dishonest, and the temptation to make converts is very great, even if the methods employed are above suspicion.

The work of the Jewish Mission in the Ghetto ought to be the interpretation of the spirit of Christianity, so that it might remove suspicion and prejudice, and not increase them. Making converts in that mechanical way used in the revival service of the past is as obnoxious to the sensible Christian as it is to the sensitive Jew; while the coddling of the convert and his exhibition as an example do more harm than good. A true interpretation of Jesus by Christian people in the churches and out of them, a touch of kindness here and there without a thought of definite results, the treating of the Jew as a man and not as a special species, would do more to reach the Jewish soul than any organized missionary effort with which I am acquainted.

The two great social factors of the Ghetto are the Yiddish newspapers and the theatre, each of them in some degree entering into the life of every dweller in the Ghetto, as indeed each of them is a mixture of good and ill; a battle-field of past ideals and modern aspirations. The paper most in evidence on the street is the Jewish Vorwaerts, the Social Democratic organ; if all its readers were adherents of this political faith, its strength would be enormous. A careful examination of this subject shows that there are about three thousand Social Democrats in the Ghetto, and that three hundred of that number are of the extreme type. The politics of the Ghetto used to be very uniform; they were Democratic; years ago a Jewish Republican was a curiosity, to-day he is a very important minority. Tammany had a very strong hold upon this district, and even to-day the Tammany district leader is its political saint.

To “fix and be fixed” used to be considered no crime, and is still winked at with both eyes, although every time that Tammany is defeated, the Ghetto has a few less crooked windings. To evade the law is a vice brought from the lawlessness of Russia, and the political tutelage of the East side of New York has not improved the situation. The Hearst influence is felt here in a remarkable degree, and the New York Evening Journal is a great power for both good and ill.

The Jewish immigrant receives his first training for citizenship in one of the lodges or societies of which there are legions. Here he becomes conscious of himself; and above all, he can talk, and unlock the flood-gates of unexpressed emotion.

I attended a “meetunk” as it is called, of a “Sick and Benefit Society,” and I think it is typical of all of them. The “meetunk” was held on Lewis Street, in a hall on the top story of a rather old and rickety building. Underneath the lodge room is a dance hall, beneath that a synagogue, and a saloon occupies the basement. The occasion was a public installation of officers, and the ladies were invited. To one who has seen these people in their old environment, the change seems miraculous. The men wore the very best and cleanest clothing, and the women were obtrusively stylish.

All the red tape of the American lodge was observed in this society, in which most of the members knew nothing of parliamentary law and had never taken part in debate. Unfortunately for the decorum of the ladies, there was a wedding ball in the room below, and the Polish mazurka kept their feet in motion and did not seal their lips. The President used the gavel freely, and, in spite of stamping feet and wild-measured music, the installation services were carried out. The personnel of this society is of some interest; its eighty members are drawn almost entirely from one district in the old country; with the exception of three or four men, they are all engaged in manual labour. The retiring President is a graduate of a gymnasium, speaks four languages poorly and English very well, is a Republican, is thoroughly Americanized, and, although not active in politics, is an influence for good in their affairs. He neither smokes nor drinks, and manages to save money from his meagre wages. The newly installed President is a wood-turner by trade, earns eighteen dollars a week, is also a Republican, not active in politics, but a conscientious citizen. The newly elected Vice-President is a cloak-presser, a strong Social Democrat, and would die for his political faith. He belongs to the Social Labour wing, and he hates the Social Democratic wing with a desperate hatred; he is a good speaker, honest though fanatical, and one who might be made to see the weakness of his political creed. The Secretary is a Polish Jew, a dealer in plumbers’ supplies, a Democrat not of the Tammany order, a stereotyped Anti-Imperialist and Free-trader, speaks English fluently although only ten years in this country, and is on the road to Harlem—that is, to wealth. The Treasurer is a Russian Jew, an “aprator,” earns eight dollars a week, speaks English very well, has been six years in the country but is not yet a citizen; he will be a Social Democrat first, and a Republican when he has a bank account. Of the eighty men present, fifteen were Republicans, twenty were Democrats, two were Socialists, and the rest were not yet citizens.

Most of them spoke English fairly well, and some could understand a few words although only four months in this country. Of the married women the fewest could speak English, but the young girls knew it well enough—slang, vaudeville songs, and all.

After the installation services there was much useless discussion (under the “good of the order”) upon minor points, so typical of such meetings outside the Ghetto. Characteristic of the “meetunk” was the fact that the leaders were all members of other lodges. Of the women who spoke for “the good of the order,” a “Daughter of Rebekah,” the wife of the President, made a capital speech. The “meetunk” adjourned for a banquet served in the basement, where a Hungarian stew and beer cheered and filled but did not inebriate or cause indigestion. National songs were rendered by the young people as the spirit moved them, and after the banquet the whole “meetunk” invited itself to the wedding ball up-stairs, where in the polka and mazurka they drove time away wildly, and prepared themselves badly for the next day’s hard labour.

In the Ghetto, Friday, the day before the Sabbath, is a day of agitation, of scrubbing, cooking, baking, and merchandizing; Saturday is the day of meditation, when the faces are solemn and the step is slow, and although many must work, there is a perceptible stillness everywhere. With shuffling step and pious mien the rabbis and members go to the synagogue, and with much wailing and lamentation praise and bless Jehovah.

The second generation of the immigrant Jew has lost its adherence to the solemn observance of the day of rest; eats and drinks whenever and wherever opportunity offers, and smokes cigars on the Sabbath (a most heinous sin). Americanization means to the Jew in most cases dejudaizing himself without becoming a Christian. There is a painful eagerness on the part of some of the younger generation especially to cast aside everything which marks it as Jewish, and I have heard some of the severest criticisms of the Jews from the lips of such people. The American Jew becomes over-conscious of the faults of his race, and not seldom hates the word Jew and feels himself insulted if it is applied to him. “I hate them all,” I heard a number of the younger Jews say, and there was no vice in the calendar of Hades which they did not ascribe to their own race.

If, as some people claim, the Jews are discriminated against in New York by the Gentile business firms, I have proof that there are a number of Jewish firms that do not employ any Jews and very many that prefer Gentile help. The Jews who come from various European countries hate one another on general principles, and a Hungarian or a German Jew looks down in the greatest derision on the Pole and the Russian. These latter two nationalities are mentally and physically stronger, their needs are smaller, their wits are sharper, and as getting ahead always starts calumny, the Russian Jew gets a good share of it. His is not a prepossessing nature; his form and face are often repulsive and his habits are none the less so, but he has an abundance of ambition and a superabundance of sharpness, which, when they are led into right channels, become an ennobling talent. East Broadway, the wholesale district of the Ghetto, suffers from overmuch such talent, and its capacity for shrewd trading and quick thinking cannot be excelled anywhere in New York outside of Wall Street.

The Polish and Russian Jews are under strong suspicion of making money out of fires and bankruptcies, and the suspicion must be well founded, for the insurance companies discriminate against them and many of them refuse to take the risks. Great crimes are seldom laid to the charge of the Russian Jew, although too often he lends himself to rather shady business transactions, and the percentage of certain crimes is rapidly increasing. Taking him as a whole, however, he is honest, industrious, and frugal, and has, above all, the making of a man in him. It is true that he works for small wages, but he soon wants more; he lives on little money, but he soon spends more. He does not have as many faults as his enemies assert, and he has as many virtues as one might reasonably expect. He is to be feared, not for his weakness, but for his strength; not for his faults, but for his virtues: he is here to stay, he does not care to return to Russia, and he cannot if he wishes to. The Russian Government sees to that. If he wishes to return home for a visit, he changes his name, puts a big cross around the necks of his children, and says he is a Protestant; but he has a hard time to convince the officials, and often is forced to return without seeing his native village. The Ghetto is not an ideal dwelling-place; its nearness to the Bowery, the crowded condition of its tenement-houses, and its inherited weaknesses and sins are against it; yet I have never seen a drunken man on any of its streets and I have witnessed only one quarrel, but that was worth a great many of its kind in other places.

The Ghetto is a peaceful community if not a united one. For instance, the young man with whom I drifted into New York remained closely attached to the Jews from his own district in Russia, and consequently retained all the prejudices against the Jews who came from more or less favoured portions of the Czar’s domain. He was from Lithuania, and regarded himself and his kind as intellectually keener and more learned in the law than they; facts which were acknowledged by his neighbours, but who added to them less complimentary characteristics, such as exceptional unreliability and trickery in trade.

Not long ago, as I walked slowly up Second Avenue, I was met by a well-dressed man, whose face was shaven and whose trousers were creased after the manner of Americans. In good English although with a strong accent, he called my name and brought back to my memory a journey across the sea, and a start in life together on this side. “And how are you getting along, Abromowitz?” “Getting along like pulling teeth.” “What do you mean?” “I am learning to be a dentist with my father-in-law, who keeps a fine office.” “Where do you live?” “On Rivington Street, and you must come to see me.” I followed him into a tenement house of the better class, and found him rather well situated. The home which consisted of three rooms contained all the hall marks of American civilization. Carpets of various hues were upon the floor, coloured supplements of Sunday newspapers lined the walls, a huge plush album contained pictures of the friends left behind and the new ones made in America, and “last but not least” on the wall hung crayon portraits of himself and his bride in their wedding attire. They also possessed a phonograph on which they played for my special benefit the latest songs current in the variety theatres. The young husband told me of his increasing prosperity, and when I questioned him as to why he did not move into a better locality, he answered, that he had contemplated doing so, even having rented a flat out towards Harlem; but when he and his wife viewed the neighbourhood they found that it was peopled by Russian Jews not of their own native region, so they preferred to remain on Rivington Street. To them that street is only a suburb of Minsk; here the news drifts with every incoming steamer, and although it is almost always sad news, they thus keep in close touch with the weal and woe of their kindred and acquaintances.

I have made it an especial task to follow as closely as possible the career of a hundred Russian Jews with whom I have come in touch during my journeys and investigations. Although they did not pass into my field of observation together, and represent various ages and conditions, the following may be of interest: After five years, about forty per cent. had learned to speak English very well, and about fifteen per cent. could write it almost faultlessly, while more than sixty per cent. could read English newspapers. Of this number seventy-eight per cent. had become wage-earners and only fifteen per cent. of these had not materially improved their lot in life. Eighteen were citizens of the United States, three were Social Democrats of an intense type, five believed that way, but voted the Republican ticket, and the rest were divided on national questions about evenly between the two dominant parties. They voted as they pleased in local affairs, although they were strongly influenced first by Tammany and later by the Hearst movement which more and more dominates the east side of New York. Ninety-one per cent. has ceased to be orthodox in their religious practices, although in thirty-seven per cent. the “spirit was willing but the flesh was weak.” All the Social Democrats with the exception of one, had entirely drifted from their ancient moorings and were avowed atheists. As to their relation to Christianity I asked one of them, “Do you know anything about American Christians?” and he replied, “How shall I know anything about Christians on the East side?” Nearly all of them were saving some money and one of them had grown rich, at least in the estimation of his neighbours, and he was in the real estate business. Among all of them there has been an intellectual awakening. As one of them said: “They have room to think though they have but little leisure.”

Modifications and almost marvellous transformations had taken place in the features of many, and these were the men who had thought themselves most into our life. Whether there was growth in ethical conception it is hard to say, for one cannot easily reach beyond the exterior in sociological observations, and depths do not disclose themselves when one watches people by the hundred. Their business sense certainly has not grown less keen, and making money is as much an object in life as it always was. Perchance even a little more. The scale of things has changed. I find in most of them that they are more honest in little things, which comes from the fact that they need not be penurious. The real estate dealer is an unscrupulous sharper, I know, but in that he merely shares the unenviable reputation of his guild.

I should say that many of the surface vices born of certain economic conditions have disappeared, although I do not see that any great virtues have taken their places or that at the present time any great ethical movement is apparent. The synagogue is sterile in that direction, and the average Rabbi among this class is no ethical factor.

The public schools, which of course reach only the children, are much too crowded and have such a superabundance of raw material to work upon that it is impossible for them to reach deep enough into the crowded life of the Ghetto. Great ethical factors are the Jewish Alliance already mentioned, Cooper Institute, with its many lectures and Sunday afternoon services, and some of the settlements in which many honest attempts are made and splendid results achieved.

But “Salvation is still from the Jews,” still from within, and the best thing which can be done for the Russian Jews of New York, and for all the Jews in America, is to make them more truly Jewish, and that is a task at which happily both Jew and Christian may work, and for that task we all need the larger vision which comes partially, at least, from knowing one another.

XII

THE SLAVS AT HOME

NEARLY the whole eastern portion of Europe is Slavic territory, and although here and there broken into by other races, it is the Slav’s own world which he inhabits. A world which is constantly growing larger in spite of the fact that his advance in Asia has been checked.

One need not travel longer than a few hours from the German cities of Berlin, Leipsic, from the Austrian capital, Vienna, or from Venice, in Italy, to find himself far from German speech, habits and customs.

On the Baltic and on the Adriatic, as well as on the Black Sea, the Slav holds complete possession, although politically he may not everywhere be the master. He undoubtedly differs in many ways from his close neighbours, but just where that difference lies is hard to tell, because the portrayal of the characteristics of a race seems perilous, the danger being to ascribe to a nation, as traits, the agreeable or disagreeable impressions gathered from individuals during visits of shorter or longer duration. Inherited prejudices play no little part in such judgments; and, again, we too often hear nations given praise or blame which is based upon an indigestible dish, a disagreeable day, a good glass of wine, or joyous camaraderie.

To characterize the Slav is doubly difficult, because he has managed in the last twenty years to start many conflicts, and therefore has made enemies, who are apt to ascribe to him uncomplimentary characteristics. The Englishman has disagreeable notions of the Slav in the East, the German has his Polish problem, the Austrian has the belligerent Czech, the Italian on the Adriatic has the assertive Illyrian; the Turk doesn’t think very highly of his Slav neighbours, the Bulgarians and Montenegrins. It is not only hard not to be prejudiced against the Slav, but it is hard to be informed about him; first, because he has written very little about himself, with a few notable exceptions, and, secondly, because there are so many Slavic tribes which have remained isolated one from the other, have developed upon different lines, or have been influenced by the stronger race to which they happened to be neighbours, so that many characteristics which we ascribe to them are often the borrowed virtues, or more frequently the sins, of their neighbours.

FROM THE BLACK MOUNTAIN.

There is no more sturdy stock in Europe than the Slav of Montenegro,
none more ready to turn from gun to wood axe, from blood-revenge to
citizenship.
FROM THE BLACK MOUNTAIN.
There is no more sturdy stock in Europe than the Slav of Montenegro, none more ready to turn from gun to wood axe, from blood-revenge to citizenship.

The Wends, Poles, and Bohemians show in speech and life influences of their German neighbours; the Slovak in Hungary has a strong Magyar taint; the Croatian, Servian, Bulgarian, and the Montenegrin come dangerously near the Turk; the Dalmatian on the Adriatic, in spite of his resistance against it, shows influences of Venice, not only in the magnificent architecture of his churches, but also in language and character; while the Slovene of the Alps has received much good from his brave Tyrolese neighbours whom of course he in turn has influenced.

The only Slavic people who present an unbroken surface for observation are the Russians, who, undivided by high mountains or other natural difficulties, have blended their differences to some extent, and have become a vast nation, with a common language, a common faith, and certain characteristics which have become the common possession of all the people. But to generalize even about the Russian is impossible, inasmuch as there are at least two well-defined types, divided geographically, and differing not only in outward appearance, but in nearly everything about which one is sorely tempted to write in general terms.

The Great Russian, who occupies the largest part of his native land, is undoubtedly of mixed blood, the Finnish extraction manifesting itself in the flattened features and the protruding cheek-bones; while his enemies say that you need not scratch him long before you strike the Tartar. He is rather roughly made, his features are anything but delicate, the nose is heavy and inclined to be pugnacious (this may be taken as the general tendency of the Slavic nose), his eyes are brown or pale blue, and friendly, and the face is suffused by a health-betraying glow. The colour of the hair is seldom or never black, and shades all the way from a light brown to a definite red, and from that to a rather indefinite blond.

The other pronounced type is that of the Little Russian, who occupies nearly all the southern portion of the country, and differs from his more numerous brothers in physique and habits as the southern people usually differ from the northern. The Little Russians are, generally speaking, smaller, the face more delicately chiselled, complexion and hair darker, their women vivacious and handsome, and they claim to be of purer Slavic blood, although you do not have to scratch them at all to find the Tartar.

The Slav has moved from the Dnieper as far east as the Ural, and has moved beyond it as fast as steam could carry him. He has entered the heart of Europe, is at the doors of the German capital, and has almost supplanted the native Austrian in Vienna. In the Alps, on its southern slopes, he has built his huts within nature’s citadels, and faces Italy on the Adriatic. In the Balkans he has asserted himself, has shaken off the yoke of Islam, and is destined to be the master of the Bosphorus; while the Karpathians, which, like a crescent, wind about Hungary, are the stronghold of the ever-increasing Slav.

In a larger measure the other Slavic tribes on non-Russian soil differ one from another; thus, the Dalmatian is the giant among them, and he of the Boche de Cattaro is a veritable Slavic Apollo, measuring, on an average, six feet three inches. He is dark-skinned, and graceful in his movements. But size and beauty decrease as one travels northward through Bulgaria and Servia into Hungary, Bohemia, and Poland.

One despairs of designating as a race, or even as a nation, a people which differs more widely than one can tell within the limits of a chapter; people who have neither a history nor a literature in common, and whose language, although philologically one, varies so that if they undertook to build a tower or an empire, the confusion of the Biblical Babel would find a parallel in modern history.

And yet these differing tribes or nationalities have some things in common, especially in the social life and organism. There is, first of all, a temper which is among all of them impassive, seldom aroused even under the influence of drink. This explains the ease with which they have been conquered by other races, seldom coming to independence, only the nature of their country having compelled the Russians to make a Russia, which they were a long time in making. This also explains the despotism of the Czar, the patience with which it has been borne, and the long stretches of years without revolution or reformation. But now his wrath is kindled and the oppression of years has aroused his fury. The Slav is not a builder of empires, because he is not a citizen but a subject—a severe master or a submissive servant. As a rule, he bears oppression patiently, shrinks from overcoming obstacles, is seldom inquisitive enough to climb over the mountains which lock in his native village to see what is beyond them, never cares much for the sea and its perils, the Russian’s desire for harbours being a political necessity rather than a natural want. Even a democratic institution, such as the “mir” in Russia, which borders strongly upon communism, and is by some scholars urged as an indication of the Slavs’ independent spirit, is to me a proof of their lack of that spirit. Any one who has been at a meeting of the “mir” knows that the one or the few never dissent; things go just as they come, and the strong rascal (and there are such among the Slavs) rules “mir” or “bratstvo” at his own pleasure, and no one says, “Why do ye so?”

The family bears among the Slavs strong archaic forms, especially among those of the south, where the bratstvo (brotherhood) is still the unit. A bratstvo occupies, according to its size, one or more villages; and church, cemetery, meadows, and mills are held in common. Besides these peaceful possessions, they have every quarrel in common, and every member of the bratstvo is most ready to avenge the honour of his people. These are characteristics visible in their colonies in America. In Montenegro, the Herzegovina, and also in some parts of Dalmatia, blood vengeance is still practiced, and it not seldom happens that, to avenge one life, war is waged until there is not one male member left who can carry a gun; then the quarrels are continued by the next generation. The bratstvo is ruled by an elder, elected by all its male members. He is their justice of the peace, the presiding officer at all meetings, and in case of war is the captain of his company. The members of a bratstvo consider themselves blood relatives, intermarriages were formerly prohibited, and even now are not common. The aristocratic spirit shows itself in the fact that mechanics, especially blacksmiths, are expelled from it and share none of its privileges or responsibilities. The elder of the bratstvo, or household, is an embryo Czar, and the honours shown to him by all its members express the reverence which the Slav always shows to those in authority. He can withhold permission for smoking, dancing, or playing; no one touches the food until he has tasted it, no one is seated in his presence until he has permitted it; he is the one member of the household who has an individual spoon, which may not be used in the cooking; and yet from experience I know that he may sometimes play the Czar too much, and that there is temper enough left in the household, if not in the men at least in the women, to make it decidedly uncomfortable for him, and to remind him of his plebeian origin and his democratic relatives.

The further north one travels, the more the bratstvo decreases, although the large communal households do not entirely disappear even in Russia. Everywhere the bond of relationship is very strong, and to become the godfather of a child unites one to its family for weal or woe. There is one relationship common among the southern Slavs which exceeds that of the closest tie of blood; it is that of probratimtsvo, or prosestrimtstvo, a brotherhood or sisterhood, or close friendship, between two men or two women, or even between a man and a woman, which among orthodox Slavs is still solemnized with the sacraments of the church. Of course this solemn service is followed by a feast, and the following toast shows the spirit of that occasion:

With whom drink I to-day?
With thee, honoured brother, with thee drink I to-day
In God’s name.
The Virgin bless thine earthly store;
Increase thine honour more and more;
Be near thy friend with helpful deed,
But never thou his help to need.
God grant thee much of earthly bliss,
And may the saints thy forehead kiss.
May wine for friends abundant flow,
And children in thy household grow.
May God unite our house and land,
As we thus grasp each other’s hand.

Admirable as is the family tie which binds the Slav, abhorrent even to the strongest “Slavophile” is the position occupied by woman in the family and in the social life among Southern and Eastern Slavs. To escape the charge of prejudice, I shall quote a few proverbs current among the Southern Slavs—a few out of many hundreds:

The man is the head, the woman is grass.
One man is worth more than ten women.
A man of straw is worth more than a woman of gold.
Let the dog bark, but let the woman keep silent.
He who does not beat his wife is no man.

“What shall I get when I marry?” asks a boy of his father. “For your wife a stick, for your children a switch.”

Twice in his life is a man happy: once when he marries, and once when he buries his wife.

And the woman sings in the Russian folk-song, which I have freely translated,

Love me true, and love me quick,
Pull my hair, and use the stick.

Although there are love-songs of another kind, in which woman is praised for her charms, she becomes virtually a slave as soon as she marries, and the little poetry of the folk-song does not accompany her even to the marriage altar. She is valued only for the work she can do in a household and for the children she can bear; and should this latter blessing be denied her, her lot becomes doubly pitiable, and she sometimes seeks release by suicide, after which the proverb says of her, “It is better thus; a barren woman is of no use in the world.” In Montenegro the proverb says, “My wife is my mule,” and she is treated accordingly; and to see her bent double beneath her load of wood, flour, or oil, while her liege lord walks erect by her side, with his arsenal of weapons in his girdle, is to see the proverb in action. Yet here, where woman’s lot is the worst, woman’s virtue is regarded most highly, the penalty for adultery being swift death, and the social vice almost unknown.

It would, of course, be unjust to charge every Slav with beating his wife, but, unfortunately, it is the rule rather than the exception among the peasants; and the lot of the Slavic woman grows better only as the Slav is further from Eastern barbarism and nearer to Western civilization. Yet she is wooed with the same ardour as is her more favoured sister, and perhaps she is loved just as much by her husband, only he has a strange way of showing his affection. That the Slavic woman possesses the qualities to make of herself a “new woman” can be plainly seen among the women of the higher class in Russia, where there is a second paradise for women; America, by common consent, being the first.

Among all the Slavs music is much loved, and the fields in the busiest harvest-time are melodious from song. The Czech’s love for music has become proverbial, although the proverb is not complimentary to him and was invented by his enemies. It is said that when a Czech boy is born, the nurse holds up to him a penny and a violin; if he seizes the penny, he will be a thief; if the violin, he will be a musician. It is true that every Czech village has its band, which often wanders all over Europe, making melody as it goes; and, in nine cases out of ten, the “Leetle Sherman pand” upon which the American bestows his pennies and his jokes does not come from Germany at all, but from some village in Bohemia. Mechanical musical instruments have played havoc with the native genius of these people. Slavic music has a melancholy strain, and this is especially true of the music of the Southern Slav, whose simple musical instruments, the “swirala” and the “gusla,” are not capable of giving one joyous note, even at a wedding. They may be truly called Jeremiac instruments. With love of music goes the love of dancing, and the Czechs and Poles invent new dances for every occasion, while the Southern Slavs cling to their monotonous national “kolo,” which is a reckless sort of kicking exercise, accompanied by the aforesaid instruments, while some old minstrel sings of the heroic deeds of the past.

Cities among the Slavs are rare; the people usually live in villages, nearly all of which have common characteristics. It seemed strange to find that I could walk through a Russian village near Moscow, and yet could easily think myself among the Slovaks, thousands of miles away, or even among the more picturesque Dalmatians on the Adriatic. The villages all look alike. There is always one street, and just one, in the village; one wood or mud house leans against the other, one thatched roof overlaps the other, and there is never more than one fire at a time in a village like this; for generally the whole business burns down at once. The barns, called “stodoly,” are generally built together, a short distance from the village. The church occupies the centre of the village, and near by is a mud-puddle, where geese, pigs, and babies take their daily swim. Put into some convenient place a pump, tie some ox-teams to it, place in the foreground clouds of dust or a sea of mud, and you have a fair picture of Slavic villages.

Of course they differ in degrees of ugliness, the Russian village taking the first prize for unadulterated homeliness, as there is no sign of beauty, not even a primitive attempt at decoration, anywhere. Among the Slovaks in Hungary, and among the neighbouring tribes, there is an attempt at art. Crudely painted houses are the rule, and somewhere about them there will be an indication of decoration, but it requires a vivid imagination to find out just what it is, the art spirit being strong but undeveloped.

Little flower-gardens near or around the houses are seldom or never seen in Russia, but are common among the Czechs and other Western Slavs. The interior of the houses differs among them as to size and arrangement. The Russian house has two rooms, separated by the main entrance. One is called the cold room and the other the hot room. The hot, or winter room has as its chief possession a brick bake, cook, and heating stove or oven, the top of which is the bedstead in the winter-time; and a very comfortable place it is. The cleanliness in these Slavic homes is also of varied degrees, and is often conspicuous by its absence. Dirt, I am sorry to say, is often in evidence, and certain insects which would annoy us dreadfully exist in these rooms in uncountable numbers, but are treated with silent contempt, which does not tend to their diminution.

The Slavic tribes differ in their costumes, but nearly all of them have retained the sheepskin coat, which they wear summer and winter. The wool is turned inside. The skin is often coloured red, and the legs of the sheep hang over the shoulders. Both men and women wear this coat; but, of course, the woman’s coat is decorated in fantastic ways and costs a great deal of money. The rest of the man’s attire consists of linen trousers and shirt, home-made from the tough fibre to the coarse stitching. A cap is also worn, and in Russia is generally of fur. There are numberless varieties of this dress, but in each village all dress alike, differing only in the fineness of the material used.

“How do the women dress?” Can a man ever describe a woman’s dress? And can any mortal describe the Slavic woman’s dress, when in nearly every village they have a peculiar style? And, oh! what styles! Colour in everything; red, yellow, silver, and gold, laces and embroideries and what-not, costing sometimes nearly two hundred dollars. But, of course they do not get a new dress every year, just one in a lifetime, or, if they are really good, maybe two. The costliness of the woman’s dress is the cause of much suffering, for, although the styles do not change, vanity is a shrewd mistress, and will put a half-inch broader lace upon a woman’s cap, thus setting all the feminine hearts on fire from envy; and the next market day the broader lace will be shading every woman’s eyes, although perhaps a feather-bed had to be pawned, or next winter’s pig had to wander to the butcher’s ere its time had come.

Among the Slovaks, with whom woman’s garb is most costly and most picturesque, there is a great desire to lay it aside and adopt the more fashionable dress of society; for the peasant’s costume compels one to be addressed as an inferior—ti (thou)—and putting on the modern garb puts one, at least in the eyes of strangers, upon a higher social level, and onyi (you) is the pronoun used.

The Slavic peasant lives simply enough at home. His food consists largely of a vegetable diet, and meat on the table is the sign of a holiday, a wedding, or of a fortunate excursion into a neighbour’s chicken-coop or pig-sty. Among one large tribe they have only one meal a day, usually at noon. It is cooked in the morning and kept warm under the ashes or under the feather-bed until it is time to eat it.

The main staples of diet among all are, potatoes, black, sour rye bread, cabbage for soups and cakes; kascha, or gruel; and, finally barshtsh, a concoction made of beets, and not half so bad as it looks.

The Czech has a reputation as an epicure, and the Bohemian girl is generally an excellent cook, in addition to her other good qualities. To mention Slavic cooking and leave out garlic would be “Hamlet with the Prince left out,” and I feel sure that travellers in Slavic countries will readily testify to the excessive presence of this fragrant bulb, although they may never have seen it.

The literature of the Slav is abundant, and some of it is no doubt great. That of Bohemia is the oldest, that of Poland the most finished, and that of Russia in modern times the most abundant. The folklorist has here much virgin territory in which to gather material, but it remains to be seen whether it is worth gathering and preserving. Both folk-lore and literature are strongly realistic, being a reflection of the Slavic character, and not a protest or reaction, as with the Germanic people. The Slav speaks and sings about plain things plainly, but naturally, and not offensively when one understands the source of his song. It never makes sin attractive, and consequently is wholesome. The lyric love-song is made in the hearts of the people, travels from lip to lip, and is simple and beautiful in the original; thus the Czech sings:

If I see thee, kneeling, praying
In the church, my dear,
I am far from God and heaven,
But to thee am near;
If I’d love my God in heaven
As I now love thee,
I would saint or very angel
In His presence be.

The Slovak sings thus of love:

Whence getteth everybody
Love in his very breast?
It grows not on the bushes,
It’s hatched not in the nest;
And were this love abiding
On rocks as heaven high,
We’d send our hearts to find it,
Yes, even if we die.

More poetically, the Croatian sings:

Oh, what is love? a zephyr mild,
As gentle as a new-born child,
To kiss each blossoming flower.
Oh, what is love? a wild storm-cloud,
A roaring, maddening tempest loud,
A weeping, drenching shower.
Oh, what is love? a scattered gloom,
A thousand glorious flowers in bloom,
A glowing, burning fireball,
A giant held by chains in thrall,
A joyful, chiming wedding bell,
A dreadful chasm, a burning hell.
Oh, may thy love, thou dearest child,
Like spring winds be, so sweet, so mild!
Oh, reach to me thine angel hand,
And lead me to that heavenly land!

One of the marked characteristics of the Slav is his deep religious feeling. If you wander through Moscow, you will see at every step evidences of this in the many churches, chapels, and wayside icons before which the faithful cross themselves or lie prostrate in the dust. Everywhere the Russian manifests his deep allegiance to the Church, and every action of his life is in some way influenced by its teaching. He obeys implicitly all its rules, especially in regard to the many fast or feast days. He venerates the churches and cloisters, has implicit faith in the intercession of the saints, and every year out of every village go forth pious pilgrims over barren wastes and through dense forests to some sacred tomb in some faraway cloister. The height of ambition of every pious mujik is to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and a whole lifetime is spent in self-denying struggle to accumulate money enough for that purpose.

Common to all the Slavs is the tendency to superstition; remnants of the old heathenism remain everywhere, startling one by stories and usages which during centuries of winters’ nights have grown to grotesque proportions in the dark, uncomfortable izbas of the peasants, and have curiously blended with their Christian faith, so that it is difficult for them to distinguish one from the other. The Slav is usually charitable to the poor, although not always generous to the weak, and he cannot be praised for excessive hospitality. He is too often clannish, is apt to be jealous, and consequently not always faithful or honest. The Polish and Russian peasants are proverbially thievish; as one of their current sayings has it, “the only things which they will not carry away are hot iron and millstones,” a characteristic which they lose completely under better economic conditions.

The Slav is humanity still in the rough, and to that fact are due his faults, his virtues, his weakness, and also his strength.

XIII

THE SLAVIC INVASION

THE Slovak and the Pole, or the “Hunkies” as they are often contemptuously called, are among the most industrious and patient people who come to our shores. I know this because time after time I have followed them from their native villages, across the sea and into the coal mines of Pennsylvania, or the steel mills, coke ovens and lime stone quarries along the lakes, to which they were called because their virtues as labourers were known. Even on board ship they are the most patient passengers, for hardships are not new to them, and the bill of fare, meagre though it is, contains not a few luxuries to which their palates are strangers; if it were not for the seasickness, they would consider their ocean trip as much of a pleasure as do those of us who cross the sea for a wedding trip or a vacation. I have crossed the ocean with them ten times at least, and have never heard a word of complaint, although their more refined travelling companions say much about their untidiness, rudeness, and other marks of semi-civilization. I have never seen one of them read a newspaper; only one man do I remember who read a book, and that was a prayer-book of the Greek Church. They leave their picturesque garb at home, and lie on the deck in all sorts of weather in all kinds of dress and undress, the women being barefooted even in winter. In conversation with the men I can never go beyond the facts that they are going to work, earn money, pay off a mortgage on a piece of land at home, or save enough money to send for Katchka or Anka to be their wedded wife. If the Slovak feels any great emotions when he reaches New York, he never expresses them; he is usually dumb from wonder and half frightened, as he faces this new and busy world in which he will be but an atom or just so much horse-power. In spite of the contract labour law, he is billed to an agent in New York or taken to Pennsylvania, where his new life begins and too often ends in a coal-mine.

The home which he will make for himself is one of many, and all alike are painted green or red,—shells of buildings into which crowd from fifteen to twenty people who are taken care of by one woman whose husband may be the foreman of a gang and the chief beneficiary of its labour.

In the town of Verbocz, in Hungary, I recently met a man who had returned from America with $2,000 in his pocket, and whose career here is typical of a large number. He came to America fifteen years ago and worked in a mine in Pennsylvania near Pittsburg. He had stayed long enough to learn English, to be able to receive and give orders and have them carried out, so he became a foreman. His wife and children then came, and moved into one of the houses previously described, bringing with them twenty men, boarders. Through much industry and frugality they saved these $2,000 and now in their old age they had returned to spend that money at their pleasure. The wife has permanently put off the peasant garb and has retained in her vocabulary such bits of English as “come on,” “go on” and “how much,” which she displays on every occasion. The children are still in America, one of the sons being in the saloon business, and on the road to greater wealth than that which his father accumulated.

Their competitors in the field of labour accuse them of filthiness, yet, after having walked through hundreds of these shanties, I can say that the report of untidiness among them is exaggerated; for the majority of homes are cleaner than their crowded condition would warrant, while there are not a few in which the floors are scrubbed daily, and fairly shine from cleanliness. Just as uncomplainingly as into the life on board ship, the Slovak fits into the new work, whatever it may be, and no animal ever took its burden more patiently than he does his, as he faces unflinchingly the hot blasts of a furnace or the dark depths of mines. He can be worked only in gangs directed by one of his number who has gathered a few crumbs of English, and who seasons them freely by those words which are usually printed in dashes. Such a thing as rebellion he does not know, as his whole past history testifies; in our strikes he is a very convenient scapegoat and not seldom a sheep, led to deeds whose consequences he has not measured. In nearly every case of violence which I could trace and in which he took an active part, he was inflamed by drink which interested persons had given him.

He is considered by the tradesmen of his town to be their most honest customer, and one merchant who has dealt with the Slovaks for twelve years, who has carried them from pay-day to pay-day, and through strikes and lay-offs, told me that he had not lost one cent through them, while his losses from the other miners were from fifteen to thirty-five per cent.; and, with but slight variations, this is the testimony of all the merchants.

In no small measure this is due to their fear of law, for in Hungary every debt is collectible, and not even the homestead is exempt from the executioner. There is also no petty thieving in communities where they have lived for twenty years, and they have never been accused or even suspected of theft. As one common accusation against them is that they spend very little in this country and send most of their earnings abroad, I examined this matter very carefully, interviewing every merchant and every class of merchants, the postmasters, and even the saloon-keepers, and they all agree that these people are fairly good customers.

In visiting their homes I found that usually they are not lavish as to house-furnishings; the front room, which in the American household would answer for the parlour, is filled by the trunks of the boarders, and in a few cases has that beginning of American civilization, the rocking-chair. A stand with a white cloth cover holding a few knickknacks is a rarity, but exists in about five per cent. of the houses I have visited; carpets I have seen only twice, but the lace-curtain fashion has not a few imitators. Upon his bed the Slovak lavishes a great deal of money, making it his costliest piece of furniture, while his imported feather-beds keep out entirely the more sanitary mattress and blankets. He does not stint himself in his food, as is commonly supposed, for he eats a good deal, although his steak, being cut from the shoulder, is cheap, and is always called “Polak steak.” He eats quantities of beans, cabbage, and potatoes, and about eight dollars a month covers the board bill of an adult. He drinks too much, but drinks economically, preferring a barrel of beer for the crowd to the more expensive glass, and he carries a bottle in his hip pocket as invariably as the cowboy is supposed to carry a pistol. Instead of whiskey he sometimes takes alcohol and water, which may, after all, be the same rose by another name. In buying clothing I am told that he buys the best which is fitted for his work and for his station, and to see him after working hours, cleanly washed and dressed in American fashion from the boots up to the choking collar, one would not suspect him of miserliness. He does save money, for out of an average earning of forty dollars a month he will send at least fifteen dollars to Hungary, and on pay-day the money-order window in the little post-office is crowded by these industrious toilers who have not forgotten wife, children, old parents, and old debts.

Many of them claim that they would buy houses in this country if they were assured of steady work, and in many places they plead that they cannot buy property because the company owns all the real estate and prefers to rent all the houses falsely called homes.

Unfortunately they have imported into this country their racial prejudices which are keenest towards their closest kin, and each mining camp becomes the battle-ground on which ancient wrongs are made new issues by repeated quarrels and fights which become bloody at times, although premeditated murder is rather infrequent. In a large number of cases these unfortunate divisions are intermingled by religious differences, although the Slovak and the Pole do not speak well of one another even if they belong to the same church. The Pole regards himself as the especial guardian of the Roman Catholic Church, and while a majority of the Slovaks are of the same Church, Protestantism has made some inroads and the Greek Church claims many loyal adherents. Many of the Catholics belong to the Greek Catholic Church which is that portion of the Greek Church in Austria which united with Rome after the division of Poland, and which was permitted to use its own Slavonic ritual and retain its married clergy. Only a portion of the Greek Church entered this union so that nearly every large Slovak community has a number of Russian Greeks, who look upon the Roman Greeks with a great deal of scorn. In Marblehead, on Lake Erie, where these Slovaks are engaged in the limestone quarries, this division was discovered after all the Greeks had built one church, that of the Roman Greeks. A few of the wiser ones who arrived in this country later were dreadfully shocked when they saw this, and in Peter Shigalinsky’s saloon plans were made to gain possession of the church for the only true Greeks, the Russian; many pitched battles were fought, a long and fruitless litigation followed, and finally Peter Shigalinsky built next to his saloon a new church, whose orthodoxy is emphasized by one of the horizontal pieces of the cross slanting at a more acute angle than that of the Roman Greek church, in which of course there can be no salvation.

Where they have no church of their own they are usually found worshipping with the English or Germans, if they are Romanists, but in many cases the priests told me that they are not wanted and must keep to one corner of the building. There are not priests enough to shepherd them, and those they have are in many cases unfitted for the task. It is asserted that the Lutheran pastors are no better, and count for little or nothing in making these people Christians and citizens. They are naturally suspicious of strangers, but grateful for every kindness, and once a door is opened to their hearts it is never closed again. Unfortunately, their speech shuts them out from the touch with American people of the same community, but there are avenues of approach in which only one language is spoken—the language of love and kindness; one noble American woman whom I know ministers to them by nursing them and suggesting simple remedies when they are ill, and has thus become no small factor in their social and religious redemption.

Of literature little or nothing enters the mining villages, although among the Poles the hunger for it grows and many papers and magazines are coming into existence. The Slovak lives an isolated life, sublimely ignorant of “wars and rumours of wars”; his breakfast is not spoiled by the glaring head-lines of the daily paper, nor does the magazine or novel press upon him the problems of human society. He knows his camp, his mine, his shop, and though he lives in America and in the most busy States in the Union, his world now is not much bigger than it was when its horizon touched his village pastures.

As yet he is not a factor politically, though the political “boss” finds him the best kind of material, for he is bought and sold without knowing it, and votes for he knows not whom. At Braddock, Pa., it was told me that he is sold first to the Democrats and then to the Republicans, and afterwards is naïve enough to come back to the Democrats and tell of his bargain, willing to be bought back into his political family. Like almost all foreigners, he is a Democrat by instinct or by association, one scarcely knows which, although he is usually anything that a drink of liquor makes him. I asked one his political faith, “Are you a Democrat?” “No, me Catholic—Greek, not Russian,” was the reply. “What are your politics?” I asked a number. “Slovak,” was the invariable answer. Not twenty per cent. of those I interviewed knew the name of our President, not two per cent. the name of the Governor of the State in which they were residing. The Slovak does not know the meaning of the word citizen, and the limited franchise in Hungary is exercised for him by those shrewder than himself; he is just force and muscle, with all the roots of his heart in the little village across the sea, and with his brain wherever the stronger brain leads him.

At a recent election in Hungary, a district where the Slovaks were in a large majority, they were, nevertheless, defeated by the Magyar element which knew how to manage them; so that they may be said to have had just enough political training to fit them into the political life of the average American community.

Although the Slovak is a quiet and peaceful citizen, on feast day he does not consider his religious nature sufficiently stirred without a fight, which is usually a crude, bungling affair, devoid of the science which accompanies such an episode among the Irish, and also without the deadly results of an Italian fracas.

On the wedding day of Yanko and Katshka, the silence of the camp is broken by the sound of a screeching violin, followed by the wailing of a clarinet and the grunting of a bass viol. Above the discord of noise made by these instruments is heard the voice of the bridegroom, who leads the dances with the song: “I am so glad I have you, I have you, and I wouldn’t sell you to any one.” If you enter the house of the bride, you will find it full of sweltering humanity, all of it dancing up and down, down and up, while the fiddlers play and the bridegroom sings about “The sweetheart he is glad to have and wouldn’t sell to any one.”

Usually the Slav dancers provide the notes and the bank notes also; for at the end of the piece half a dozen stalwart men will throw themselves in front of the musicians, each one of them demanding in exchange for the money tossed upon the table, his favourite tune to which he sings his native song. The result is, half a dozen men, each singing or trying to sing, a different song, all of them pushing, crowding, and at last fighting, until in the middle of the room you will find an entanglement of human beings which beats itself into an unrecognizable mass. The wedding lasts three days, the ceremony often taking place after the first day’s festivities. The order of proceedings and the length of the feast vary, according to imported traditions which among the Slavs are different in every district.

WITHOUT THE PALE.

Not always is the adverse decision of the Commissioner so easy as in the
case of some Servian gypsies who, deported from New York, found their
way to Canada and quickly made police records.
WITHOUT THE PALE.
Not always is the adverse decision of the Commissioner so easy as in the case of some Servian gypsies who, deported from New York, found their way to Canada and quickly made police records.

Of course the whole mining camp is an interested spectator and guests usually do not wait for a formal invitation. The ceremony over, the wedding dinner is served, and never in all the Carpathian Mountains was there such feasting as there is in the Alleghanies. “Polak” steak, cabbage with raisins, beets, slices of bacon, links of sausages, sweet potatoes, and, “last but not least,” the great American dish, conqueror of all foreign tastes—pie; huge, luscious and full of unheard-of delicacies. Beer flows as freely as milk and honey flowed in the promised land; again the musicians play and if the bridegroom has voice enough left he will sing the song of “The sweetheart he is so glad to have and wouldn’t sell to any one, no, not to any one.” Barrel after barrel is emptied until the pyramids of Egypt have small rivals in those built entirely of beer barrels in the little mining town in Pennsylvania. Many of the drinkers fall asleep as soundly as Rameses ever did before he was embalmed, while others are making ready for the end of the feast—the fight, for “no fight, no feast” is the proverb. Somebody calls a Slovak a Polak, or vice versa; some young man casts glances at some young maiden otherwise engaged—and the fight is on. I have never discovered just the reason for the fight, and one might as well search for the cause of a cyclone, but the results are nearly the same: furniture, heads, and glasses all in the same condition—broken; everybody on the ground like twisted forest trees, while one hears between long black curses the peaceful snores of the unconscious drunk. The next day and the next the programme is repeated, and this is the Slovak’s only diversion, unless it be a saint’s day, when history repeats itself and he once more practices his two vices, drinking and fighting.

As a rule the Slav is virtuous although this depends largely upon local conditions in the village or district from which he comes. One could prove him in certain regions the most virtuous of men while in others he is just the reverse. Almost without exception where one woman cooks for fifteen or twenty men as is often the case in mining camps, they respect her as the wife of one man, while she respects her own virtue and would fight if necessary to remain loyal to her husband. There is much coarse, indelicate talk and much crudeness, for the Slav is a realist in speech and action; therefore that which would seem to us immoral, is simply his way of expressing himself, accustomed as he is to call “a spade a spade.”

The Pole who emigrates to this country comes from nearly the same region as the Slovak, and lives very much the same life, although in many things he is his superior. He has greater self-assertion, is not so submissive to the church, chafes more under restraint, has a greater racial and national consciousness, and is by virtue of his historic development both better and worse than the Slovak. He becomes more identified with American life and will remain an important part of it whether for good or evil, while a large portion of the Slovaks will return to the villages and the peaceful acres from which they came. The Polish community is consequently more of an entity and looks towards permanence. The centralizing power is usually the church; around it, and stimulated by it, grows the Polish town which not unfrequently occupies the best location to be had, with its agencies well organized and controlled.

Perhaps the best example of such a Polish town completely governed and controlled by the church is in New Britain, Conn., where the population is engaged in manufacturing hardware. With rare foresight the best situation in the city was bought, and facing the still undeveloped part of this real estate holding, the church, a magnificent white stone structure, was built; a church which might well be the pride of any community. Their priest, who is both Czar and Pope, is a strong, wise monarch who holds in his keeping the destinies of thousands who trust and obey him implicitly. The houses built are rather rude tenements, evidently built to bring large and quick results; but the sanitary condition must be good if it can be judged by the cleanliness and wholesomeness of the children. Indeed, this part of the city of New Britain is as clean and orderly as one might reasonably expect among a population imported to do the roughest kind of labour.

One is likely to be apprehensive as to the future when one realizes that nearly all the children go to a parochial school, in which only a minimum of the English language is taught; that the men are all organized into patriotic and religious brotherhoods which march armed through the streets. One cannot yet determine how much these things will do to prevent Americanization and assimilation, two things which are exceedingly desirable and which these and other agencies seem to prevent.

Besides Slavs and Poles, lesser groups of Crainers from the Austrian Alps, Croatians and Servians, have gathered in the larger Slav centres and around them, and while in a great measure they live the same life as do their more numerous kindred, there are minor differences which are somewhat accentuated by the abnormal conditions under which they all live.

XIV

DRIFTING WITH THE “HUNKIES”

THE great city had not been kind to them. For three weeks they had been beaten back and forth all the length and breadth of its hot and inhospitable streets until their little money and their courage were exhausted, and they had drifted back to the Battery, the place nearest home which they could reach “without money and without price.”

They had come here for work and had sought it from shop to shop, wherever men with a fair share of muscle were wanted; but they always found that some stronger man had come before them so they were left, like the sick man at the Pool of Bethesda, unhealed at the edge of the water.

They had been my travelling companions across the sea, and I felt some responsibility for them, besides being anxious to know what becomes of men in America who have neither our speech which might be silver, nor the silent gold which serves as power. So I cast my lot and my small change among them. We travelled as far as a five cent fare would take us and began looking for work among the large mansions and fancy farms which line the shore of Long Island Sound. Barking dogs, frightened house maids and discourteous lackeys we found everywhere, but neither work nor food for the four of us. We did not look like tramps, although our clothes were shabby and the dust and grime of the city did not tend to improve our appearance; yet we spent a whole day looking unsuccessfully for work, and when night came upon us nothing remained but to return to the city, as bankrupt in our stock of courage as in our finances.

That blessed and famous bread line, where the Lord answers His poor people’s prayer for daily bread, kept us from starving, and there was enough free ice water to be had to wash down the bread and benumb our digestive organs into silence.

Union and Madison square park benches were our beds a few minutes at a time, for the watchful policeman kept us moving as if we were drunk from laudanum. We went the length of lower Broadway, to City Hall park, and finally to the Battery where the next morning’s gray found us, wearier and shabbier than ever. Twenty-four such hours as we lived were enough to push us down the social scale to the level of the tramp, and we were greeted as such by those birds of passage, one of whom proved to be a “friend in need.” He really pitied my speechless companions and after sharing with us his begged buns, he told us of the New Jersey paradise where orchards and truck gardens were waiting for the toil of our hands.

He promised to accompany us, and was generous enough to offer to pay our way across the river. He seemed to enjoy the task of leadership and unfolded his great plans for us as he led us along the railroad track by the salt marshes of New Jersey, where we nearly perished from the attacks of mosquitoes. The New Jersey mosquito is enough of a factor to prevent the distribution of the immigrant. I certainly should not blame any one who preferred the stenches of Rivington Street to the sting of the mosquitoes on the New Jersey marshes. Nowhere was work given us, although we were treated less rudely, and in a few cases were offered food in exchange for a few chores; our travelled friend diligently instructing us to do as little as possible in return for the kind of food which we generally received. The day’s earning of food included: smoked sturgeon, which was wormy, and ham bones to which clung a minimum of meat and a maximum of tough skin. On the whole, we were soon made to realize that the New Jersey farmer knew how to drive a good bargain, in connection with what he was pleased to consider his charities.

When night came, our friend suggested an empty freight car as our lodging place, and in lieu of a better one, we went to sleep for the first time in this country, where the bed cost us nothing, and where some one’s else property became temporarily our own. We slept, in spite of the soreness of our muscles and the continued attacks of mosquitoes, and when we awoke it was still dark; at least in the car, into which neither starlight nor sunshine could penetrate,—for we were locked in, our guide and guardian gone, and with him three watches, four coats and our shoes.

After a long, long time, in answer to our cries, a railroad man opened the car and found us more destitute than we had yet been, and in need of a better friend(?) than the one we had lost. I told him our story, and he directed us to a farmer on the Trenton road who always needed labourers, and who he was quite sure would take us in, notwithstanding our denuded condition.

Barefoot and coatless we reached the farm which we recognized by the fact that a sign was tacked to the gate post, stating in four languages that “Labourers are wanted within.” In the rear of the house we were received by a be-aproned gentleman who proved to be the cook and housekeeper of this strange establishment. After I had told him the story of our adventures, we were invited to breakfast to which we did ample justice, in spite of the fact that it was prepared by a man who evidently knew little or nothing about the art of cooking. He told me that he too, had drifted from the great city, an immigrant who had found no standing room in the crowded shops. He told me also that every man at work here was a “Green-horn,” as he expressed it, and that not one of them had been longer than six months away from the Old Country.

At last the “Boss” came from the field; a rather portly man, red faced, hard headed and with small, beady eyes. He made a poor impression upon me, especially when he began to speak German, a language which he had acquired to be able to deal with his help. He offered us the hospitality of his farm and $10.00 a month, beside which he was ready to advance us the necessary farm clothing which he kept in stock for such emergencies. The clothing consisted of overalls, jacket, a straw hat and very coarse shoes.

We were not told what he charged us for them, but I began to suspect the man when that evening he drove me to the village to buy a pair of shoes, none of those in his stock fitting me.

When we reached the store, he told the proprietor in English which I was not supposed to understand, to tell me that the shoes were hand made and cost $3.50. They were common, roughly made shoes which could be bought in any store for $1.25 and I have no doubt that the profit was to be divided between these gentlemen.

At night in the loft of the barn, a dozen men, representing about ten nationalities met, and after looking at one another in stolid silence for a time, went to sleep. In the morning we were initiated into our task, which consisted of the customary chores, and finally, the field work in the patches of garden stuff, where hoeing and pulling weeds were the order of the twelve hours labour, with the beady eyes of the “Boss” ever upon us. He grew more and more impatient with our unskillful ways, and swore loudly in English and German, terrifying my Slavic friends beyond my ability to calm them.

Each day was the same as the one just past; hard work in the field, poor food in the kitchen, a hay bed at night, and the impatience of the “Boss” manifesting itself in personal violence against those of us who were the weaker among his slaves. Each day one or the other man disappeared, some of them leaving behind the little bundle of clothing bought from the farmer. This he immediately appropriated and sold to the next comer; for one or more new men of the same type were sure to drift in, to begin the labour which brought no wages.

According to the cook, the four of us broke the record, having stayed nearly a month. About two days before pay day I came in at evening with a broken cultivator. Whether running it into a tree stump had wrecked it, or whether it had been ready to fall to pieces at the slightest provocation I do not know; but the “Boss” grew violent in his anger and attacked me with a pitchfork, driving me out of the very gate through which I had come twenty-nine days before.

I went to the village and after finding a justice of the peace, laid before him my complaint, but he discouraged any legal action on my part because I did not have money enough to back it. When night came, I returned to the farm and calling out my men, who were only too ready to follow, we cut through a tall corn-field, and climbing a wire fence were again on the Trenton road. We walked the whole night, into Trenton and out of it, and far on our way to Pennsylvania. The next day we found that our labour was indeed wanted, and a few weeks in the tobacco fields of a Pennsylvania Dutch farmer put money into our purses and flesh upon our muscle. Upon finishing our work we started again upon our journey and soon entered the industrial region of Pennsylvania, where steel furnaces lined the highway and coke ovens illumined the landscape, making the air heavy by their fumes. Here for the first time my companions saw labour in America at its highest tension. They were frightened by the pots of glowing metal and made dizzy by the roar of the furnaces.

Opportunity for labour was soon secured, but my companions entered into it so timidly that I tried to dissuade them from it, but could not, as here alone was steady employment offered to men of their class. I can still see them in the great yard of one of the steel mills, pale and trembling, as if facing the dangers of war. Half naked, savage looking creatures darted about in the glare of molten metal, which now was white, “Like the bitten lip of hate,” then grew red and dark as it flowed into the waiting moulds. Close to these hot moulds the men were stationed to carry away the bars still full of the heat of the furnace, and they became part of a vast army of men who came and went, bending their backs uncomplainingly to the hot burden.

I watched them day after day coming from their work, wet, dirty, and blistered by the heat; dropping into their bunks at night, breathing in the pestilential air of a room crowded by fifteen sleepers, and in the morning crawling listlessly back to their slavish task.

No song escaped their parched lips, attuned to their native melodies, and the only cheer came on pay day, when the silver dollars looked twice as big as they were, when a barrel of beer was tapped at the boarding house and this hard world was forgotten. Then they tried to sing from throats made hoarse by the heat,

“Chervene Pivo
Bile Kolatshe.”

With the song came memories of their native village, the inn and the fiddlers, the notes of the mazurka and krakowyan, and visions of the wives and children who awaited their return. To the town they went that day and sent $20 each, out of the month’s earnings, to Katshka and Susanka and Marinka, the anticipation of their gladness making them happy too.

It was the beginning of the second month and I had drifted back to watch my men at the furnaces. They were still carrying hot bars from one place to the other and had withered into almost unrecognizable dryness. I watched these gigantic monsters consuming them and as I watched a terrible thing happened. An appalling noise arose above the roar to which my ears had grown accustomed, and which seemed the normal stillness. White, writhing serpents shot out from the boiling furnaces and were followed by other monsters of their kind which burned whatever they touched, and before I knew what had happened the whole dark place was full of smoke and the smell of burning flesh. Eight men, my three among them, had been caught by the molten metal, scorched in its own fire and consumed by its unquenchable appetite. What happened? Nothing. A coroner came to view the remains,—of which there were practically none; out of the centre of the cooled metal, lumps of steel were cut and buried,—and that is all that happened; and oh, it happens so often!

As I write this, the daily paper lies before me; the Chicago Tribune of May 13th, 1906. It devotes six columns to the horrors of the steel mills in South Chicago. I could fill the whole paper with the horrors which I have witnessed in mill and mine; and I could fill pages with the names of poor “Hunkies” whom nobody knows and about whom nobody cares. I cannot write it; it makes me bitter and resentful; so I shall let this newspaper reporter speak, and he knows but half the story. I know the other half, but the whole truth would hardly sound credible.

Centre of Mill Horrors

Here in this hospital building and its environment centres the horror of horrors of the untutored mill workman. Its inspiration is terror to the millman of the polyglot pay roll, as he enters the Eighty-eighth Street gate to his work.

Hun, Pole, Austrian, Bulgarian, Bohemian—the “Hunkies” of Illinois Steel colloquialism—indifferent to pain of shattered, burned, mangled body, grow frantic as the stretcher bearers near this fortress hospital. At its gates, over and over again, the frantic, hysterical wife and children of the victim have begged and pleaded for admission against the grim barrier of the guards.

Why is it? You cannot get the information in South Chicago unless it be that these men are “ignorant.”

South Chicago distinctly doesn’t like the “Hunkie.” He jams the money order window of the post-office for two long days after the bi-monthly pay day. He sleeps sometimes thirty deep in a single room after the day shift, and he sleeps again in the still warm floor bed, thirty deep, after the night shift. He has his grocer’s book on which are entered his scant, half offal meats, which day after day are prepared for him by his hired cook; he wears little and he sleeps in that; his bed is never made, for the reason that some one always is in it; his money goes to the saloon-keeper or through the foreign money order window at the post-office.

He is merely a “Hunkie” in Illinois Steel or in South Chicago. What if the Illinois Steel hospital is his conception of Inferno?

He doesn’t know much. He doesn’t know when he is spoken to, unless it is by an epithet which makes any other man fight. Then he moves doggedly and often with little understanding. Not understanding, he is the chosen, predestined occupant of the hospital bed.

From Accident to Hospital

A “Hunkie” who has been “hunked” in Illinois Steel makes a lot of strictly corporation trouble. The chief “safety inspector” and his staff are alert and active at a moment’s notice of an unofficial accident report. The Illinois Steel photographer and his camera are made ready; the stretcher bearers seize stretchers to the necessary number and a hurried move is made towards the scene of the accident, of which the Chicago police department may never know.

On the scene, the camera is set and the photograph—which so seldom is ever seen beyond the gates of Illinois Steel—is made. Then the “Hunkie”—protesting if he be conscious enough—is picked up, put upon the stretcher, and the giant bearers of the body start for the hospital, which may be a mile away. There are difficulties in the march. Surface lines for ore and coal trains net the grounds. Often a train’s crew finds difficulty in breaking a train to let the body through; sometimes the crew balks and swears, and the stretcher bearers wait for the shunting of the cars.

In the hospital? Few people know and they don’t talk. There is a “visiting hour,” but the surly guard at the gate passes upon the applicant’s request long before the request may be repeated at the hospital door. And at the door they don’t encourage visitors.

XV

THE BOHEMIAN IMMIGRANT

WHATEVER apprehensions one may have about the Slav in America, may be dispelled or accentuated by a study of the Bohemian immigrants. They began coming to us when, during the counter reformation under Ferdinand II, Austria sent her Protestants to the gallows or to America.

In Baltimore the churches they founded still stand, and a sort of Forefathers’ Day is observed by their descendants, who, though they have lost the speech of their fathers, still cling to the historic date which binds them to a band of noble pioneers—close comrades in spirit to the Pilgrims of New England. Under Austrian rule Bohemia became impoverished physically, mentally, and spiritually; and after the misgovernment of Church and State had done its worst, the flood-tide of immigration set in anew towards this country.

Bohemia grew to be in the last century an industrial state, and the immigrants who came here were half-starved Æs and tailors, who naturally flocked to the large cities. In New York nearly the whole Bohemian population turned itself to the making of cigars, and the East Side, from Fiftieth to about Sixty-fifth Streets, is the centre. In Cleveland, Ohio, more than 45,000 Bohemians live together, while Chicago boasts of a Bohemian population of over 100,000, who nearly all live in one district, which began on Twelfth and Halstead Streets, but now stretches southward almost to the stockyards, with a constant tendency to enlarge its boundary towards the better portions of the city. The large tenement-house is almost altogether absent from this locality, the little frame house of the cigar-box style being the prevailing type of dwelling, and most of the homes are owned by their tenants. This part of the city is as clean as the people can make it in a place where street-cleaning is a lost, or never learned, art. The prevailing dirt is clean dirt, with here and there an inexcusable morass which offends both the eye and the nostril. The whole district is typical of Chicago rather than of Bohemia, and if it were not for the business signs in a strange and unphonetic language, and occasionally a sentence in the same queer speech, one might imagine himself anywhere among any American people of the working class; nor is there a trace of the native country in the interiors, where one finds stuffed parlour furniture, plush albums, lace curtains, ingrain carpets, and a piano or organ—all true and sure indications of American conquest over inherited foreign tastes and habits.

Yet the conquest is only on the surface, for it takes more than a carpet-sweeper to wipe out the love of that language for which Bohemia has suffered untold agony; to which it has clung in spite of the pressure brought to bear upon it by a strong and autocratic government, and which it is trying to preserve in this new home, in which the English language is more powerful to stop foreign speech than is the German in Austria, though backed by force of law and force of arms. With many Bohemian daily newspapers, with publishing houses printing new books each day, with preaching in the native tongue, and with societies in which Bohemian history is taught, the Czechish language will not soon disappear from the streets of Chicago; and language to the Bohemian, as, indeed, to all the Slavs, is history, religion and life.

The Bohemian immigrant comes to us burdened by rather unenviable characteristics, which his American neighbour soon discovers, and the love between them is not great. Coming from a country which has been at war for centuries, and in which to-day a fierce struggle between different nationalities is disrupting a great empire, and clogging the wheels of popular government, he is apt to be quarrelsome, suspicious, jealous, clannish and yet factious; he hates quickly and long, and is unreasoning in his prejudices; yet that for which a people is hated, and which we call characteristic of race or nation, soon disappears under new environment, and the miracle which America works upon the Bohemians is more remarkable than any other of our national achievements. The downcast look so characteristic of them in Prague is nearly gone, the surliness and unfriendliness disappear, and the young Bohemian of the second or third generation is as frank and open as his neighbour with his Anglo-Saxon heritage. I rather pride myself upon my power to detect racial and national marks of even closely related peoples, but in Chicago I was severely tested and failed. I have addressed many Bohemian audiences to which I could pay this compliment, that they looked and listened like Americans; but what thousands of years have plowed into a people cannot be altogether eradicated, and the Bohemian, with all of us, carries his burden of good and evil buried in his bones.

Of all our foreign population he is the most irreligious, fully two-thirds of the 100,000 in Chicago having left the Roman Catholic Church and drifted into the old-fashioned infidelity of Thomas Paine and Robert Ingersoll. Nowhere else have I heard their doctrines so boldly preached, or seen their conclusions so readily accepted, and I have it on the authority of Mr. Geringer, the editor of the Svornost, that there are in Chicago alone three hundred Bohemian societies which teach infidelity, carry on an active propaganda for their unbelief, and also maintain Sunday-schools in which the attendance ranges from thirty to three thousand. One of the most painful and pathetic sights is this attempt to crush God out of the child nature by means of an infidel catechism, the nature of whose teaching is shown by one of the first questions and its answer: “What duty do we owe to God? Inasmuch as there is no God, we owe Him no duty.” As it is always possible to exaggerate the strength of such a movement I called on the editor referred to above, one of the leaders, whose paper, in common with two others, pursues this tendency and daily preaches its destructive creed. Calling at the office of the Svornost, I found Mr. Geringer, a Bohemian of the second generation, frank and open in acknowledging his leadership and the tendency of his paper, although he was less extreme than the statements about him by priests and preachers had led me to suppose. He certainly was much more willing to talk about his people than were the priests upon whom I had called, and I found that his views have not been without change in the fifteen years since I last read his paper. “We are fighting Catholicism rather than religion,” he said; and I added, “A Catholicism in Austria, with its back towards the throne and its face towards the Austrian eagle;” to which he replied, “You have hit the nail on the head.”

In reality, this hatred extends unreasonably to all religion, and among the less educated it amounts to a fanaticism which does not stop short of persecution and personal abuse. Blasphemous expressions and old musty arguments against the Bible are the common topics of conversation among many Bohemian working-men, who hate the sight of a priest, never enter a church, and are thoroughly eaten through by infidelity. They read infidel books about which they argue during the working hour, and the influence of Robert Ingersoll is nowhere more felt than among them. His “Mistakes of Moses” had taken the place of the usual newspaper story, and the editorials are charged by hatred towards the Church and towards Christianity as a whole. The unusual number of suicides among the Bohemians is said to be due to the fact that their secret societies encourage suicide. The books published in Chicago are of a rather low type, and among them are many whose sole purpose it is to vilify the Church.

An unusually coarse materialism pervades that colony. Professor Massarik, of the University of Prague, and a recent visitor to this country, makes this the chief note of his complaint against them. They have singing and Turner societies after the manner of the Germans, but the ideals they foster are really the causes of their materialism and infidelity. The Roman Catholic Church is fighting that spirit by maintaining strong parochial schools, encouraging the organization of lodges under its protection, and it now publishes a daily paper. The Protestants cannot boast of more than one per cent. of members among them, and the three small churches in Chicago are but vaguely felt and are practically no factors in the life of this large population. “We don’t know that they are here,” said one of the infidel leaders, and the Catholics take no notice of them at all. Some Protestant literature is scattered among them but it is not of the highest type, and is not calculated to reach those who need it most.

Chicago is as much a Bohemian centre for America as is Prague for the old Bohemia, and the type of thought found there is duplicated in all the Bohemian centres that I visited; everywhere there is a battle between free thought and Catholicism, and many a household is divided between the Svornost and the Catholic, yet I have good reason to believe that this infidelity is only a desire for a more liberal type of religion, only a strong reaction and not a permanent thing, and I found signs of weakening at every point. The little village of New Prague in southwestern Minnesota is a good example. It is the centre of a large Bohemian agricultural community, and has the reputation of being a “tough” town and quite a nest of infidelity. I found it a clean and prosperous place of 1,500 inhabitants, outwardly neater and better cared for than the ordinary Western village. It has a clean and wholesome-looking hotel, a little Protestant church and a big Catholic church, and the usual variety of stores. I was surprised to find the hotel without the customary bar, and to my question about it the hotel-keeper replied, “I have no use for bars; I ain’t no drinking man and I don’t want nobody else to drink.”

The editor of the New Prague Times had been pointed out to me as the chief infidel, yet I found him an interested reader of The Outlook and kindred literature, and a rather fine type of the liberal Christian. Indeed, while, of course, the Chicago Svornost and its kind find a great many readers, I came to the conclusion that with the infidels were classed all those who refused to go to confession, or had helped to secure a fine edifice for the public school. From the banker, the physician, the druggist, and the photographer, I received additional proof that my conjecture was correct, and the only one who had little to say in praise of these people and much in blame was the village priest, a true type of the Austrian Catholic, who would rule with an iron hand if he could, and who misses the strong support of government. Typical of him was the answer to my question as to his touch with the people in comparison with that of the Austrian priest at home. “You know in Austria the State pays us, and we don’t need to come in close touch with the people, but here it is different; here the people pay, and that alone brings us in closer touch.”

My impression of New Prague is that it is neither “tough” nor infidel; it is true that it has saloons and too many of them, that the Continental Sabbath is the type of its rest-day, but in outward decency and in the degree of intelligence among its professional and business men, it rivals any other town of its size with which I am acquainted. It is surrounded by Irish and American settlements, the first of which it surpasses in order and decency, and is not far from the other in enterprise and an unexpressed desire to establish the kingdom of God upon the earth.

Unfortunately the saloon holds an abnormally large place in the social life of the Bohemians, and beer works its havoc among them socially and politically. The lodges, of which there are legion, are above or beneath saloons, and all societies down to the building and loan associations are in close touch with them. It is the pride of Bohemian Chicago that two of its greatest breweries are in the hands of its countrymen, and brewers and saloon-keepers control much of the Bohemian vote. I asked one of the politicians whether that element was active in politics, and he replied, “Oh, yes; we have five aldermen and the city clerk.” The fact is that they have given Chicago a poor class of officials and have placed their worst infidels in the city council and on the school board. There is not a little avowed Anarchy among them, and a great deal more of Marxian Socialism, one of the daily papers advocating the latter political faith. Just as there is much dangerous half-knowledge on religious subjects, so there is on politics, and the worst and yet the most eloquent arguments I have heard on Socialism, have been by these agitators.

Though the Bohemian is very pugnacious, he is easily led, or rather easily influenced, and in times of political excitement I should say that he would need a great deal of watching. He is much more tenacious of his language and customs than the German, and I have found children of the third generation who spoke English like foreigners. An appeal to his history, to the achievements of his people, awakens in him a great deal of pride, which he easily implants into the hearts of his children. This does not make him a worse American, and in the Bohemian heart George Washington soon has his place by the side of John Huss, and ere long is “first” with these new countrymen.

The Bohemian is intelligent enough to know what he escaped in Austria, and thus values his opportunities in America. Undoubtedly too often he confuses liberty with license, but in this he is not a sinner above others. His greatest sin is his materialism, and he stunts every part of his finer nature to own a house and to have a bank account. Children are robbed of their youth and of the opportunity to obtain a higher education by this hunger after money, and parental authority among the Bohemians has all the rigour of the Austrian absolutism which they have transplanted, but which they cannot maintain very long, for young Bohemia is quickly infected by young America, and a small-sized revolution is soon started in every household. It is then that the first generation thinks its bitterest thoughts about this country and its baleful influence upon the young. In fact, the second generation is rather profligate in “sowing its wild oats,” which are reaped in the police courts in the shape of fines for drunkenness, disorderly conduct, and assault and battery.

The Bohemian is among the best of our immigrants, and yet may easily be the worst, for when I have watched him in political riots in Prague and Pilsen, or during strikes in our own country I have found him easily inflamed, bitter and relentless in his hate, and destructive in his wild passion. He has lacked sane leaders in his own country, as he lacks well-balanced leaders in this. The settlement and missionary workers in Chicago find him rather hard material to deal with, for he is unapproachable, not easily handled, and repels them by his suspicious nature and outward unloveliness, although he is better than he seems, and not quite so good as he thinks himself to be, for humility is not one of his virtues. He develops best where he has the best example, and upon the farms of Minnesota and Nebraska he is second only to the German, whose close neighbour he is and with whom he lives in peace, strange as it may seem. The Bohemian is here to stay, and scarcely any of those who come will ever stand again upon St. Charles bridge, and watch their native Moldava as it winds itself along the ancient battlements of “Golden Prague,” as they love to call their capital. America is their home, “for better or for worse”; they love it passionately; and yet one who knows their history, every page of it aflame with war, need not wonder that they turn often to their past and dwell on it, lingering there with fond regret.

Some years ago, while I was in Prague, Antonin Dvorák, the composer, celebrated his sixtieth birthday, and the National Opera-house was the scene of a gala performance and a great demonstration in his honour. They gave his national dances in the form of a grand ballet, and to the notes of those wild and melancholy strains of the mazurka, the kolo, and the krakovyan, came all the Slavic tribes in their picturesque garb, and all were greeted by thunderous applause as they planted their national banners. At last came a stranger from across the sea, and in his hand was a flag, the Stars and Stripes, while to greet him came Bohemia, with Bohemia’s colours waving in her hands; and these two received the greatest applause of that memorable evening.

These two are in the heart of this stranger. Faithful to the old, he will ever be loyal to the new. How to be loyal to this flag in times of peace; at the ballot-box, on the streets of Cleveland during a strike, as a citizen and alderman in Chicago, is the great lesson which he needs to learn, and we need to learn it with him. He will remain a Bohemian longest in the agricultural districts of Minnesota and Nebraska, where he holds tenaciously to the speech of his forefathers; but, in spite of that, I consider him a better American than his brother in the city. He needs to find here a Christianity which will satisfy his spiritual nature and which will become the law of his life, a religion which binds him and yet will make him truly free; and that we all need to find. Above all, he has to resist the temptation to make bread out of stone, to use all his powers to make a living and none of them to make a life; and that is a temptation which we must all learn to resist, for neither men nor nations can “live by bread alone.”

XVI

LITTLE HUNGARY

THE initiated New Yorker knows half a dozen restaurants at the edge of the great Ghetto, where eating and drinking are a pleasure bought for a modest price, and where the fragrance of fine cigars mingles with that of better wine, and good fellowship reigns supreme. Some of these restaurants are splendidly furnished, and cater to the lucrative trade of those Americans who have had a taste of the social life of Southern Europe and who like to lapse into its mild sins every once in a while.

One of these places, now so fashionable that the real Hungarian rarely darkens its doors, where the popping of champagne corks is heard in the early morning hours, and where the oyster and lobster have almost entirely supplanted the native Gulyas,—is one of the pioneers among them, and in its early days served as a boarding house for the Hungarian Jews who, for one reason or another, had exiled themselves from the gay boulevards of Budapest. Here they tried to find consolation in food cooked Magyar fashion, and in playing for a few hours at “Clabrias,” their social game of cards, which could also occasionally degenerate into gambling. The keeper of the place whose Semitic name of Cohen had been changed into the Magyar, Koronyi, recovered the fortune which he had lost in the Old Country, but in spite of the fact that his bank account grew larger every day, he still kept the boarding house as he had always kept it, with his wife as the cook and himself as the waiter.

In stentorian voice he would call out: “Harom Lövös” (three soups) or “Harom Gulyas” (three Hungarian stews). Into the kitchen and out of it he would rush with full and empty plates, in evident enjoyment of his hard task.

The reputation of the place travelled as far as Broadway, and great was the day when rich clothing merchants came to eat his twenty-five cent dinner with evident relish; but still greater the day when their Gentile customers were brought thither to taste of the fleshpots of “Little Hungary.”

With increased speed he would run to the kitchen calling: “Harom Lövös,” returning with three plates of soup upon his outstretched arm, unburdened by a coat sleeve; and his bank account grew and his children also.

Two sons, boys still, helped the father call out the orders, until they came to a realization of the dignity of the business and the size of their father’s bank account. It was a sorry day for Simon Koronyi when bills of fare appeared upon his tables. They were there only after a bitter struggle which cost him many a sleepless night. With the bills of fare came waitresses, leaving the old man no occupation but to stand silently, and receive the quarters which were heaped in great piles in the till, while he grew daily more silent and morose.

The sons had caught the enterprising spirit of this country; they bought a lot on a street a few blocks nearer Broadway and built a house with a suggestion of Hungary in its style. The dining-room was frescoed in Hungarian scenes, with mottoes in the Magyar tongue, and was soon transformed into a fashionable resort.

Simon Koronyi, the founder of “Little Hungary,” moved into the house reluctantly. Stormy scenes followed the introduction of American dishes into the bill of fare, and when as a last straw a cash register appeared on the counter, the old man’s heart almost broke. Hesitatingly, his gentle old fingers moved over the keys of the machine, but he was pushed rudely aside by the hurrying hand of his younger son. Thus dishonoured in the sight of his guests, Simon Koronyi, tottering like a drunken man, went to his apartments up-stairs, and there remained until the “Chevra Kedisha,” the Jewish Funeral Society, carried him to his last resting place.


A few blocks north of these fashionable “Little Hungarys,” the real Hungary begins, and hither come the “Magyars” as the ruling race in Hungary is called. If you call them Slavs they will reject it as an insult.

The Magyar has not the slightest relation to the Slavs, unless it be that of ruling a portion of them with a rather iron hand, and hating all of them proportionately. The Magyar’s closest relation is to the Finns on the north and to the Turks in the east of Europe, and he is classed anthropologically as a Ugro-Finn. In his development he has leaned closely to the west, having a Germanic culture while still retaining a somewhat untamed Asiatic nature, which manifests itself in nothing worse than a love of fast horses, fiery wine, and the wild music with which the gypsy bewitches him, and draws the loose change out of the pockets of his tight-fitting trousers.

In that strange conglomerate of races and nationalities called the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Magyar has gained a dominant influence, and although numerically among the smallest, he has gained for himself the greatest privileges, and practically dictates the policy of the Empire. Upon those rich plains by the Danube and the Theis, he has been a plowman who enjoyed the fruits of his toil as long as the marauding Turk would let him, furnishing wheat and corn for the rest of Europe, and gaining not a little wealth since his arch-enemy has been driven back into peace. What he has made of his country in the last forty years of internal and external peace, how he has created for himself a capital which surpasses Vienna, and built factories and railroads unrivalled anywhere, forms a glorious page in the history of Europe.

From this comparatively wealthy country; from its freedom, its broad prairies and its picturesque village life, there have come to America one hundred thousand men and women who are hard to wean from this Magyar land, but who, like all others, finally lose themselves in the national life, bringing into it fewer vices and more virtues than we ever connect with the Hungarian as he is superficially known among us. In Little Hungary rosy-cheeked maidens with bare arms akimbo, stand in many a doorway while their swains court them on the street as they were in the habit of doing at home. Nearly every second house advertises “Sor-Bor” or “Palenka” for sale—the wine, beer, and whiskey to which the Magyar is devoted; everywhere one hears the sound of the cymbal, that unpromising instrument which looks more like a kitchen utensil than anything else, but out of which the gypsy hammers sweet music. Little Hungary has but a small domain in New York; it ends abruptly with more restaurants in which gulyas, the favourite stew of the Magyar, lures the appetite; close by is Little Bohemia, and finally the big Germany which overshadows every other nationality.

The Hungary of New York, however, is only a stopping place,—is more Jewish than Magyar, and consequently does not promise a good field for observation. In Cleveland some twenty thousand Magyars live together round about those giant steel mills which send their black smoke like a pall over that much alive but very dirty city. Although street after street is occupied solely by them, I have not seen a house that shows neglect, and the battle with Cleveland dirt is waged fiercely here, judging by the clean doorsteps, window-panes, and white curtains which I saw at nearly every house. A large Catholic church, with its parochial school dedicated to St. Elizabeth, the Hungarian queen, shows that the Magyar does not neglect his religion. There are also a Greek Catholic church and a flourishing Protestant congregation. A weekly newspaper keeps the Hungarians in touch with one another and with the homeland, although it does not represent the Magyar spirit either by its contents or through the personality of its editor, who has no influence among his countrymen. I looked in vain for a Hungarian political “boss,” for no party can claim these people exclusively. Social Democracy has made great gains among them, which is due in no small measure to the fact that they come from a comparatively wealthy country, from conditions which are not unbearable, and from something of ease and comfort; and so, finding the work in the iron-mills hard and grinding, they soon grow dissatisfied, which means—Social Democracy. A sort of pessimistic philosophy is developed, and the happy Hungarians grow melancholy, dejected, and homesick. They cling with rare tenacity to the fatherland, in which they have a just pride, and whenever the opportunity offers itself they show how much they love it. The erection of a monument to Louis Kossuth by men and women of the labouring classes, the enthusiasm with which it was dedicated, the festivities which recalled by speech, song, and dress the greatness of the man whose memory they honoured, speak much for their idealistic and loyal love of country.

Of all foreigners the Hungarians are among the most tolerant towards the Jews, who live in large numbers in Hungary, while Hungarian Jews in Cleveland love to be known as Magyars and are treated as such by their fellow countrymen. The Magyar’s good nature is also shown by his treatment of the gypsies, who have followed him in large numbers to America, and are really a sort of parasite, being supported by the easy-going and pleasure-loving Magyars, who dance the czardas to the fiery notes of fiddles and cymbals whose owners finally possess the largest portion of their patron’s wages.

The Hungarian gypsy boy, who is supposed to choose between the violin and the penny, must in most cases take the two, for in Hungary as in America he is both musician and thief with equal adeptness. One gypsy in Cleveland keeps a saloon which is a combination of the Hungarian “czarda” (inn) and its American namesake, the saloon, and it combines the evils of both institutions. The regular bar is supplemented by rickety chairs and tables and a clear space for the dancing floor, without which the Hungarian czarda does not exist. On Saturday night, the soot of the week washed away, the Hungarian is found here in all his native glory. His moustache, twisted to the fineness of a needle-point, is his most prominent national characteristic, unless it be his small, shining eyes which barely escape looking out into the world from Mongolian openings. A small head and prominent cheek-bones are also characteristic, while the colour of the hair is dark brown and black, the blond being almost unknown. He differentiates himself from his neighbour the Slav by his agility of both temper and limbs, and to see him dance a czardas, to hear him sing it and the gypsy play it, is as good as seeing that other acrobatic performance, a circus. When the gypsy inn-keeper knows that his guests have pay-day money in their pockets, he has ready a band of gypsies, who look shabby enough, and very unpromising from an artistic standpoint; the leader, who plays the first violin, tunes it with remarkable care and tenderness, the second violin scrapes a few hoarse notes after him, the bass-viol comes in grudgingly, and the cymbal-player exercises his fingers by beating cotton-wrapped sticks over the strings of his strange instrument. One patriotic youth, who has had just enough liquid fire poured into him, now lifts his voice and sings a song of the puszta (the Hungarian prairie), of the horses and cattle which graze upon it, and of the buxom maiden who draws water from the village well. Slowly, pathetically, almost painfully melancholy, the notes ring out as if the singer were bewailing some great loss, the musicians follow upon their instruments as sorrowful mourners follow a hearse; but all at once the measure becomes brisk and the notes jubilant, the singer and the musicians are caught as by a fever, faster and faster the bows fly over the strings, the cymbal is beaten furiously, and the bass-viol seems in a roaring rage.

HO FOR THE PRAIRIE!

From Roumania to the sheep farms of the west is a long journey. Those
who make it, form a most useful element in the development of the
country.
HO FOR THE PRAIRIE!
From Roumania to the sheep farms of the west is a long journey. Those who make it, form a most useful element in the development of the country.

Sunday morning finds the dancers sobered and reverent on the way to church, most of them going to the Roman Catholic church, in which a zealous priest blesses, but is not blessed by them. Seldom have I found among foreigners such frank criticism of the priest and yet such loyalty to the Church. The Hungarian Catholic is not narrow; he is much more liberal than the Slav or the German Austrian, and a bigoted priest may hold him to the Church but will not win him to himself. It is always hard to judge of a priest or preacher from the reports of disgruntled members of his flock, but the Catholics seldom speak ill of their shepherd unless there is much hard truth to tell. The following, which I heard from trustworthy sources, is characteristic. At a meeting of one of the lodges the motion was made to have a mass said on a certain memorial day; the priest arose to second the motion, and said, “We have two kinds of mass, the five-dollar and the ten-dollar one, and I would not advise you to have the cheap one.” True or untrue, the fact remains that this priest has built a fine church and a magnificent parochial school. He is a good financier, and I doubt not that he is such for the glory of his Church and not for his own enrichment; I can testify to the fact that he has done much good, that he has quieted much turbulence, that he is not a friend of strong drink, and that he is a narrow but exceedingly careful shepherd of his flock.

The Greek Catholic priest in Cleveland was driven from the church by his independent parishioners, who found him not only a good financier, but a bad man, a “peddler in holy goods,” as they called him, who was ready to dispense his blessing to man and beast for money, large or small, or for a drink more often large than small. The Protestant church is shepherded by a young man from the Oberlin Theological Seminary, who is in touch with the American life and its interpretation of the Christian Church and ministry.

The Protestant Hungarian is, as a rule, better educated, morally on a higher level, and in America more quickly assimilated, than his Catholic brother. In Hungary this has well-defined causes. First, splendidly equipped Protestant ministers, not a few of them graduates of English and Scotch universities and imbued by the Puritan spirit of those countries. Second, a Protestant theology of the Calvinistic type, which, harsh and hard as it is, makes everywhere strong men and women, and which in Hungary distinguishes the Calvinistic communities from the Catholic by a severer philosophy of life and a much more moral conduct. The third cause may in the eyes of some persons be the most real one. Wherever a religious community is in the minority and is or has been severely persecuted, it becomes thrifty and highly moral. Whatever the reason, the fact exists and is a pleasant one to chronicle.

Not so pleasant is the problem that, in common with all foreigners, the Magyar presents. Neither church, priest, nor preacher holds authority over him very long after he reaches these shores. He rebels against, loses interest in his church, and finally ceases to support it; neglect not seldom ends in hate, and a rude atheism is a common disease among these people. Besides this, it is not easy to find enough and suitable priests and preachers for these foreigners, as slight differences in language call for different pastors, and in Cleveland alone the Church could use advantageously men of twenty nationalities of whose existence the average man has scarcely any idea. The imported pastor is almost always in discord with his congregation, which is generally in accord with the freer American spirit and cannot be treated as he treated his parish in Hungary or Poland. Many, perhaps most, of the pastors who are educated abroad have no sympathy with the democratic spirit of our country, and they frequently complain of its effect upon their authority. I met one such priest on his way back to Europe. He was leaving his work because, as he said, “I could find nobody in my parish to black my boots, for everybody considered himself as good as I am. In the old country my people would stop on the street and kiss my hand, but here the children say, ‘Hello, Father,’ and go on their way.” The ministers trained in America are few, and these are yet young and inexperienced.

The English Protestant churches are not seriously concerned about this growing problem, the solution of which does not consist only in building missions and paying money into the treasury, but also in presenting to these foreigners a living, acting, and blessing Christ, who, when uplifted, draws all men unto Him.

It is good to be able to say of people who come to a strange country, as of the Hungarian, that they maintain their integrity. He is, as a rule, honest, easily imposed upon, somewhat quarrelsome, addicted to drink, not so industrious as the Slav but much more intelligent, comprehending more easily and assimilating more quickly. He is not a problem but a lesson. Crossing the ocean in December on the Red Star Line steamer Vaterland, I found among the mixture of steerage passengers over two hundred Magyars, or, as we more exactly call them, Hungarians. I was eager to know what they were carrying home to their native country after years of living with us, and I found that many of them seemed completely untouched by the American life. Their language, spoken by but a few people in Europe, is almost unknown in America, and the man without a language is almost always “the man without a country.” If anything, these poor creatures seemed worse than when they came, for many of them had failed and were broken in spirit. Some whose tongues had become loosened were aware of the larger life, and were full of the praises of America. They were going back to look again upon the village in which they were born, in which they made whistles from the hanging willows by the creek, where they chased the pigs into the mud-puddles, where they lived their small and simple life, and to which they were now returning as travelled men. They had crossed the ocean, seen miles of earth, had struggled with wind and weather, felt freedom’s breezes blow, and had grown mightily. Brain, heart, and soul had developed, or perhaps only changed, but even change is experience, if not always life and growth. It was good to talk to these men who had “arrived,” who saw things as we see them and felt them as we feel them, and who carried American flags in their pockets to show to their friends and who gloried in their American citizenship. “I love the old country,” said one of them, “but I love America more. Stay in Hungary? Oh, no! I do not even want to die there, but if I do, I want them to wrap me in this shroud,” and he pulled out of his pocket the Stars and Stripes.

XVII

THE ITALIAN AT HOME

SOMBRE as is the Slavic world, from which both Jew and Slav emigrate, so bright and joyous is all Italy the home of most of the Latins who come to us.

Nowhere in Europe does the sky seem so blue, the stars so brilliant in their setting, or the colour of earth and sea so entrancing. Approach it as you will it fills you and thrills you with pleasure unspeakable, and to eyes accustomed to the sober plains of Russia and the dull colourlessness of her villages, it seems as unreal as a dream or the stage setting of grand opera.

Venice, Genoa, Naples, Milan, Florence, Rome; these names conjure more in one’s vision than the pen can record. But one could mention a hundred little spots to us nameless, towns with their own beauty, with their own art treasures and their own large influences upon the history of mankind. All Italy has mountains and plains, the North and the South, vast natural contrasts; yet there is everywhere the one inexplicable charm which makes the name of the country synonymous with beauty and art.

Yet while Italy is one the Italian is not. A great gulf still divides the people of different provinces and districts, and old political divisions still survive, leaving their marks upon the speech, and the character of the individual. All the older and newer invasions have left their traces, and wherever an alien army has come, it has plowed its way with the sword into the life of these impressionable people.

Where the Slav has touched the Italian, you see his heavy finger marks in a rougher exterior, a slower gait, a harsher speech, more industry and less art. Where the Austro-Germans have enthralled and governed him you will find him more governable, more sedate, more a statesman and less a revolutionist, “a captain of industry” rather than a leader of brigands, more a business man and less a dreamer. Where the French crossed the mountains they made a gateway for their tastes and habits, which blended quickly and easily into the Italian character, for the Italians were never very unlike the French who were their friends and enemies in turn, and often both at the same time. Where the Arabians and the Greek touched the South with thought and thoughtfulness, with culture and vices, with rest and restlessness, these contrasts are accentuated in the Italian, who, although small in stature, is great in passions and desires.

Yet frugality and industry have been forced upon him by the climate and by economic conditions. The rest of Europe long ago became conscious of this fact. When railroads just began to be built the Italian blasted his way through the mountains, and I am sure there is not a tunnel which he did not help to dig, and perhaps not a great stone bridge whose foundations he did not lay. Until comparatively recently the Italian seemed indispensable in all such undertakings and in a greater portion of Europe his camp could be seen wherever the railroad was making a new path for civilization.

Never given to alcoholic excess like the Slav, more inventive than his duller competitor, easily adjusted to any task or condition; he would lie uncomplainingly in a ditch were the weather hot or cold, wet or dry, and for a comparatively small wage do a day’s full work, which the natives of these countries seemed unable to do.

The pioneer of Italian migrations was his lazier brother, who, with a trained monkey and a hand-organ out of tune, made his way from place to place; he also came first across the Atlantic and caused many of us to believe that he was the typical Italian.

The tourist who is besieged by the beggars in Naples, and who sees the lazy Lazzaroni stretched out upon the ground with his face turned towards the baking sun, sees the exceptional Italian, although this exception seems to be numerous.

As a rule the Italian asks for but little in life. He lives on olives and macaroni, cornmeal mush or Polenta, as it is called, and is content. He rarely drinks to excess, his wine being often watered to such a degree that it can no more be called an alcoholic beverage. His home need not be either beautiful or commodious when all out of doors is his, when God has set ornaments into the heavens and calls out of the earth such beauties as no mortal can reproduce. The very rags which cover his body become picturesque as the sunlight plays upon them with its wonderful colouring.

Satisfied as is the Italian at home by his condition, he is equally unsatisfied with any restraint by authority; lawlessness has cut so deep into his life, that it may be said to be a natural characteristic. The root of it lies in the fact that for centuries the lawmakers were aliens and conquerors, the laws being made for the strong and not for the weak; to oppress and not to protect.

Brigandage and heroism often became synonymous, while murder and theft were easily excused upon the grounds of expediency. Much of this spirit has remained in all classes of society, especially in the south, and the population is so used to it, that the criminal is more often pitied than condemned, while the people would rather put a halo around the heads of assassins and murderers, than a rope about their necks. Modern psychology, under the leadership of the Italian physician Lombroso, has encouraged this leniency towards criminals and the Italian when he can find no other excuse for a crime lays it to hereditary influences, which make the criminal still more an unfortunate man. Rarely does he call a prison by its right name; it is the “place for unfortunates.” The criminal is regarded as an unfortunate one, and heinous indeed must be the crime which is looked upon as more than a misfortune.

The various secret societies in Italy which once had political bearing, have become largely a menace to organized society, and a school for the worst kind of crimes. The consequence is that many of the criminals who come to our shores are Italians who are trying to escape punishment or who are entangled in the meshes of the Maffia or Camorra, and the officials are very glad to have their room rather than their company. Evidences are not lacking that their way out is made easy, even if it cannot be proved that the government aids them to come.

It does not follow that the Italian is dishonest; he compares well with the average European who comes to us, but in his ethics he is decidedly mixed, and his poetical temper does not always help him to tell the exact truth. His exceeding great politeness prevents him from saying no when he means it, and often when one feels himself aggrieved by what seems a deception, it is only an overplus of good manners. He is extremely amorous in his wooing, jealous when he has attained his end, and fights for his love to the death. He is generous, if not chivalrous to his wife, and with proper training in America he may become a docile husband. Even now he is one of the few European fathers who may push a baby carriage through the streets without losing caste by it. Travelling through Italy I have come upon many a husband who took complete charge of the baby during the journey, while his wife looked out of the window and enjoyed the leisure. The ties which bind him to his wife are rather easily broken, due to the fact that many marriages are contracted early, so that the wife passes from youth to age quickly, and great family cares are apt to make him feel that he would better move on.

Socialism tinged by anarchy has deeply eaten into the life of the common people and is regarded by most Italians as an important factor in the control of the government, in which corruption and graft are nearly as common as in Russia. While better conditions are in sight they have not yet come, and taxation is as heavy as it is unjustly raised and distributed.

Eighty-four per cent of all the taxes raised are expended upon the national debt, the administration and defense; while all the rest of the national needs must be met by only seventeen per cent. But 2.79 per cent. of that sum is used for education, the consequence being that fifty per cent. of the population of Italy are illiterate, that the public schools, both government and church schools, are poor, and that the high schools and universities are suffering from the lack of proper equipment and are not able to keep pace with modern advancement in education. Compulsory education is a law never enforced, and yet suffrage depends upon the ability to read and write; therefore over 6,000,000 voters are robbed of their right to vote. The king is loved for the simplicity of his life, the honesty of his purposes, and for his adaptability to modern thought and conditions. But this cannot be said of most of his ministers and state officials. The accepted name for an official used to be and in a measure still is “Goberno Ladro,” which means government thief.

The Italian is a good business man and a good organizer, having a talent for the dollar which to-day makes him a new business force in Europe, and one to be reckoned with; especially if he improves his business morals, which are very poor.

In spite of the fact that Italy is the centre of the most dogmatic Christian Church, the Italian is tolerant towards those of other faith or race, even while being superstitious to a degree. He loves the pomp and splendour of the Church but has not been deeply touched by her ethical features, and is in a measure, as much pagan as when his forefathers worshipped local deities; although now he calls them patron saints.

One might justly accuse the Catholic clergy of not having risen to their responsibility, of having increased the enmity rather than the love of a large portion of the population, of having played politics on the off side and of having had no social vision. But a charge like this though true, has back of it certain facts which would, perchance, show us the Roman priests in a better light. There are priests and priests, bishops and bishops, even as there are popes and popes. If the clergy of Italy was made after the pattern of the present Pope, if it had his spirit, his devotion and his piety, the Italian might still become a Christian who would prove the power of his faith and who would be thoroughly genuine and tolerant; not a dogmatist, a thorough optimist, a man of great faith, and consequently not a good politician.

We know enough of Pope Pius X to wish for Italy and for America also that he might become the model for all Roman Catholics; then indeed the immigrant would be to us no problem but a blessing. Yet one cannot judge the hierarchy by the Pope, and there are in Italy not a few discerning men who distrust the Church the more, in the measure in which it has a good Pope behind whom to hide its evil designs.

Yet who that has looked into the face of Pope Pius X will ever forget its strong, yet sweet manliness? He must indeed have no religious sensibilities who does not realize when in his presence that he is face to face with a man of God. Shortly after his elevation to his office he stood before a congregation of some ten thousand people who filled the court of St. Damassia. His face shone from the pleasure of loving those who stood before him, and they could not help loving him. He began to speak, and gradually a deep-felt silence crept over the vast assemblage. “I am so glad,” he said, “my dearly beloved friends, to see so many of you here, and I thank you all from the depths of my heart. They tell me that society is corrupt, full of weakness and disease, a sickly dying body, but I,” he said, and his voice was filled by the strength of his faith, “do not believe it.” He then told the simple story of the child which Jesus raised from the dead; he told it as simply as it was written, as a disciple of Jesus who was an eye-witness might have told it to the humble folk of Judea. He told how Jesus with His companions came, how He looked upon the girl, and as He laid His hands upon her head said, “The child is not dead; it is not true.”

With his face bathed in a flame of holy passion the great pope and preacher said to the breathless multitude: “Non e vero”—it is not true; “Non lo credo”—I do not believe it; “and if we all cling to one another I believe that humanity still has vitality, and that it will come to full life and health, as long ago did the little child in Palestine.”

As I look upon the Italian at home with his many social diseases which have so deeply eaten into his life that one might judge him incurable—I nevertheless say: “Non e vero, Non lo credo.” It is not true, I do not believe it. True, my faith in his healing does not rest with the Pope, in spite of his native piety and his sterling character. The Italian is sick and sore because the Church which has so long been his physician, acknowledges no error, and even its humble Pope will not persuade it that it must radically change its treatment; this not only for the sake of Italy but for the sake of America also. The most dangerous element which can come to us from any country, is that which comes smarting under real or fancied wrongs, committed by those who should have been its helpers and healers. Such an element Italy furnishes in a remarkably great degree, and I have no hesitation in saying that it is our most dangerous element.

XVIII

THE ITALIAN IN AMERICA

IT is hard to determine how long it is since the first Savoyard came to our country with his trained bears, making them dance to the squeaky notes of his reed instrument, as he wandered from town to town. He and the man with the monkey and organ were of the same adventurous stock, and they were the vanguard of a vast army of men who were to come; first with a push-cart, later with shovel and pickax. Not to destroy, but to build up and to help in the great conquest of nature’s resources, so abundantly bestowed upon this continent.

While the average Italian immigrant is not regarded by any of us as a public benefactor, it is a question just how far we could have stretched our railways and ditches without him; for he now furnishes the largest percentage of the kind of labour which we call unskilled, and he is found wherever a shovel of earth needs to be turned, or a bed of rock is to be blasted. Hundreds of thousands come each year and each one of them fits into the work awaiting him, moving on to a new task when the old one is finished. The kind of work which they do calls for unattached, migrating labour, and eighty per cent. of those who come have no marriage ties to hinder their movements. When the winter comes and out of door work grows slack, or when the labour market is depressed, these unattached forces return to Italy and bask in its sunshine until conditions for labour on this side of the sea grow brighter. Their quarters, which are as near as possible to their work, are easily recognized; not because they are more slovenly than their neighbours, but because there is such a “helter skelter, I don’t care” sort of atmosphere about their squalor. This comes from the fact that they regard their quarters as purely temporary, and treat them as one might a camping-ground, which to-morrow is to be abandoned for a better site.

Like all foreigners, they prefer to be among their own; not so much from a feeling of clannishness, although that is not absent; but because among their own, they are safe from that ridicule which borders on cruelty, and with which the average American treats nearly every stranger not of his complexion or speech.

In passing through Connecticut, where nearly each large town has its Italian colony, I found one lonely Italian asking the conductor whether this was the train for New York. “Which way want you go?” (Usually the American thinks that the foreigner can understand poor English.) All the Italian knew, he repeated: “New York—New York.” The conductor left the puzzled man standing on the platform and the train moved on. I remained with the Italian and saw him three times treated similarly, if not worse, and I concluded that it is not very safe for the Italian to distribute himself too thinly over this continent.

The Italian usually moves into quarters formerly occupied by the Irish or Jews, whose demands have risen with their better earnings, and who have left the congested districts for the uptown or the suburbs. At present it is no doubt true that the Italian is satisfied by these quarters, and that what nobody wants, he is ready to take. So it is that he comes to the edges of the great Ghetto in New York, to Bleecker Street and beyond, and that his trail leads almost into the heart of it. Jewish and Italian push-cart peddlers stand side by side, the Italian barber shop seeks Semitic customers, the smells from the “Genoese Restaurant” blend with those from the “Kosher Kitchen,” and the air is disturbed by the perfumes of garlic and paprika, a combination not half so bad as it smells.

In Chicago, “Little Italy” hovered around a large district condemned to the sheltering of vice, and when good business sense dictated that it be moved to some less conspicuous portion of the town, it was immediately invaded by Italians. Scarcely a day had passed, yet the change made was as complete as it was revolutionary. Large plate windows were broken and pillows were stuck into the aperture to keep out the lake breeze; the broad stairways which had led to destruction were slippery now, but not so dangerous as before; the large parlours were divided and subdivided, while the gay paper was torn from the walls; it looked as though conquerors had come who were bent upon destruction. A happy change was manifest in the streets, for it was full of children, and the innocent face of a child had not been seen in those streets for years.

Housing conditions among the Italians are as bad as can be imagined and the most crowded quarters in our cities are those inhabited by them. Four hundred and ninety-two families in one block is the record, and it is held by New York, on Prince Street, between Mott and Elizabeth Streets; while Philadelphia can boast of having the most unwholesome tenements, where air is a luxury and daylight unknown. In that city thirty families numbering 123 persons, were living in thirty-four rooms.

Of course the landlord who builds these shacks and the community which tolerates them, are equally to blame. Both commit a crime against society, but a good share of the blame must fall upon the Italian himself for being satisfied with such surroundings. He is of course anxious to save money, and a decent dwelling in our large cities is a luxury; so he who at home used the heavens for the roof of his tenement, and the long street for his parlour, is naturally content with but a small shelter for the night.

Considering the conditions under which the Italians live, their quarters are not nearly so bad as one might expect, and when a period of prosperity has come upon the community, when it can look back upon a year or two of consecutive work, they show in common with other foreign quarters, decided improvement.

Rather characteristic is the tenement district of Hartford, Conn., which has gone through all the stages of such districts in other cities, is no better than they, and in many respects worse. There are buildings occupied which would be condemned elsewhere as unfit for human habitation. There are whole blocks which look damp, dingy and dirty; ancient structures, with filth oozing from every pore.

Jews and Italians are the chief inhabitants of this district, although one comes across a stranded American family here and there, the dregs of New England, the most hopeless people in this new city of ancient tenements. The two nationalities live rather close together, and it is a mixture of Russian and Italian dirt, the Italian article being much the cleaner.

Walk through the streets with me and you will readily forget that you are in America. Here Pietro, the shoemaker, on his three-legged stool, mends boots out on the streets; while Lorenzo shaves his customer upon the pavement in front of his shop. Gossiping groups of swarthy neighbours sit together upon the threshhold of their homes, and Bianca, Lorenzo’s wife, is complaining in a loud voice that Pietro, the shoemaker, has called her a hussy. “And he a low-down Sicilian, a good for nothing, has called me, the barber’s wife, a hussy.” She is rousing the ire of her neighbours, and woe to Pietro, for Lorenzo’s wife has a temper.

They do look so unchanged as yet, nearly all of them—so genuinely homely, as if they had landed but yesterday; and they have not yet gone through the transforming process, except as Francesco, the chief of the hurdy-gurdy grinders, has changed one or two tunes of his repertoire; for he appeases the New England conscience by playing “Nearer, My God to Thee,” with variations, “Rock of Ages,” closely followed by “Tammany,” and airs from Cavaliero Rusticana.

If the Italian in Hartford were less handicapped by the wretched conditions of his dwelling, he would more easily be able to utilize the splendid advantages of that city. As it is, he rises very slowly but perceptibly; although he lives in the worst possible houses, he is growing more and more cleanly; he is gaining in self-respect and when he has had the opportunity and the experience of the Irish people, he will probably not only duplicate their splendid record in New England and elsewhere, but excel it. Slowly but surely he is rising from a tenement dweller to a tenement owner and soon he “will do others as he was done,” and charge exorbitant rent for uninhabitable quarters.

The Italian is regarded as a good asset in the real estate business, for he can be crowded more than any other human being. He is fairly prompt with his rent and he does not make heavy demands in the way of improvements. This he himself appreciates, for he has business sense, and buys real estate as soon as he can invest his small earnings. Usually he acquires a small house with a large mortgage. He moves into the house at once, proceeds to draw revenue from every available corner, and in a few years lifts the mortgage and is on his way to buy more real estate.

The value of the business is proved by the fact that in the Italian quarters in New York 800 Italians are owners of houses, a large proportion of course being tenements of the worst character, which nevertheless, represent the respectable value of $15,000,000. A like large sum lies in the savings banks of that city, deposited by Italian immigrants; while the total value of all the property owned by them in the city of New York alone, is not far from $70,000,000. These figures, I must confess, do not impress me, for the sufferings endured and meted out for the sake of these earnings are terrible, and in the “tit for tat” of our economic order the Italian gives as good as he gets. The narrow quarters he rents are invariably sublet, and he imposes upon the newcomer conditions as hard as, or harder than, those under which he began life in the land of the free. The hardest conditions are those he imposes upon his wife and children; yet he is not a cruel husband or father, and shares their hard labour, often making the children part owners of what they earn. Of course the western and southern cities where the Italians have settled make a better showing, for they are not the men who came but yesterday; they have had a larger opportunity and have made full use of it. Italian clubs, opera houses, and Chambers of Commerce, are being organized in the western and southern cities; and one can judge of the quality of our Italian immigrant best, where the struggle for life is not too keen, the surroundings not so terribly depressing, and where the American spirit has had a chance to be grafted upon the Latin stock. More and more he is leaving the city and in the Southwest especially, colonies of Italians are springing up and are conducted with such eminent success, that with some encouragement, the Italian may be made helpful in reclaiming our arid deserts, even as he is now making the rocky hill farms of Connecticut and Massachusetts to “blossom as the rose.”

Among these settlements, that at Bryan, Texas, is the most notable. It is composed of what we usually call the least desirable Italian element, the Sicilian. Nearly twenty-five hundred people have settled there as renters, although not a few of them are owners of the land they work. Some eighteen miles separate the various families, all of whom come from near Palermo, and have lived together in reasonable harmony, making rapid financial progress. They are as peaceful a community as is found in so turbulent a state as Texas. In Utah and California the progress made is still more marked; and proves that the Italian like the rest of us needs only a fair chance.

I have had good opportunity also to observe him in his migratory state, attached to a construction crew on the railroad, and tenting by a cut in the rock, or by the western fields.

Usually the farmer fears his coming. The word “Dago” has in it an element of dread; it carries the sound of the dagger, and the dynamite bomb. The far away villager who sees the camp approaching fears its proximity. I have watched the Italians coming and going and although there was a heated brawl at times, they quarrelled among themselves, disturbed nobody, left the hen coops of the farmers untouched, did not burn down the village, and paid decently for their food. When they went away a fairly good source of revenue had disappeared and with it a good share of unreasoning prejudice.

THE BOSS

Where a shovel of earth is to be turned, or a bed of rock is to be
blasted, there the Italian, unattached, migratory, contributes his share
to the public welfare.
THE BOSS
Where a shovel of earth is to be turned, or a bed of rock is to be blasted, there the Italian, unattached, migratory, contributes his share to the public welfare.

As competitors in certain fields of activity they are justly feared by those who have regarded those fields as their own peculiar province; and they are pushing the Russian Jew very hard in his monopoly of the manufacture of clothing. The nimble fingers of the Italian woman, her lesser demands upon life, and the ease with which she carries the burdens of wifehood and motherhood, have enabled her to outdistance the workers of the Ghetto, although the strife is still on and the issue not decided. Yet I believe that the future clothing worker in America will be the Italian and not the Jew; for the Jew loves life and its good things, and moreover he has educational ambitions for his children, which the Italian does not yet feel, he being a sinner above all others in the use of his children’s labour. The Chicago truant officers have had the privilege of arresting nearly all the parents of one “Little Italy” at least once; for almost every child of school age was kept at home and “sweated” for all the strength it possessed.

The Italian is very fertile in inventing excuses for the purpose of evading the law, and his ethical standard in that direction is still extremely low. This comes from his inherited hatred of all governmental restrictions; he still thinks that the state seeks only its own good and his hurt, in its insistence upon the education of his children. Substantially this is the Italian’s attitude towards law in general; and to that in a large measure is due the fact that he rates relatively high in the statistics of crime.

I have thus far refrained from using statistics, largely because they may be juggled with, as has been done very successfully; just as zealots juggle with Bible texts to prove their contentions. I have done something besides gathering figures, and that something may be of importance. I have visited nearly all the penitentiaries in the eastern and western States; not to ask how many foreigners there are in jail, but to ask why and how they were convicted, what their present behaviour is; to look the men and women squarely in the face and to converse with them. Let me say here again, emphatically, that statistics are misleading and that in spite of the large number of Italians in prison, there are by far fewer criminals among them than the statistics indicate. In a large number of cases, the crimes for which the Italian suffers, have grown out of local usage in his old home. None the less are they justly punished here, lest they be permitted to perpetuate themselves in the new home.

Most of the Italians in prison have used the stiletto and the pistol too freely, just as they used them at home when jealousy made them mad, or when they were in pursuit of vengeance for real or fancied wrongs. There are not a few real criminals who have used the weapon for gain, but in the majority of cases the stabbing or shooting was an affair of honour with those concerned, and even the aggrieved parties preferred to suffer in silence and die, bequeathing their grudge to the next generation, rather than bring the affair before a sordid court. Testimony in such cases is very hard to get, and I have seen many a wounded Italian bite his lips, inwardly groaning, and suffering in silence, unwilling to let strange ears hear the proud secret of which he was the keeper and the victim.

Italian burglars have not reached proficiency enough to have a place in the “Hall of Infamy,” and bank robbers and “hold-up” men need not yet fear serious competition from that source. The prisons contain many Italians who transgressed out of ignorance as well as from passion; numbers suffer because they do not know the language of the court, and did not have enough coin of the realm.

The worst thing about the Italians is that they have no sense of shame or remorse. I have not yet found one of them who was sorry for anything except that he had been caught; and in his own eyes and in the eyes of his friends, he is “unfortunate” when he is in prison and “lucky” when he comes out. “He no bad” his neighbour says: “He good, he just caught,” and when he comes out, he is received like a hero.

This is the severest indictment that can be brought against the Italian, and it is severe enough; but it comes largely from his attitude towards the State and from the nature of the crime. Lillian Betts, who knows her foreigners critically and sympathetically, says: “In New York, the streets the Italians live in are the most neglected, the able head of this department claiming that cleanliness is impossible where the Italian lives. The truth is that preparation for cleanliness in our foreign colonies is wholly inadequate. The police despise the Italian except for his voting power. He feels the contempt but with the wisdom of his race he keeps his crimes foreign, and defies this department more successfully than the public generally knows. He is a peaceable citizen in spite of the peculiar race crimes which startle the public. The criminals are as one to a thousand of these people. On Sundays watch these colonies. The streets are literally crowded from house line to house line, as far as the eye can see, but not a policeman in sight, nor occasion for one. Laughter, song, discussion, exchange of epithet, but no disturbance. They mind their own business as no other nation, and carry it to the point of crime when they protect their own criminal. Like every other human being in God’s beautiful world, they have the vices of their virtues. It is for us to learn the last to prevent the first.”

In spite of the fact that Italy seems to be the land of beggars, the Italian immigrant is rarely a medicant and (according to Jacob Riis), among the street beggars of New York, the Irish lead with fifteen per cent., the native Americans follow with twelve, the Germans with eight, while the Italian shows but two per cent. In the almshouses of New York the Italian occupies the enviable position of having the smallest representation, with Ireland having 1,617 persons and Italy but nineteen; while the figures for the United States are equally favourable.

Considering the congested conditions of the tenements, the Italian retains much of his inherited vigour, but consumption which plays havoc with him in this uncongenial climate is aggravated by his mode of living that is so entirely changed. Especially do the women and children suffer, for they are suddenly transferred from a complete out-of-door life to the prison-like walls of the tenements.

In Chicago I visited a family in which I had become interested through a son who was in constant antagonism to the school law and who was the special pet of the truant officers. When I first saw these people they occupied two rear rooms in which the mother had been for three months without once going out of doors. She was coughing constantly although hard at work making vests; and the husband could not understand how her red cheeks could so soon have disappeared, or why her colour was as yellow as the light of the coal oil lamp by which she worked ten of the fourteen working hours of the day. Thomasio, the son, was stunted physically and mentally, and the mark of the tenement was upon him. He was the oldest of eight children and had borne the burden of his seven brothers and sisters as if it were his own. While the other boys were playing on the sidewalk, he had to rock the baby. Through seven years he had rarely seen God’s out of doors, except as it shone upon him through a little spot in the air shaft of the tenement. He and his parents hated the school and the school officers who were after him, and that c-a-t spells cat will be as much as he will know of all the mysteries, in spite of the zealous truant officers and teachers, lay and clerical. The public schools will be unable to work their magic not only upon Thomasio and his family of seven, but upon numbers of the same kind, reared under the same circumstances, for even before they were born they were robbed of their mental and physical background, and their horizon will always be bounded, more or less, by garbage cans, barrels of stale beer, wash-tubs full of soiled clothing, and by cradles full of little bambinos.

Nevertheless the Italian is not a degenerate; he usually survives the wretched years of his infancy and then like all people who share his environment, grows up less rugged, perhaps more subtle, and hardened to some things which would prove a very serious handicap to those of us who know the value of pure air and of soap and water.

It would seem upon a superficial glance that the large incursion of Italians to America would add strength to the Roman Catholic Church here, and that their coming into a community would be welcomed because of that; but I have found almost the opposite to be true. The Irish priests do not like them; they lack the serious devotion to the Church which characterizes Irish or German parishioners, they care only for the show element in religion and are not willing to pay even for that. They will come to church on great holidays, when many candles are lighted and banners are carried; but they do not bother themselves to come to early mass, nor are they the best attendants at the confessional. They will spend much money upon showy funerals and christenings, but if the Catholic Church were dependent for its support upon the Italian immigrants it would fare badly. This of course may be due to the fact that they are very poor and that in Italy the Church is comparatively rich; but it is most largely due to the fact that, contrary to the common opinion, the Italian is not religious by nature, that as a rule he has no understanding for the serious and ethical side of religion, that he is a heathen still who needs to have his spiritual nature discovered and stirred, after which he should have the alphabet of the gospel preached to him in the simplest possible way. The Italian priest in America is the poorest kind of vehicle for that purpose; in proof of which I quote Lillian W. Betts because she cannot be accused of prejudice in the light of the conclusions which she draws:

“To one who knows and appreciates the great spiritual life of the Roman Catholic Church, the relation between that Church and the mass of the Italians in this country is a source of grief, for it does not hold in the lives of this people the place it should. 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 eight thousand dollars by supplying one thousand labourers to a railroad. He collected five dollars from each man as railroad fare, though transportation was given by the road, and three dollars 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.

“The claim is made that the parochial school has the advantage that it gives religious as well as secular instruction. Observing and comparing the children living under the same environment who attended the public and parochial schools, I found that they did equally good work in English, but that the public schools did very much better work in arithmetic. The time given in the public schools to the so-called “fads and frills” was apparently given in the parochial school to religious exercises and instruction, with about an equal degree of comprehension and application on the part of the pupils. There was no difference in the appreciation of truth, honesty or peace. They lied, stole and fought without showing distinction in training. The singing voices of the children in the public schools were far better trained than the voices of children in the parochial schools.

“What the Italian needs in New York above all things is his church in the full possession of its great spiritual power; young men born in this country, imbued with a love of and appreciation of its great opportunities, trained for the priesthood, to work and live among the Italians; in the interval before this is accomplished, a novitiate of at least five years for all foreign-born and trained priests before they are put in charge of an American parish; the establishing of music schools in connection with all the Roman Catholic churches in the foreign colonies; the rapid disappearance of the Italian parish because the people have become American. Above all, the immediate suppression of all proselyting among these people. Their Church is in their blood. The veneer, which is all the new church connection is, stifles the vital breath of the soul, and leaves the so-called convert without a Church. The exceptions prove the rule. Remove the temptation of the loaves and fishes in this proselyting endeavour and see how successful the effort is. Let the Catholic Church in America live at her highest among these people, and the political problems they create will disappear.”

I do not fully agree with the author of the above; but I join with her heartily in the desire expressed in her last sentence. I would also add: let the Protestant Church live her highest before these people; let her take her share in the responsibilities which these strangers bring, without a thought of proselyting them; and she will find that her efforts are needed, and are not in vain.

XIX

WHERE GREEK MEETS GREEK

A BAGGAGE wagon heavily loaded by bags and trunks, and half lost to view in the muddy street and against the muddier sky of Chicago, stopped in front of the saloon to the Acropolis, on Halstead Street. The baggage man was surrounded by an angry mob, for he demanded four dollars for his trip, and that, the unsuspecting immigrants were unwilling to pay. In this they were supported by their countrymen who had come out of the saloon to welcome them to New Greece, which is unpicturesquely located on the West side of Chicago, between dives and cheap restaurants on one side, and the busy Ghetto on the other. Men of all nationalities, if of no occupation, gathered about the haggling crowd, and the baggage man received the support of the mob, for he wore a Union button, and the war cry: “It’s the Union price” was the Shibboleth by which the Greeks were vanquished and made to pay the four dollars; not of course, without having spent an hour in their national pastime of haggling for the price.

The driver mounted his quickly emptied wagon, with a curse upon the “Dagos,” and the crowd informally discussed for a while the immigration question; its verdict being, that it is time to shut our doors against the Greeks, for they are a poor lot from which to make good American citizens.

The crowd dispersed as quickly as it came and the freshly landed Greeks entered the gates of the “Acropolis,” a Greek saloon and restaurant combination, not unlike (externally at least) its American prototype on the same street, where the saloon is decidedly at its worst.

The newcomers were feasted on black olives, brown bread and goat’s cheese; for the Greek is very loyal to the national appetite,—and they immediately begin to plan their entrance into the busy life of America, through the avenues of barter or of labour.

It is not to be wondered at that the crowd which knows nothing of the Greeks, called them “Dagos,” for it would be hard even for one who knows them only from the classic past, properly to place this group of men, were it not that their speech betrayed the ancient heritage.

We never picture the heroes of Greek epics, undersized, like these moderns; round headed, looking into the world out of small, black, piercing eyes, their complexion sallow and their hair straight and black. We too, would place them nearer modern Palermo than ancient Athens, and judge their blood to have flowed through the veins of rough Albanese mountaineers and crude Slavic plowmen, rather than through the perfect bodies of those Greeks who have dissolved with their myths, and who disappeared when Mt. Olympus was deserted by its divine tenantry.

These modern Greeks have retained much of their past, stored in their memories at least, and scarcely one of those whom I have met but knows the Iliad and the Odyssey, or whose black eyes do not sparkle proudly when he recounts the glory of those Attic days.

They are still eager to know, even more eager to tell what they know, and a brave front is not the least part of the equipment of the modern Greek. A consuming pride which amounts to conceit, shuts his eyes to his own faults as well as to the virtues of other races, and he will long hold himself aloof from the hopper which grinds us all into the same kind of grist.

“Where do these men come from, Mr. B?” I asked the keeper of the classic bar of the “Acropolis.” “They are all Athenians.” Every Greek is, although cradled in some island unrenowned either in the past or the present. “Why do they come to Chicago? To make money?” I answer my own question. “Oh, no!” replies the classic barkeeper, delicately ironical. “They are not poor, no Greek is ever poor, even if he cannot buy five cents’ worth of black olives.” “Do they come here because they have a better chance?” “Chance? why, everyone of these men was on the way to become a Demarch (Mayor). They have come here to learn American ways, and incidentally to enrich American culture by their presence.”

Full of this pride and confidence in themselves, they are nevertheless ready to blacken our boots for ten cents, and they do it remarkably well, displacing negroes and Italians, until later, they open stores and sell American candies to an undiscriminating public, hungry for the cheap sweets. No labour is too hard for them, although they prefer to stand behind the counter. More or less, all the Greeks will finally be in trades of some kind, and monopolists in all of them. At present, their eyes are on bootblacking and confectionery stores, nearly every town of any size in the United States being invaded by them, so that their presence is beginning to be felt.

The modern Greek still has the license of the poet, and he uses the license whether he has the poetry or not. I think he is happiest when he exaggerates to no one’s hurt; albeit, like the rest of us he does not always stop to ask whether it hurts or not. Conceit and deceit are as close relatives as poetry and lying, and to Greeks and Americans they often look strangely alike.

If the modern Greek is a hero, he is a cautious one and recklessness is not one of his faults. He is no “Plunger,” but moves along the “straight and narrow way which leadeth to”—a big bank account. Contented by little, he does not despise the much, and although he is not meek, he will inherit a fair share of this earth’s goods. Born with democratic instincts, he soon feels himself as good as anybody, and when he grows sleek and fat, he selects “the chief seat in the synagogue” or some other lofty height, from which he looks in disdain upon his poorer brothers.

While hospitable, he has become strangely suspicious of strangers, and he is not a good bedfellow for he likes to occupy the whole bed. If it is a settlement which opens its doors to him it becomes all his, and he does not shrink from intimidation as a means of driving the Italian or the Jew from its welcoming gates.

He is industrious and temperate, yet he likes to lounge about the saloons where he sometimes gets too much of his native wine and then he can be a really bad fellow.

In his native village he is as chaste as the women, but in America he has a bad name and the neighbourhood in which he lives is not regarded as the safest for unprotected women. The Chicago police especially, has an eye upon his candy stores which are supposed to be as immoral as they often are uninviting. The fact that in the Chicago colony, 10,000 Greeks live, practically without their wives, explains this situation, and it is just possible that 10,000 Americans under the same conditions would not act differently.

The police in New Greece is not on a good footing with the inhabitants, and occasionally shooting and stabbing occur. At such times it is difficult to know who is more to blame; the police or the supposed culprits.

The modern Greek is still punctiliously pious, his church and priest follow him into every settlement, and he is loyal to the forms of his religion. It is doubtful whether here or in the Old World, it discloses to him the ethical teachings of Jesus; but in this, we are in a poor condition to “cast the first stone” at him. His priest is not servilely revered or feared, and the relation between them is too often that of buyer and seller. The priest has the means of grace, the Greek is in need of them for salvation, and he pays for what he gets,—sometimes reluctantly.

At present it would fare ill with any one who would try to wean him from his Church; for loyalty to it is loyalty to Greece, and the Greek has never been a turn-coat.

No more patriotic people ever came to us than these modern Greeks, and although that patriotism is centred upon their native country, they will ultimately make good citizens, and even before that day, make splendid politicians; for in the craft of politics every Greek is an adept, and he is a “Mighty (place) hunter before the Lord.”

The only trouble with the government of modern Greece is, that it has not enough offices for all the aspirants for them, and this learned proletariat is a fair sized menace in this little country. In governing themselves the modern Greeks have not been a conspicuous success, and the only things we can teach them in this line are, the willingness to acknowledge failure and the eagerness with which we seek the better way.

The New Greece of Chicago, a few blocks in a busy thoroughfare, is not a large world, yet it is more Greek than the Ghetto is Russian or Little Sicily is Italian. Homes in the true sense there are but few, because the women have not yet come; the housing conditions of the Greeks are bad and likely to remain so for a long time. There are grocery stores containing little or no American food; saloons, by far too many, but providing food and drink at the same time as is the custom in Greece; a Greek bank, the front windows of which are covered by the advertisements of steamship transportation companies; clothing and dry-goods stores, whose proprietors are Greeks, although their stock in trade is necessarily American; and the Greek church with a double cross to mark its orthodoxy;—this is New Greece.

Out of it some of our newly arrived immigrants will go in the morning, to the railroad tracks, to do the digging and the ditching. They will be “bossed” by “Big Pete,” whose size is exceeded only by the length of his oaths, and who boasts of being able to handle his countrymen easily, because: “The Greeks can be handled only by a man who can show them that he is a better man, and that I am; and if you don’t believe it, feel my muscle. I pay them $1.50 a day and I treat them like Greeks.”

I watched “Big Pete” treat them like Greeks for half a day, and I did not discover that such treatment saved a man from being geared to the highest notch and made to work incessantly, while “Big Pete” watched and cursed to help the pace.

The same night that they arrived, some of the young boys were looked over by the men of the Greek colony, who had assisted them to come, and whose labour was theirs until the passage money was paid, and paid with interest. The next morning they began their tutelage in blacking boots in so-called parlours, whose walls are covered by chromos depicting Greek wars in which the Greeks are always the victors and the Turks are slaughtered like sheep at the stockyards; there are also one or two pictures of classic ruins.

In such surroundings, and seemingly unconscious of the life about them, these boys will blacken boots for eighteen hours a day, with heart, mind and soul in Greece; and their fingers in America only when they handle our coin. They will attempt no conversation, even after they know our speech, literally obeying the Scriptural injunction to say “Yea, yea and nay, nay,” and not much else if they can help it. They are not nearly so communicative as the Italians, and although a smile sits well on a Greek face, I have rarely seen one there.

The confectionery stores which are outside of New Greece, are open all the time, at least so long as a customer may be expected, and although these customers are nearly all Americans, the Greeks have few friends among them. They all return to New Greece as often as possible, and there their virtues unfold, and “their soul delights itself in fatness.” They are not exceeded even by the Chinese in that loyalty to native food which I call the patriotism of the stomach, and a Greek grocery store is filled from one end to the other with food from the classic isles. There are dried vegetables whose present form does not betray their natural shape, but which taste luscious, because the flavour of the native soil clings to them; fish, dried, pickled and preserved in some form, and cheese made from the milk of goats whose horns butted broken classic vases instead of modern tin cans.

The smells seem ancient, too; but in these the Greek revels, and here he is at home.

New Greece in Chicago is fortunate in having as one of its boundaries, Hull House, one of the numerous activities of which consists in trying to discover the possible point of contact between the home-born and the stranger.

A Greek play given at Hull House opened the eyes of many American people to the fact that the past is alive in the modern Greek, and at a banquet, also at Hull House, where Americans and Greeks vied with each other in extolling the glory of Athens, the wealth of the past was again richly displayed. How near the American and the Greek have come to each other through these two notable events, it is difficult to tell; but I am sure that they have increased the pride of the Greeks, and have given us an added respect for them.

But after all, they will be judged by the way they live to-day and by the measure in which these small, dark-haired traders and workers exemplify in their lives the virtues of those men of old, whose names they have inherited and whose fame they are eager to preserve.

XX

THE NEW AMERICAN AND THE NEW PROBLEM

THE miracle of assimilation wrought upon the older type of immigration, gives to many of us, at least the hope, that the Slavs, Jews, Italians, Hungarians and Greeks will blend into our life as easily as did the Germans, the Scandinavians and the Irish.

The new immigrant, or the new American, as I call him, is however in many respects, more of an alien than that older class which was related to the native stock by race, speech, or religious ties. Therefore, I recognize the fact that it is easy to be too optimistic about this assimilation, and to regard the Americanizing of the stranger accomplished, when he discards his picturesque native garb and speech, to disappear in the commonplaceness of our attire; or when he has mastered the intricacies of American idioms.

Outwardly the changes will be the same as those which have taken place among the older immigrants, accomplished with the same dispatch, even where the foreigners are segregated in their own quarters. I have in mind a Polish colony of some six thousand souls in a New England town where there are Polish churches, Polish schools, Polish “butchers, bakers, and candlestick-makers”; and yet if you walk through that section of the city you will see the women who a few years ago, when they landed, wore the numberless short skirts and picturesque waists of their own making, now sweeping the dust with long trailing skirts, their ample forms encased in corsets and shirt-waists; while here and there you will hear even the rustle of the silk lining.

The boys who upon landing wore coarse linen trousers and shirts have long ago rebelled against these marks of their Old Country lineage, and their fathers have bought them the short trousers and shirt-waists, which make them look like young Americans.

If you are careful to observe, you will see that the children wear stockings and underwear; luxuries undreamed of in the Old World, where boots and shoes were the signs of manhood or womanhood, and where stockings were unknown to the peasantry, being the marks of a high calling and fine breeding.

Especially on Sunday that quarter of the town looks resplendent in its newness, and the latest American fashions are reflected by the women who are never a season behind in expanding or reducing to proper proportions, their sleeves, which they wear short or long, very nearly as the ladies do, who at that moment have entered the portals of the great meeting house, the bulwark of American ideals in New England. It is true that they all still eat black bread, drink vodka, and say: “Pshas creff” when angry; but in eating, drinking and swearing, the whole colony is on the way to complete Americanization, and one need have no fear that externally the Slav, Italian and Jew will not “eat of the fruit of the tree of the garden and become like one of us.”

The same thing is a fact in the matter of external racial characteristics. The things which seem to us the most ineradicable and written as if by an “iron pen upon the rock” are in most cases but chalk marks on a blackboard, so easily are they washed away.

These things created by long ages of neglect, hunger, persecution and climate, are often lost within one generation. The crowd on Rivington Street in New York looks less Jewish than that in Warsaw, and the Bohemians in Chicago look so like “us,” that in spite of the fact that I have some training in detecting racial marks, I am often puzzled and mistaken.

IN AN EVENING SCHOOL. NEW YORK.

American, Armenian, Austrian, Bohemian, Cuban, Dane, Dutch, Finlander,
French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Mexican,
Negro, Norwegian, Pole, Roumanian, Russian, Scotch, Slovak, Spanish,
Swede, Swiss. Can you tell them apart?
IN AN EVENING SCHOOL. NEW YORK.
American, Armenian, Austrian, Bohemian, Cuban, Dane, Dutch, Finlander, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, Negro, Norwegian, Pole, Roumanian, Russian, Scotch, Slovak, Spanish, Swede, Swiss. Can you tell them apart?

Give me the immigrant on board of ship, and I will distinguish without hesitation the Bulgarian from the Servian, the Slovak from the Russian, and the Northern Italian from the Sicilian; but as I have said, I often have the greatest difficulty in accomplishing such a feat, two or three years after the men have landed. It is true that in the first generation, the old racial marks still lie in the foreground, and that even in the second generation, the blood will speak out here and there; but it will require a very sharp scrutiny to detect this, and in the most cases there will be no hint of the past.

In Chicago, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, St. Louis and St. Paul I have addressed audiences composed of Slavs and of native Americans; and I have vainly tried to distinguish them one from the other in the mass, although of course when I had a very close and long look, I could make my differentiation. These racial marks are most tenacious among certain Orientals where strange strains of blood have accentuated the difference; but I have seen some Armenians, people bearing the mark of their race most strongly, who after ten years of life in America, had lost the peculiar sharpness of their features and were in that stage of transition where the American image was being imprinted upon them.

Scarcely a foreigner returns home after a long sojourn in America without hearing at every step that he looks different. The Jew on board of ship, to whom I have previously referred, who was warned not to wear an American flag because it might cost him money in Europe, was right when he said: “They will see it in mine face that I am from America.”

I do not wish to be as dogmatic in my assertions as Mr. Prescott F. Hall, the Secretary of the Restriction Immigration League is in his. He believes that we shall be the inheritors of all the disagreeable racial characteristics which the immigrant brings with him. It is still too early to foretell; the new American has not been long enough with us, and moreover the whole question of racial characteristics is still an open one.

Nevertheless in face of the undisputed fact that these outward racial marks disappear, may we not also believe that with them go the peculiar racial qualities which mark and mar the life of the stranger?

Mr. Hall has many figures with which to prove his side of the case; I have but a few facts gathered from rather intimate association with certain groups of foreigners.

Take for instance the Polish peasant. It is a fact that in the Old World he is known for his inability to distinguish between “mine and thine,” and between truth and falsehood. The Polish proverb says: “The peasant will steal anything except millstones and hot iron,” and I know of instances where the only thing untrue about the saying was the last saving clause. In this country I have been in nearly every one of the Polish communities and neither thieving nor lying is laid to their charge. The little town of Marblehead, Ohio, located in a peninsula in Lake Erie is peopled largely by Poles and Slovaks who find employment in the large stone quarries. Around them are prosperous farms, large orchards and vineyards. I took pains to inquire especially what was the attitude of these Slavs towards stock, chickens, and fruit which did not belong to them; and not one of the neighbouring farmers complained of having had anything stolen from his premises, although these Slavs have lived in that neighbourhood nearly twenty years.

In the Old World pigs had to be locked in their sties; they were not safe even after they were butchered. Grain disappeared, even when it was vigilantly guarded from the time it was a blade of grass until it was in the barn. The Polish and Slovak peasants were thievish in the Old Country because they were hungry, and their wage was not sufficient to buy enough bread. In Marblehead they have bread enough and to spare, as well as meat and fruit for little money—they do not have to steal.

In the Old World they lied and stole because they were driven by necessity. When a Polish regiment came to any town in Austria, women had to be especially guarded against their lust; but no such charge has been brought against the regiments of young labourers who have come to American cities, and who are everywhere regarded as chaste as their American brothers. In the matter of intemperance they have so far remained as bad as their reputation; but the average mining camp is rarely in a Prohibition district and the example set by the Americans they meet is not conducive to sobriety.

The Jew is certainly distinctive; his faith and fate alike have guarded his racial qualities; yet he must be blind indeed, who does not see a vast change going on, within as well as without. The Jew is still a sharp bargainer, but in that peculiarity the Yankee is giving him “pointers,” and he will have to grow sharper still if he wishes to keep up in the race. His business talent is likely to increase because he is in a business atmosphere; but his business methods will change and have changed, because his inner being is undergoing a transformation. Subtle as these changes are I have traced them and can detect them even in the crowd which is a far different mass from that of the Jews of Europe, a fact which recently I saw very clearly illustrated.

It was the Jewish anniversary of the death of the great Zionist leader, Theodore Hertzl. In front of the Grand Opera House in Hartford, Conn., were large Yiddish placards announcing the fact, and all the evening crowds of men, women and children passed into the building filling every available space on floor and in galleries. The dignitaries of Hartford’s Jewry sat in the boxes, and young men and women passed through the crowd, securing members for the various Jewish societies. It was an orderly assembly, more orderly than any synagogue meeting I ever attended in Russia. America had toned them down, they were less excited, although even here a policeman had quite a hard task in disposing of one man who insisted upon entering, in spite of the fact that he had lost his ticket.

These people had learned the first lesson in self-government—self-control; or rather, they were in the way of learning it. They still swayed to and fro with the movement of the speaker, a habit acquired in the Talmud schools and practiced at their worship; but one could see the younger element holding the older in check, and the older keeping itself in check for the sake of its children who had learned American ways. There was an indescribable gain in their looks, in those faces where greed, suffering and brutal hate had left their deep traces.

It was a look of hope akin to joy, some such triumphant gladness as the Jew would feel if the portals of his New Jerusalem were to open again to the King of Glory. My own heart throbbed gladly when I beheld them for I saw the gain they had made in manhood and womanhood.

The program was also a hopeful thing. It was long enough for the meeting of one of our learned societies and the men had the habit of stealing one another’s text and time; but whether they were apt learners or had imported the habit I do not know. The first address was by the mayor of the city and he was greeted like a friend and spoke like one. It was not the flattering speech of a politician but a scholarly, sympathetic address, of one who knew Israel’s past and who sympathized with her aspirations. He knew all about the Zionist movement and about Dr. Hertzl and spoke as one who was thoroughly acquainted with his subject. After he had finished speaking the chairman said, “Whenever I hear a Christian speak of Israel as this man has spoken, I feel like saying, ‘Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.’”

On the whole it may be said that these new Americans are in that stage of cultural development or undevelopment, which makes it probable that so strong and virile a people as that among whom their lot is cast, will impress them so forcibly, that those things which we call racial characteristics will after a while disappear.

Whether we shall enrich this New American by our own ideals, whether we shall implant in him the broad culture of our own spiritual and intellectual heritage, is a real problem whose solving may puzzle even future generations.

I do not believe that any of the people who come to us, speaking of races and nationalities as a whole, are degenerate, or so hardened that they are not capable of assimilation and transformation. Although as I have said, this cannot yet be proved by our own experience, we can reason with some assurance from the experience of countries in which these strangers who come to us are also regarded as aliens and subjects; and where their way upward is retarded rather than helped as it is on this side of the great sea.

Let me take as an example the Slovak, one of the crudest Slavic types, who bears all the marks of the Slav in his features and in all his inner being. In his own home he belonged to a subject race; for the Magyar being more powerful and more warlike, was his ruler. In the villages where this Slovak lives he has been in touch with the Magyar and also with the Germanic element, to a greater or less degree. I have noticed this: That wherever he has had a chance, wherever political and economic difficulties were not too great, he grew into the full stature of the man above him; and in the long struggle for racial supremacy in Hungary, the Slav has not yet said the last word. Physically, morally and spiritually, he equals the Magyar or the German; that is, wherever the opportunity is not taken from him by wrong economic and political adjustment.

I hold no brief for the Slovak or for any Slav; there are many things in his nature which are repellent. He is too much of a realist by nature for my taste, and there is a certain kind of crudeness and cruelty in his make up, from both of which I have had occasion to suffer. Yet in spite of these handicaps I believe that, given the proper environment and the proper example, or if you please the proper masters, he will develop into that kind of American which we, the average, are. He usually takes more than he leaves behind; he inherits more than he bequeaths; he is human material in the rough; very, very rough but human material nevertheless. Made of as good clay as any of us, although perhaps not yet fashioned into the best mould. The moulding will be the problem; for the New American is more Slavic than anything else.

A SLAV OF THE BALKANS

Sometimes crude, often very rough human material. To mould him is the
problem, a problem too, not so difficult as many think.
A SLAV OF THE BALKANS
Sometimes crude, often very rough human material. To mould him is the problem, a problem too, not so difficult as many think.

The Jews, a subject race everywhere, have suffered so much from friends and foes alike, that to defend or accuse them would be a work of supererogation. It is, however, undeniably true, that Judaism in America faces a greater crisis than it faced in the captivity of Babylon. There Judaism was made, here it is being unmade; there foes tried to make the Jews forget Jerusalem, here their friends have difficulty in making them remember it; there a hope of the Messiah grew up within them, here the term is so strange to them that it needs reiteration and interpretation. The loss to Judaism in America amounts to a catastrophe, and from the present outlook its complete dissolution is merely a matter of time, only retarded by the constant influx of immigrants from Russia and Poland. The average Jew in America has become so American that he does not remember the hole from which he was dug, or that Abraham was his father and that Sarah bore him.

A certain vague racial fealty holds one Jew to the other; but a strong and mighty passion holds him to America, making him so much an American and so little a Jew. It may be true that the leopard does not change his spots; but even the leopard may lose his spots when he does not need them. Many of the racial marks of Jew and Gentile alike will disappear when the need of them passes away; and they will take on readily other marks which fit them for a better environment.

The problem with the Jew is not how to make him less a Jew; but how to make him a better Jew, and consequently a better American; for Judaism properly interpreted has in it all the elements to make of men good citizens, good neighbours and good friends.

At the conclusion of a lecture recently, a rather stupid but zealous man asked me regarding the Jews. “Can we trust them with the Constitution?” It was a stupid question asked by a stupid man. God trusted them with the oracles, the Commandments and the prophecies; the richest spiritual gifts in the keeping of the Deity. To be sure, they broke nearly all the Commandments and killed their prophets; but we have done the same thing; and the Constitution is as safe in the hands of the Jew, as the Bible is in the hands of the Gentile.

Granting that each one of these races will bequeath us something evil, let us take the standpoint of the secretary of the Immigration Restriction League and see to what we shall fall heir. We shall get from the Slav his crudity, from the Jew his sharpness, from the Italian his mobility, from the Armenian his Oriental shrewdness, which is akin to lying, from the Magyar a fiery temper; from each of them something which we call ill. When these disagreeable qualities are properly proportioned and balanced, they may so counteract one another, that in the sum total we may after all be the gainers. It seems absurd to go about this matter mathematically, whether one traces the possible gain or loss.

The truth is, that up to this date, in spite of the fact that already Slav, Jewish and Italian blood flows in the veins of some of us: in spite of the fact that these people fill the cities almost to overflowing, there is no perceptible physical or moral degeneration visible which can be traced to the foreigner.

The quarters of American cities where the foreigners live are not the worst quarters; and I would rather trust myself in the dark, to the mysteries of Hester Street than to certain portions of the West side exclusively populated by a certain type of degenerate Americans. Recently a professor of economics in one of our universities asked me to show him those terrible parts of New York where the foreigners live; where the children are said to be so unhappy, the men so oppressed by poverty; and where the women have not enough to wear. I took him across the Bowery, which has lost its terrors since it became foreign territory, across the streets of the Ghetto and along its avenues. We found the supposed unhappy children, well dressed and well fed, dancing to the notes of the hurdy-gurdy grinder, as happy as children naturally are, who do not have many “manners to mind,” whose playground is the street, and who have music from morning till nightfall. We walked through endless rows of tenements and saw men engaged in lawful pursuits; from the garret to the cellars the Ghetto was a beehive of industry. We saw no street loafers, drunkards or idlers. In “Little Hungary,” where we ate and enjoyed a daintily served dinner, we loitered until evening, when we met a vast army of men and women who came pouring in from Broadway’s stores and shops, walking with that pride and happiness which comes from the consciousness of having done a day’s work, and done it well. My friend was very much disappointed because he saw no horrors, no unhappy children or unhappy men.

Again we passed the Bowery, going on to the American section of New York, the Rialto. Here were horrors enough; whole blocks where there were no children; for both the very wicked and the very rich are not blessed by them. Young and old men, fashionably dressed and properly tipsy, went in to cheap shows, saloons and brothels, to have a “good time.” These young men, rich sons of rich fathers, and these old men, are idlers and perverters of their own passions. They and they alone are the great problem which we have need to fear; for it is a problem which cannot be solved. In the fashionable restaurants of Fifth Avenue and Upper Broadway, we saw the women “who toil not neither do they spin,” and who, with all the Heavenly Father’s care, were not properly clothed. They too, more than the women of the Ghetto, are the problem we need to study; for among them and by them are lost our democracy, our purity and our virtue.

I fear more from a certain type of Jew on Upper Broadway, than I do from the Jew of the Ghetto; even as I fear more from a certain type of over-ripe Americans than I do from this undeveloped peasantry. The question which the American faces is not whether the foreigner can be assimilated, but who will do the assimilating. Not even the question whether the foreigner is the inferior need concern us; for in the race which is now on and at its height, the American just described is left behind; and those of us who are watching the race are not at all amazed.

In nearly all the manufacturing towns of New England, the Swede and the German are forging to the front, while the Pole and the Italian are following closely; but the sons of the shrewd and inventive Yankees are keeping fast company, riding in fast automobiles, and drinking strong cocktails. They will soon be in the rear because of physical, mental and spiritual bankruptcy.

It does not follow that these New Americans do not present a racial problem; but the problem is largely one of assimilating power on our part. The real problem is: Whether the American is virile enough and not so much whether the foreign material is of the proper quality. I have no doubt as to either proposition; I believe that there is still remarkable assimilating power left which increases rather than decreases with the mixture of blood. I also believe that the average New American is like wax, hard wax sometimes,—perhaps more like lead or steel; but he will be moulded into our image and bear the marks of our characteristics whatever they may be.

As I write this I realize that I am saying “us” and “our” as if I were not a New American myself and one of those who make up the racial problem. Yet when I recall to myself the fact that I too belong to an alien race, it comes to me like a shock; when I realize that I was born beneath another flag and that this is but my adopted country, it gives me almost a sense of shame that I have in a great degree, if not altogether, forgotten these facts, and I am so completely and absorbingly an American, that I can write “us” and “our,” speak of my own people as foreigners, and of my own native country as a strange land. Something has so wrought upon me that in spite of the fact that I came to this country in my young manhood, I look upon America as my Fatherland. That same power is still active; still strong enough to repeat the miracle of the yesterday; for I am no better than these millions who are regarded as a menace. I came here with the same blood as theirs and the same heritage of good or ill, bequeathed by my race; yet I feel myself completely one with all which this country possesses, that is worth living for and dying for. With millions of these New Americans I say to-day that which we shall continue to say, whether it fares well or ill with our adopted country: “Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.”

XXI

THE NEW AMERICAN AND OLD PROBLEMS

“COMPETITION is the life of prejudice” is an old truth, in a somewhat new setting. Back of the prejudice against Jew, Italian and Slav, is this fact: they are monopolizing certain departments of labour and trades, and in nearly every activity they are beginning to be felt in competition. The Swede is regarded as treacherous by the man whose place he has taken in the machine shops East and West; the Slovak and Pole are called dirty and unreliable by the miners whom they have supplanted in Pennsylvania, and the Jew is accused of trickery by the American who has a clothing store on the next corner. Under whatever name the feeling against the foreigner hides itself, it usually is in substance the fear of competition; and every law restricting immigration has been with the idea of protecting American labour.

Nevertheless the economic problem presented by the New American is ill-defined, largely formulated by conflicting business interests, and is still only a question of the labour market. As a rule it may be said that the immigrant is willing to work only for the standard rate of wage; and whether that rate has been lowered by the recent influx of immigrants remains an undecided question. There are as reliable figures to prove that it has increased, as that it has decreased. The reports and resolutions of Labour Unions are coloured by self-interest as much as are the reports of Manufacturers’ Associations.

It is an undisputed fact that the New England loom workers have been largely displaced by the Irish and by French Canadians; and that Greeks, Armenians and Syrians are now displacing these in turn. The native New Englander however has not suffered by the process; for the foreman, the forewoman and the man who invents the loom and makes it, are these New Englanders, who do something more and better than merely keep the spindles full. It is true that the Irishman no longer has the supremacy on railroad sections, and that he has been supplanted; but not even by the wildest imagination can we say that this Irishman has suffered in the process; for is he not now policeman, fireman, alderman or some other kind of man where formerly he was only a hand on a section?

A similar change has taken place in all channels of activity; whether this is for good or ill, I am not ready to say. While no doubt exists in any mind that there are foreigners who are willing to work for less than the standard wage, it is because they do not yet know what that standard is; or because the immediate need drives them to take work at any price. Those of us who are acquainted with the immigrant as a labourer are aware that very soon he knows enough to demand his full wage, and that, smarting under a real or fancied wrong he will “strike” as quickly as if he had had twenty-five years of training in a Labour Union.

The history of the labour troubles of the last fifteen years proves conclusively that the foreigner will strike; and that he knows how to use the weapons of the strike, such as picketing and slugging and all that goes with that form of industrial warfare. It is at such a time that he is most denounced for his pernicious activity; while the very Labour Union with which he has made a common cause, will then repudiate him as a “scab” and a menace.

The author who, in his book,[4] which is supposed to be an authentic source of information on immigration, quoted the following, surely must have done so against his better judgment: “The agent[5] stated also that the rising generation of Jews, Italians and Hungarians are likely to live for the most part in the same conditions as their parents, and to remain unskilled labourers.” This is so evidently untrue that it must be known to be false by any man, even although he has examined this subject very superficially. The standard of living rises very perceptibly in the first generation among all classes of immigrants; and in proof of that I have the testimony of merchants in nearly all industrial centres in the United States. The boy who landed in Pennsylvania in homespun will discard it within a week and demand of his father short trousers and shirt waists. He will get them too; and he will get the best the father can afford. The wife will soon grow weary of keeping twenty boarders in one room; and I have seen the dawn of liberty rise upon her face as with flushing cheek she told her husband: “Me boss of this shanty.” When he tried to strike her as he did in the Old World she would remind him of the fact that this is the land of liberty, and I have seen her lift the battle-axe in defiance. Axe in hand she said: “I won’t keep boarders,” and the husband has been long enough in this country to know that when a woman in America says: “I won’t,” she won’t; and the boarders go.

With the going of the boarders comes the demand for a carpet; a cheap cotton carpet with huge design of many colours, the same kind that our forefathers put upon their floors when rag carpets went out of fashion; not very beautiful; but thoroughly and primitively American.

Plush furniture is added and stands stiffly against the wall; not very useful, but somewhat like the article which stands in more pretentious parlours. The “installment plan” agent finds among these people willing victims to plush albums, sewing machines and crayon portraits. Scarcely any of the New Americans I know are miserly or have essentially a different standard of living from our own, except as that standard was forced upon them by economic conditions. All of them in common with our frail humanity will spend money in proportion to their income and often, too often, out of proportion. The Slovak and the Pole who are most complained about on this score of a low standard of living, are fond of fine clothes and good food. In their native village they go about resplendent in glorious apparel, usually twice the value of ours; though we affect a higher standard of living. There are Slovak girls in Pennsylvania now, who have spent a year’s wage on a dress in the old country; and I have known women living in wretched huts who paid ten dollars for the half yard of lace on their caps. Mother vanity has her devotees everywhere and she exacts her tribute on this side of the Atlantic as well as on the other.

Those who know the immigrant and care for his well being, are not concerned by the fact that he does not spend money, but that he does not spend it wisely;—that the girls of the first and second generations follow the fashions too quickly, and buy the things which are useless; even as their mothers will fill the homes with things which are neither comfortable nor beautiful. The Jews who are such a great economic factor in our life may be accused of everything with more show of justice than of this one thing; namely, that, viewed from this standpoint, their standard of living is low. They are proverbially good dressers; and good eating is part of their traditions; it is closely allied to their religion. If it were not for the Jews in New York and in Chicago, the theatres would be half empty and the music halls not less so; one of the stock complaints against the Jews of our large cities is that they want the best seats in these places, that they want to go to the best hotels and live in the finest residence sections. To get along in the world, to get up and out, to be “as good as the best,” is a passion in Israel; a passion which has made the Jew more enemies than he himself knows.

I cannot regard the immigrant as a problem from this narrow economic view: while upon the broader question, of the general effect he has upon the condition of labour in America, I am at present in no position to be dogmatic. I recognize that it is natural for those engaged in the same pursuit to fear the competition which will lower their wage and consequently narrow their whole life. I believe that it is the business of the government to protect them against unjust competition, but first we must have tangible facts; and those we do not yet possess.

Let me quote again, almost verbatim, a labour leader from Ohio, who lifted up his voice in the Immigration Congress which convened in Madison Square Garden, New York, on December 6, 1905. He said: “We don’t want you fellers to let in any more of them yellow crawling worms from Europe; we have them in Ohio. They live on a piece of bread and one beer, and we can’t live like a decent American ought to live.” I happen to know Ohio and the city from which this gentleman comes. I do not know a single foreign colony there, in which men are satisfied by a piece of bread and one beer. Those I know fix no limit as to the beer; and the vats of the Cincinnati brewers would be dry, were it not for the proverbial thirst of the foreigners who live on the classic shores of the “Rhine,”—as a certain muddy stream is called which manages to flow into the Ohio by way of Cincinnati. The discernment(?) of this man and of his kind is not enough to raise a false alarm. Any of us would bow before facts, presented by an unprejudiced observer and would gladly help to cry “Halt” to the invasion of strangers who would lower the standard of living in America.

It takes neither figures nor close investigation to discover that in spite of the constant inflow of foreigners, the standard of living is rising continually; that the luxuries of yesterday are the comforts and necessities of to-day; and that in a larger measure than ever, it is true that the masses, if they have not reached this plane, are constantly at work trying to reach it. To blame the immigrant for the slums and the sweat-shops rests also upon pure assumption. It is indisputably true that the “slum” was always more or less here and that it is found wherever poverty and vice have met each other.

The immigrant moves into wretched houses and narrow streets and alleys because they are here. American citizens draw revenue from death traps and do it without a twinge of conscience; but even then these places are not slums. I venture to assert that in the real slums of American cities, the native Americans, using the word native in its true sense, outnumber these foreigners with whom we always associate the slums, with their grim twins—Poverty and Vice.

Only degenerate people sink into slums; and these foreigners have helped to regenerate them. In Chicago the first Ghetto developed in a quarter which could truly be called slums; full of dives in which the foulest vice flourished. Nearly all the women in those dens, and there must have been hundreds of them, were native Americans, or came from what we call the better immigrant stock, Germans and Scandinavians. On one side of this Ghetto was the most congested railroad district in the United States; on the other side as foul a slum as ever disgraced any city; but the Jew did not sink into the mire. He lifted that district out of it, so that to-day it is practically empty of that kind of vice.

There is no doubt that in the last few years, the army of unfortunate women and gamblers has received recruits from among recent immigrants, and there is also no doubt that the number will still increase; but the stock, the root, the peculiar kind of decayed house and people which we call slum, is a native product. Most of the Slavs who come here do not know anything about the business of prostitution or gambling; and until a few years ago this was true among the Jews also. I am willing to assert that the people who are making these peculiar crimes their business, are ninety per cent. native Americans. This does not necessarily cast any aspersion upon the American people; for I can truthfully say that as a whole their standard of morality is higher than that of any other people I know. Yet it is true that the class of immigrants who come, peasants and labourers, do not import the slum, the brothel and the gambling house.

If I were sent out to-day to find the people best fitted to replenish our physical stock, to help in winning the wealth of forest and mine, I should not go to Paris, to Vienna, to Berlin and London; or even to Glasgow or Edinburgh. I should go to the very villages in the Carpathians and Alps, on the broad Danubian plains, from which our recent immigration comes. Whether we are in need of replenishing this stock, whether the wealth of forest and mines should be harvested as quickly as it is now, is another question of those many with which I cannot deal here. Taking conditions as I see them, granting that we need muscle and brawn, I can say very dogmatically that we are getting exactly what we need. The sweat-shop it is true flourishes because of this recent immigration; but gradually its domain is losing ground and the fighters at the front against both slums and sweat-shops are the New Americans, who are helping to solve some old problems and to heal some old diseases.

The claim that every able bodied foreigner who comes here is worth so many dollars to this country has been ridiculed. Count Aponyi, of Hungary, who claims that his country loses money by the withdrawal of this able bodied army of men and women, puts the height of our gain at five thousand dollars for every man. However that may be, this is true: immigration has had a direct economic influence upon the countries from which the immigrants come, an influence which is both for good and bad. In certain regions wages have increased nearly fifty per cent. The relation between servant and master has changed, and a note of independence rings from the guttural throats of Slovaks and Poles; while “strike” and “meeting” are two English words which have entered permanently into their vocabularies. The removal of so many able bodied men has left whole villages with but women and children; and while the moral tone of such regions has not improved, one cannot as yet perceive any economic loss. This is due to the fact that money comes pouring in which offsets the loss sustained by the removal of so large a population.

Nevertheless it is a fact that the governments of Europe most concerned still regard themselves as losers, and are taking steps to restrict the emigration of desirable classes.

It has been claimed by a certain member of congress, that the withdrawal of this money from America is an economic loss and that the American people should stop it; because the money goes to support foreign governments. The argument is both narrow and false. First of all it is true, that the immigrant has earned this money in the most honest way, and that consequently he has a right to send it home if he pleases to do so.

Secondly, this money no more goes for the support of foreign governments than does the money that the politician paid for the imported cloth of which the evening suit was made which he wore when he delivered that criticism.

Thirdly, the money sent home each year by the men who have earned it, is only a small fraction of the large sums which are spent annually by Americans abroad; money which in a great number of cases has not been earned by those who spent it, or has not been earned so honestly as it has been by those “hewers of wood.”

Fourth, the money which is spent by Americans in Paris, Dresden, Nice and Carlsbad, does not so immediately return to the United States as does the money which is spent in Kottowin or Breczowa or in Oswicczim. That flows into the trade channels whose golden stream runs directly back to the United States; for more money in those villages means more money for Southern cotton, Chicago lard, and Connecticut clocks and sewing machines.

I doubt that even the minutest investigation will prove that the money sent annually to Italy or Hungary means a loss to the United States, or that as yet the immigrant is a serious economic menace.

XXII

RELIGION AND POLITICS

ON a recent trip through Germany there fell into my hands a little book about America which bears the modest title, “Americana.” It was written by Professor Karl Lamprecht of the University of Leipzig, and is a note-book in which he records his impressions about us. Being a Professor of History and especially conversant with that part of it which deals with our country, his conclusions have large value.

That which impressed him most about our life was the prevalence of the religious atmosphere and the genuineness of our piety. The sentence which seemed to me to stand out above every other which he has written is this: “My conviction that this people is destined to great things bases itself above all else upon the fact, that it is capable of religious impressions.” I have felt this by virtue of a sort of vague faith, and have always regarded the religious problem which the immigrant presents, as the crucial one. We shall soon be of one blood—sooner yet of one speech; but how soon we shall have one faith, and common religious ideals, or how long we shall be able to preserve those religious ideals which are the guarantee of our greatness, as well as of our permanence as a republic, are very large and very serious questions.

It is not easy to deny that certain phases of our religious life in America are to a great degree unknown in Southern and Eastern Europe, and cannot be readily understood by the average immigrant:—the entire separation of Church and State, yet the complete union of religion and national life; the large place of the individual as a religious functionary, and yet the absolute equality of priest and people; the prevalence of forms and the permanence of the ethical and spiritual.

The immigrant comes to us, largely from countries in which the Church and the State, the cross and the sword, are one. In fact to the large majority of those who come, nationality or race, and the Church, are one and the same. The Russian and the Southern Slav who are not pravo Slavs, adherents of the Greek Church, are regarded very much in the light of traitors to their nations. The Pole is a Catholic by national instinct; Poland and Roman Catholicism are to him one and the same; while the Jew is a Jew by race and faith, regarding as a profligate, him who betrays his people by becoming a Christian.

Roughly speaking, nearly eighty per cent. of our present immigration is made up of Roman Catholics, Greek Catholics, Greek Orthodox and Jews. More or less, usually more rather than less, they bring with them and foster these ideas. This is undoubtedly true of nearly all the Slavs whom the Church divides racially and who are enemies; remaining so a long time on this side of the Atlantic. The Church, cognizant of this fact, fosters it in no small degree, because it can hold its children more loyally to itself by giving the national idea a large place. Polish, Bohemian and Slovak church societies of a semi-military character exist in large numbers, and many of their members carry arms. Although in itself this may be a harmless way of keeping men loyal to the Church, it does seem to clash with one of our religious ideals, which is fundamental in maintaining religious liberty. I am judging only as an outsider and am telling only what seems to me to be the case; but I am speaking also for a large number of Catholic priests who see in this no small menace and who have tacitly admitted it.

The sooner the Catholic Church can get rid of Polish and Italian priests who have been trained in Europe, to whom religion is a sort of politics,—and a certain kind of politics is religion,—the better for the Church and of course the better for the State.

The immigrants free themselves from the autocracy of the Church and of the priest more quickly than from the national idea, and they easily breathe in the liberating atmosphere and sometimes manifest it in a very disagreeable way. The close supervision which the priest exercises over his parishioners, the respect they pay to him, the awe in which he is held, are helpful rather than detrimental phases of their religious life, where the priest is a true priest. There are, however, too many who are not, and I am sure that the authorities of the Church concerned are perhaps more anxious about this than are we, who are simply looking over the fence at our neighbours’ affairs.

I am more concerned by the fact that in nearly all the immigrants with whom I have dealt, forms and a certain blind faith, obscure the ethical demands of Christianity. This is certainly true of the adherents of the Greek Orthodox Church and not entirely untrue of those belonging to other Churches. I am conscious of the fact that just here prejudice can blind one completely; and I want to keep myself free from that charge.

My religious outlook cannot be called narrow, when one takes into consideration that Roman Catholic priests were both my teachers and my companions, that I have lived in a Russian monastery, that I know the Slav, the Italian and the Jew better perhaps than I know the American, and that to know them as sympathetically as I do, one must know them without prejudice. Probably on the other hand I shall not escape the charge of timidity when I say that in the countries in Europe from which our present immigration flows the Church has fostered the form of religion and has too often neglected its ethical demands; or perhaps that it has laid greater emphasis upon the poetry of religion than upon its stern prose.

Into the Easter celebration the Greek Orthodox churches have woven all the charm which the religious mind can invent. I have seen almost the third heaven opened on Easter eve in Russia and also in Poland. Yet hardly had the last triumphant cry, “Christ is risen” died upon the gray morning, when the same mob which shouted, “Christ is risen,” also cried, “Kill the Jews.” Kisheneff, Bialistok, Sedlice and the scenes of small and large pogroms in Poland, Austria and Hungary, which have remained unrecorded, are sufficient proof of the fact that many of the Slavic people have no idea of the teachings of Jesus; and that religion to them is a matter of form necessary to observe, a sort of charm against evil spirits and bad luck.

In this respect, however, the churches concerned are not sinners above others; and the Protestant churches in America have also been more successful with the millinery of religion than with its essence. It would be wrong to say that the people who now come to us will dull our religious faculties, and make them less impressionable. Nothing could be further from the truth; for essentially they are a religious people and even now there are taking place among them great religious developments. I believe that in the crude state in which the present immigrant comes, he is ready for the best the Church can give to him. No one church is equal to the task, and antagonistic as they may be towards one another, I believe the nation needs both the Protestant and Catholic types; that the field now is so large and the problem so difficult, that they both need to put forth their best efforts. Each needs to prove Lessing’s story of the “Three Rings”; each needs to prove that it has the true ring, the true message of redemption, and it can prove that best by living its best, and by noblest endeavour for these children of men who have brought to our doors the problem of Christianizing the whole world.

The breadth of vision and the depth of conviction which animate a certain section of America in this respect, are best illustrated by these ringing words from a recent address by President Tucker of Dartmouth College: “If God were not pouring into New England out of the riches of other countries, New England would be empty. While the latest foreigner may not compare favourably with the native stock, what of the second and third generations of foreigners? They are forging to the front, partly because of their virility and ambition, and partly through the sacrifice of the homes to educate their children. The rising scale of foreign population is on a better level than the falling scale of the native population. If the old New England stock is not willing to sacrifice as it used to, and if the New England boy is not as ambitious as his grandfather, I thank God that he is sending us those who are willing to sacrifice and anxious to rise; and that he is giving this challenge to the old stock: Rise up and show yourselves! If we do not see and feel it, it is to our shame. We are not the elect of God unless we prove our election, and if He can do better for the world through some other stock and religion than through the native stock and Protestant religion, let Him work in His own way.”

I need not say here how large a place the public school and the settlement both have (in spite of the fact that they are often called godless institutions) in making religious impressions upon the immigrant. The glimpse of a higher world, the world of the spirit, has been given to many eyes almost blind to the divine light, by modest men and women who have worn neither cassock nor crosses, and who were ordained to their holy task only as they felt the touch of needy children resting upon their hearts.

I recall a little, sharp-eyed Jewish lad whom lured from his news stand by recklessly buying his whole stock of evening papers. He had lived in Boston five years and was Bostonese, to the dropping of his Rs, and the picking them up again, to put where they did not belong. He was a product of the public school, not yet finished, but in the making; and over him hovered the benediction of some noble teacher, whose glory he reflected. “Teacher? O yes! teacher was even more than parents, almost like God. Teacher knew more than the stupid rabbi, who tried to drill into him the Hebrew alphabet.”

The boy had neither church nor synagogue, nor priest nor preacher nor rabbi; he had but two things to cling to, the school and the settlement. Piteous was his scorn of the faith of his fathers, the accusation and condemnation of everything Jewish, the contempt with which he called his people “Sheney”; the horror of fast and feast days, and his delight in the anticipation of a Jewish Sabbath meal. He will become what Max Nordau calls a “stomach Jew,” in opposition to the “soul Jews,” who alas! are growing fewer and fewer, on both sides of the sea.

This boy, grown up, or growing up in Boston, knew nothing of us, of our type of Christianity, or of Christianity at all; except the fact that the world is divided between Christians and Jews. The settlement has done something for him; it has given his unskilled fingers the taste for handicraft, and he told me with honest pride of the things he had made with “his own hands.” It has also given him a knowledge of human kindness, although he does not yet realize that the men and women in the settlements are working because of the love they have for God’s children.

I have found Jews everywhere who were Christian in spirit; and the distance between synagogue and church is as great as it is, only because of prejudices, which the church has not yet allayed and which unconsciously it is increasing.

The Jew is suspicious of missions and missionaries and has good reason to be, but he responds quickly to the notes of true religion whenever they strike his heart; even as he responds quickly to the best things in our national life.

I recall walking through Boston in the streets stretching South and far North where Russia and Polish Jews live. They are keepers of shops of all varieties, busy scavengers of second-hand articles; busier than we know, with thread and needle in clothing and sweat shops. They are dealers in junk, the refuse and wreckage of our industrial establishments; creators of new avenues of trade and of some new industries. Some of these Jews know that they live in Boston and act like it. I had alighted at the North Station and was walking with a lady whose luggage I had offered to carry to the car. She had a baby on one arm and a large satchel in the other hand, so in order not to knock against her with the heavy valise which I carried, I walked on the inside. Suddenly from his shop door, a Russian Jew, in English strongly tainted by Yiddish, called out: “You greenhorn, don’t you know that in Boston men don’t walk on the insides of the ladies?” Promptly, as though impelled by a command, I shifted my load, and “walked on the outside of the lady.”

That Jew had been responsive to Boston’s spirit of decorum and would be equally responsive to the best in its religious life if it were presented to him. He likes least to be singled out as a Jew and to be dealt with as such, either by churches or missions. He is most easily approached from the standpoint of the average man, and not from the peculiar racial and religious standpoint of the Jew.

ON THE DAY OF ATONEMENT.

The distance between synagogue and church is really not so great as some
suppose. Many a Jew is Christian in spirit if not in creed.
ON THE DAY OF ATONEMENT.
The distance between synagogue and church is really not so great as some suppose. Many a Jew is Christian in spirit if not in creed.

Side by side with the religious problem is growing to menacing proportions the problem of politics. A nation like our own, ideally founded upon universal suffrage, is putting its destinies in the hands of men untrained in citizenship; the very name citizen being so new to them that they cannot easily grasp its meaning. The tutelage of Tammany Hall and of its kind all over the United States has been a bad preparation for so momentous a task. It does not diminish the greatness of the problem in the least when I say that the foreigner is usually the innocent tool, in a corrupting process which has been going on for many years, and to the existence of which the nation is just awaking.

I have been offered citizenship papers in the city of New York for ten dollars; and have seen them peddled by Americans who had back of them the protection of political bosses of no less genuine American ancestry. I have seen whole groups of Polanders marched to the ballot-box, when they were so drunk that they had to be kept erect by a stalwart American patriot who swore that they had the right to vote, when they had scarcely been a year in this country. I have seen men who are respected in their communities, buy votes wherever they could get them, corrupting a mass of men who were as ignorant of the process of voting and as unfitted for it, as little babes; and these very men I have heard loudly proclaiming the corrupting influence of the foreign element.

With all that, the foreigner is rising in the scale of citizenship and is not so bad as he has the right to be, considering the example set him. Delaware is not controlled by foreigners, yet the peaches in its political basket are rotten both at the top and at the bottom. Connecticut, the “Constitution State” as it loves to call itself, is still dominantly American, and yet there are so many “wooden nutmegs” in the spice box of its magnificent State House that its best citizens are hanging their heads from shame. New Hampshire and Vermont are not model States, in spite of the fact that the foreign vote is almost “nil”; while the city of Philadelphia cannot claim that it is better governed than the city of New York, where the foreign population predominates and dominates.

The immigrant, it is true, will sell his vote; but the American buys it, and sells it too, and he is the greater traitor; because he is betraying his native country.

Again, this does not assume that the immigrant is not a political problem; he is, but only because we are, and in this he rises and falls with us, and sometimes rises above us. All that which we call patriotism he quickly imbibes. He loves the Fourth of July, and he knows its meaning and its value often better than the native born. I have no fear on that score; and should America, God forbid, engage in war, you would find at the very front the Jew, the Slav, and the Italian with the Yankee, fighting the same battle; yes, and fighting his own people should they unjustly attack us.

Who doubts that the German Americans would fight in our war against Germany, if it were a just war—if war be ever just; and who would doubt for a moment that the Italians, Russians and French would fight on our side if their governments should land soldiers on this continent? No one doubts it.

They are caught by the contagious enthusiasm of our patriotism, and will outdo us; for they love America as no native can love it. Neither do I fear that they will fail us in fighting our greater battles against injustice and against corruption in high places. What I fear is that they will fight, that they will become one with the tumultuous mob, which may at any time arise and blindly demand its long deferred dividends for its share of labour, toil and suffering. I fear that we are gathering inflammable material from the dissatisfied of all the nations, who here may endeavour to reek vengeance upon all governments; a mass easily inflamed by demagogues and made a scourge in the land, when the land needs scourging.

No nation has ever faced such a problem as we are facing; not only because of its gigantic proportions, nor because of its peculiar nature, but because of the fact that the nation’s weal or woe is being decided right before our very eyes; because its shroud or its wedding garment is now being woven, and we who live to-day may stretch our hands against the threads of the loom and say which it shall be.

XXIII

BIRDS OF PASSAGE

AGAIN the ship’s band plays the songs of the Fatherland, while marching up the streets of Hoboken towards the dock, comes a long procession of men escorting one of the chief citizens of the town. He is the owner of the largest saloon and is about to visit his native land across the sea. The decks of the steamer are crowded by passengers and their friends, and through the discordant noise of rattling chains one hears the mingled notes of joy and sorrow, until finally at the stern command of the captain the long homeward journey has begun.

The steerage of the Kaiser Wilhelm II is crowded to the limit; and Jews, Slavs, Italians and Germans are beginning to settle down in their congested quarters, in a somewhat closer fellowship than on the westward journey; for now they have a common experience and a few sentences of common language to bind them to one another.

The women all of them, have discarded the peasant’s dress and are bedecked in the spoils of bargain counters; while the men invariably wear “store clothes,” always carry huge watches and not rarely a revolver. Where you still see peasant’s clothing you will find a heavy spirit within it; for the wearer is one of the unfortunates who was turned back from “the gate which leads into the city.”

The steerage passengers may be roughly divided into two classes: those who go home because they have succeeded, and those who go home because they have failed. Those who have succeeded have not yet reached the point of achievement which lifts them from the steerage to the cabin, but still belong to that large class which goes back to the Fatherland for a season and then returns, to try again the road to fortune. More than one-fourth of all our immigrants belong to this class and have to be reckoned with when the sum total is counted. While I cannot give the exact figures I should say that nearly two hundred thousand men and women go back and forth each year.

This class has lost much of the Old World spirit and is neither so docile nor so polite as it was when first it occupied these quarters. The ship’s crew has become more civil towards it, which is due to the fact that the homeward bound steerage passenger has grown to be something more of a man, has more self-assertion and more dollars; all of which has power to subdue the over-officious crew. The men have learned more or less English, which is freely interspersed by oaths, while the women can say: “Yes, no, and good-bye” call their “Dum, de house” and are fairly versed in the language of the grocery and dry goods store. They can say “how much” and even “you bet”; but beyond that, the English language has remained “terra incognita” to them.

The women are the birds of passage who most go back; for they are loyal to their kinsmen, to their home and their traditions, not having been long enough in America to prize the great privileges of womanhood here.

The children are most loath to return; especially those who have gone to school here and who in their migrations to and fro, have learned the difference.

Anushka, a bright twelve year old girl goes from a Pennsylvania town, to the Frenczin district in Hungary. She is dressed “American fashion,” has gone to the public school and speaks English fairly well.

“Anushka moya, tell me, do you like to go back to Hungary?” and the little girl tells me: “No, siree. America is the best country. There we have white bread and butter and candy, and I can chew gum to beat the band;” and tears fill her eyes at the memory of the American luxuries which she has tasted. If she stays in her mountain village she will degenerate into the common life about her, and marry a peasant lad with whom she will hover between enough and starvation, all the days of her life. Yet she will never forget America, the white bread and butter, the candy and the chewing-gum.

In a little village in Hungary I know a woman who in her youth had tasted all these things and the freedom of life in Chicago. Now, although she has been married fifteen years and has lived away from America longer than that, she speaks with glowing eyes of the time when she lived on South Halstad Street, ate thin bread with thick jam on it, and the land was flowing with sausages, lager beer and chewing-gum.

Most blessed are the girls who have been in service in American families. They have learned English well, and also the ways of the American household. They have tasted of the spirit of Democracy which permeates our serving class, and when such an one returns to her native village she unsettles the relations of servant and mistress. Therefore, her coming is dreaded by the “Hausfrau” who has had one servant-girl through many years, paying her fifteen dollars a year and treating her like a beast. Shall I quote one of those mistresses? “What kind of country is that anyway, that America? These servant girls come back with gold teeth in their mouths, and with long dresses which sweep the streets, and with unbearable manners. They do not kiss our hands when they meet us, and when they speak of their mistress in America they speak of her as if they were her equals. When one of those girls comes home with her finery and her money, we are liable to lose every servant; and wages are going up fabulously.”

I met one of these servant-girls “with gold teeth in her mouth” after she had lived three years in America, and I found that she had acquired something besides gold teeth. She had learned to speak both German and English, she had manners which were refined, she had been uplifted by an American mistress out of her peasant life to a plane which women reach nowhere but in America, and she was the equal if not the superior, of any of the young women in her village, who had had the privilege of a common school education which had been denied to her, because of her lowly origin. It is true, she did sweep the streets with her long skirts; but she did it gracefully. She walked as the women on Fifth Avenue walk, and she shook hands with me after the most approved fashion.

The older women on the ship returned without any of these graces. They had been pining for the Fatherland, and in spite of the fact that one of them was going back to a half-starved country, she said: “In Chicago, you no can get any tink to eat.”

In a general way it may be said that it made a vast difference where and how the men had lived in America, as to whether they carried anything but American dollars back with them. Both the men and the women who had been in service in American homes showed the largest inheritance of our spirit; while those who lived in the congested foreign quarters had simply changed climates for a while, lost some robustness and a few native virtues, and gained a modest bank account.

Yet even among those I could notice changes and gains which cannot be tabulated and which at the first glance might be put down as losses; an indefinite something which has gone into their fibre for better or for worse. This was most crudely illustrated by a Ruthenian who had lived twenty-five years in America; eleven years in a coal mining district and the rest of the time in a New England manufacturing town. He told me about his aspirations for his son, who is “very smart and will not work with his hands.” He talked in Russian: “Yes, my son will be educated. I have money enough for that. I am stupid and must bear all sorts of things, but when a man is educated, he can raisovat helle as much as he wants.” The form in which he put the American phrase saves the necessity of writing it in dashes.

I have not yet seen a village in Hungary, Russia or Italy, to which any number of men has returned even after a short sojourn in America, without that community’s gaining in some ways at least. Better houses certainly were built, with more or less sanitary improvements according to the conditions under which the men or women have lived in America. It makes a vast difference whether the men have lived in mining camps or in the cities. Undoubtedly the peasant who has lived in a small American city where he could easily feel and touch its life brings home the greatest spirit of progress.

Agricultural conditions have improved rapidly in Hungary and Poland; business in not a few instances has been put upon an American basis, which means not only more efficiency, but strange as it may seem, more honesty; and the scale of living has risen wherever a large number of people has gone to and fro across the sea.

The steerage holds numbers who go back because they have not succeeded, and many who are broken in health, who have been burned by the fires, scalded by the steam and parched by our heat. Men and women with spirits broken, who are not going back, but crawling back into the shelter of the Old World home.

“O! panye,” cried one of those to whom I tried to minister: “it is an awful country! You don’t know whether they walk on their heads or on their feet; they do not stop to eat nor sleep, and they drive one as the water drives the village mill. They build a house one minute and tear it down the next; the cities grow like mushrooms and disappear like grass before a swarm of locusts. The air is black in the city where I lived; black as the inside of the chimney in my cabin, and the water they drink looks like cabbage soup. The cars go like a whirlwind over the Puszta (prairie) and I should rather stand among a thousand stampeding horses on the plains, than on one of those dreadful street corners. How terribly those whistles blow in the morning and how dark and dismal are those shops, where they eat up iron and men out of bowls as big as the barn of our ‘Pan’ (master). The heat outside burns and the heat inside blisters, and when it is cold it freezes the blood. No, no,” and he groaned in terror at the remembrance of it; “no more America for me. That’s all I have,” pointing to his scant clothing. “I am going back a beggar.”

Women too there are whose bodies and spirits are nearly broken; and they go back to wait for their release. Among these, there was one Bohemian woman from New York, whose hollow cough and glowing cheeks betrayed the arch destroyer at work. She was one of six thousand cigar makers employed by one firm, and she had laboured five years in that shop and rolled many thousands of cigars into shape. As she had to bite the end of every cigar, she swallowed much tobacco juice, and breathed in much tobacco dust. She had attained great proficiency and could earn twenty dollars a week; but she had ruined her health, had spent all her savings for medicine and now was going home to die. She was in that stage where hope had not left her, and she was bent on making the last great fight for life in the shelter of her “Matushka’s” love.

Two old genteel looking people always stood out from the coarse mass because they kept clean in spite of the odds against them in the steerage, and because they were always together. Up and down the slippery stairs they went, like two lovers. Even seasickness did not separate them and when the sun shone they were on deck, solemnly smiling back to heaven. They had left their all in America; their children were sleeping in the strange soil, and now they were going back to the little town in Austria from which they had gone thirty-seven years before. They felt too rich in one another to rail against their fate, and their complaint was as gentle as their pain was deep. They had come to America full and now they were going home empty; three sons and two daughters they had brought, and childless they were going back; but “The Lord had given and the Lord had taken away,” and they blessed the name of the Lord.

Those who had prospered in America, and they were the majority, carried home with them sums of money which in the aggregate, amounted, among 600, to four thousand dollars, which did not however represent all they had saved; for each week they had sent small sums to their homes, and the money sent from America to Austria and Italy has been a great economic factor in the life of those countries. The total sum must reach into many millions. Nor does this sum represent an entire loss to our country; for the more money there is in a Slav or Italian village the more and better cotton goods are bought. The daily diet contains more American lard, the household is likely to be enriched by an American sewing-machine, and the notes of the phonograph are “heard in the land,”—which too comes from America.

Perhaps the greatest gainers by this constant coming and going are the steamship companies, which for a comparatively large sum of money provide quarters that in a very short time become unfit for human beings. The thrifty passengers, and there are not a few of them, who believe that the steerage going to Europe is not so crowded as coming to America, and that they can risk travelling that way, are very much mistaken. Even moderately rough weather makes the unsheltered deck impossible; the nether decks of the ship become full of sickening odours and seasickness claims nearly all the passengers as victims. There is no escape; even on so large a ship as the Kaiser Wilhelm II all must remain in their bunks. On my last trip I counted five bitter days when not one steerage passenger could go on deck, while the cabin passengers were travelling over comparatively quiet waters.

When the sea has become as smooth as a mill-pond the steerage passengers may venture out; 800 people, crowded in a small space, soon become acquainted and need not wait for an introduction. Less, much less than on the outward journey have the races kept themselves apart; it is true you may still discover groups of Slavs, Italians or Jews; but they have approached the gates of the Kingdom of God and you may find your brotherhoods made up of all the nations of the earth. I had around me a group of forty men who belonged to seventeen nationalities, to four faiths and to many stations in life; yet we felt ourselves bound to one another by a meagre knowledge of the English language and by our common experience in America. Most of these men felt themselves intensely American; and that was what held us together and in a measure separated us from the mass. For the majority of these birds of passage are not yet American, as the following instance will illustrate. In taking a rough census of the politics of the steerage, I asked one man: “How do you like President Roosevelt?” He replied: “I no know him. I guess he good man, I get my pay at shop; I work, I get pay, I guess that all right.” A few expressed both admiration for the President and loyalty to him, and hoped he would run for another term. They had opinions in politics and some even declared themselves neither Republicans nor Democrats, but “Inepenny.” My group of forty men, growing at the end of the journey to nearly fifty, were a loyal set, and an honest one.

Each of the men had earned the little money he had, by hard labour; not one of them by barter, and each had caught a glimpse of the higher life in America.

The Slavs were nearly all Democrats, the Italians were Republicans, and so were the Jews. There were six Social Democrats in the group, nearly evenly divided among the three races; and they were the best educated if not the most companionable of the number. The whole group was eager to know, and the questions asked were as pertinent as numerous. All of them expected to return to America before another year, and each of them will grow into the full stature of the American man.

The touch with the mass in the steerage can be but light; yet I have looked into the smiling faces of little children, I have played with the steerage boys and girls, I have talked with every one of the five hundred adult passengers in the steerage, and I can still say that usually all of them return with some blessing, with some wealth gained, and better for having been in America.

The boys and girls are more boisterous and self-assertive, while the men and women are less cringingly polite than they were. They have lost some things but have gained more; and I am convinced that the country in which they have toiled these years has been enriched by the price of their labour.

How far these birds of passage present an economic problem is at present difficult to determine. Those who remain form the greater problem, which is more than an economic one.

XXIV

IN THE SECOND CABIN

IF the man who said, “Give me neither poverty nor riches” had been a modern globe trotter he might have added: “And when I cross the ocean let me travel neither in the first cabin nor in the steerage but in the second cabin.” That is if he cared more for the companionship of human beings than for the luxuries of modern life, and if he had not objected to the fact that the second cabin is located directly over the powerful driving gear of the ship.

Because of the latter fact one may experience a “continuous performance” of an earthquake without its disastrous results, and yet not without consequences which at the moment seem very serious. The second cabin does not lapse into the silence of the steerage nor into the dignity of the first cabin, but begins its noisy comradery immediately; being interrupted only, when the earthquake plays havoc with good nature, and resumed as soon as the appetite for food and drink returns.

The second cabin usually holds only one class; the class which has succeeded. It contains a sprinkling of native Americans, teachers and preachers, whose modest savings are to be spread thinly over Europe; its usual occupants are foreigners, who after a longer or shorter sojourn, return for a visit to the cradle home. The Hoboken saloon-keeper who was escorted by the band to the dock, and in whose honour it played “Lieb Vaterland magst ruhig sein,” is a typical second class passenger on a German ship; and his like in large numbers come from Cincinnati, St. Louis, Milwaukee and other cities made famous by their output of sparkling lager.

I discovered on this journey more than thirty dispensers of drink who were at the bar from morning until midnight, and doing exactly as they like their customers to do by them; drinking and getting drunk. The Hoboken saloon-keeper bore the typical name of August, and every one of the ship’s crew down to the smallest scullion, knew this famous August and delighted to bask in the uncertainty of his sunshine and to be the beneficiary of his spasmodic generosity. He was drunk from the moment he came on board the steamer until he left it, and in his melancholy moments confided in me, telling me the story of his life and the magnitude of his fortune. He was born in Bremerhaven, the terminus of that great ferry which begins at Hoboken. He boasted the friendship of the Commodore of the German Lloyd fleet, with whom he had gone to school, and the smoking room steward was called to assert this fact. “Steward, you k-know me?” “Yes, you’re August.” “D-do you know about C-Captain Schmidt?” “Yes, you sailed under him to South Africa.” “N-no, you f-fool; I went to school with him,” and obediently the steward repeated: “Yes, you went to school with him.” He told me the secrets of the liquor business, the misfortunes which had overtaken his boy who is following in his father’s footsteps, and is travelling towards delirium tremens at even a faster rate than this robust, convivial sailor. I tried my arts on August, painting in wonderful colours the glories of the Mecca of his pilgrimage, that I might keep him from drinking himself to death with beer before he saw his Fatherland. And I succeeded; for when I saw August of Hoboken again, he was drinking whiskey.

Poles, Bohemians and Slovaks all travelled in the second cabin; but invariably they were saloon-keepers and displayed the demoralizing tendencies of their business to their full extent.

The first days of this journey were made memorable by the noisy behaviour of two Polish priests who were constantly mixing whiskey with beer, and who rose to a spiritual ecstasy which was both unpriestly and ungentlemanly. Among the many priests who were on board, but few were priests in the true sense of the word, the others bringing disgrace upon their calling and upon their Church. In spite of the fact that the steerage was full of their kindred and people of their faith, not a priest found his way to that neglected quarter. As a rule they were busier at the bar than at their prayers, a fact which of course must not be charged to priests as a class; but the sooner the Church in America gets rid of most of its foreign born priests, especially those from Italy and the Slavic countries, and replaces them by Irish or Americans, the better for the Church and for our country.

Dividing the passengers according to their race, most of them were Jews from Hungary and Russia; and while still unmistakable Jews, they all bore marks of the new birth which had taken place. The Russian Jews in many cases were slovenly, obtrusively dressed and noisy; their Yiddish was tainted by bad English, but they were frugal, sober, and minded their own business.

One of the group which I had gathered around me was on his way to Palestine where his parents now live. His home is in a little Illinois town not far from Chicago. He began his career like many of his kind, by peddling. Now he owns a department store and allows himself the luxury of this long and expensive journey. He is leniently orthodox in his faith, has come close enough to his Gentile neighbours to have a glimpse of Christianity at its best, and has been completely permeated by the American spirit. His daughter is a high school graduate, plays the piano, gives receptions, dabbles in art, takes part in the Methodist Church fairs and on occasions sings in the church choir.

Such a close touch with American life was not vouchsafed to another Russian Jew in that group. He had lived in New York and had also gone through the long tutelage of hard bargaining and hard times. He too was going to Europe; but he went to buy diamonds, not to visit his relatives, and neither his past experience nor his vision was tinged by any idealism. He was money from the toes up, and in each pocket he carried some trinket, from fountain pens to diamond pins, which could be bought at a bargain.

The Hungarian Jews from “Little Hungary” had progressed most rapidly in becoming Americanized. They played poker from morning until night, could bluff with the true American “sang froid,” and swear at their ill luck; but that they had kept their Jewish shrewdness was shown by their leaving the game when the tide of luck was at its height. When they did not play poker they talked about the game of politics as played in New York, and they knew its ins and outs thoroughly. The higher and better note struck by Roosevelt and Jerome they had grasped in but a vague way; and that a man could be honest in politics was strange news to them, nor did they believe that President Roosevelt’s activities were without regard to his own profit in the game.

“Little Hungary” has been a bad political school and one need not be over apprehensive if he regards this poor political tutelage as one of the greatest problems connected with the influx of foreigners into our large cities. In speech and names these Hungarian Jews were almost completely metamorphosed, and their patriotism knew no bounds. On a certain day one of them dug out of the depths of his trunk a dozen or more American flags, with which he wanted us to parade up and down the ship to the notes of a patriotic air. Upon our refusal to do so he grew angry, saying: “Nice Americans you fas.”

In contrast to the steerage, the women in the second cabin appeared to have changed most, and among the younger women, the transformation seemed complete. I doubt that their clothing lacked the latest fashionable wrinkle; their physique had lost its robustness and they had gained in self-possession. I have noticed a very important difference in the behaviour of the second class coming from America and going there. The young women who go to America are more or less molested by the men, their language and behaviour one to the other is not always correct, and even the American girls have lost something of their dignity and reserve; but going to Europe the greatest propriety is observed, and although the young people have a good time together, the young women know how to take care of themselves, the men know better than to be obtrusively attentive, and if they try, they receive a rebuff from which they do not lightly recover.

The second cabin goes back richer not only in worldly goods but in conscious manhood and womanhood, in loftiness of ideals and above all else, pathetically grateful to the country which gave these gifts.

“I owe everything to America,” “I would give everything I own to America,” “It is God’s country,” are phrases from which I could not disentangle myself, so fervent and frequent were they. Some of these people have still a richer inheritance in the consciousness of having had a share in building up the country in which they have lived. Among these was a Jewish gentleman, Mr. K., who had in his possession letters from Christian people in his county, commending him to their friends abroad, praising his public spirit, his generosity towards the people of all faiths, and his uprightness in business. He was proud of the fact that he had voted for William McKinley when he ran for prosecuting attorney of his county, and that he had voted for him every time he ran for office. It is true that Mr. K. belonged to that class of Jews which came from Southern Germany and which is the best Jewish product that Europe has sent us; but his is not an isolated case, and nearly every county in America has produced such specimens coming from widely different portions of Europe.

But few Italians travel in the cabin; there were half a dozen who had reached that degree of prosperity, and they came from the South, had been engaged in the cotton business and were indulging in an European trip, while the product of their plantations was daily increasing in price. They were genteel, and quiet, and so well dressed and well groomed, that it came as a surprise to most of the passengers to find that they were Italians, and that they had risen from the “Dago” class. On them America has performed the miracle of transformation, in spite of its sordid instincts and its materialistic atmosphere; a miracle which art-filled Italy could not perform, a task before which both sculptor and painter are powerless.

The Slavs of the first generation who were in the second cabin, were nearly all saloon-keepers with their families; and although the change wrought upon them was great, their business obtruded, and they were not pleasant companions. They had retained the reticence of their race, spoke only when spoken to, were suspicious of one’s approach, but warmed to one after a while Their horizon had remained bounded by the mining camps in which their saloons were located; even those from Pittsburg, and they were not a few, had not looked deep into our American life.

That the Pole and Slovak will be hard to change, and that they present somewhat tough material, not easily assimilated, often forces itself upon me; yet when I see their children, that second generation, born in America, I can see no difference between the Slav and the German. One of the most beautiful girls on board of ship, one of the most refined in her attire and behaviour, was a Bohemian girl born in Chicago. Although she spoke the language of her people, she spoke English better, associated with the American girls on board of ship, and it would have taken a keen student of racial stock to discover her Bohemian origin. She is not an isolated figure nor an exception. On nearly every journey I have taken I have found her type, and I recall with especial pleasure and satisfaction the companionship of two Bohemian school teachers from Cleveland, Ohio, both of them born in Bohemia, but having grown to womanhood on the shores of Lake Erie. While they showed in their faces the Slavic strain, they were thoroughly Americanized and must have been a blessing to the children whom they taught.

So one’s apprehension is quieted by such facts, which are by no means rare. Certain crude elements may survive, even in the second generation, and may perhaps enter into our racial existence, but other such elements have come to us from other races, and have not spoiled us nor yet undone us. If we were to pick out on board of ship the most disagreeable people, we would not seek them among the Slavs nor among the Italians, but among a certain class of German and Jewish Americans, who are all flesh; blasphemous in language, intemperate in habits and who are intensely disliked on the other side of the Atlantic among their own kinsmen. This is not intended to reflect upon that large class of sober and intelligent naturalized Americans one meets; but to emphasize the fact, that the classes of immigrants most desired by us, compare very well with the best element in our polyglot population. Looking back over all my experiences, I am justified in saying that the Slav, the Italian and the Russian Jew, will finally compare well with the earlier output of foreign born Americans.

The last night before the landing, an enterprising and pleasure loving Jew arranged a concert; and although the participants were Jews, Bohemians, Poles, Germans and Russians, it was a typical American affair, was as decorous as a church social, and nearly as dull. These children of the foreigners sang American parlour songs, recited “Over the hills to the poorhouse,” and other poems which are intended to make one happy by making one sad, and they concluded by singing together “My Country ’tis of Thee,” but could not remember the words beyond the second verse, which is so typical of our own young people.

The day we were to land there were more American flags in evidence in the second cabin than in any other quarter of the ship. The over-patriotic Jew had his dozen flags out, swinging them all in the face of the German policemen who lined the dock at Bremerhaven. Every button-hole bore the Stars and Stripes. When one of the thriftier Jews suggested that the wearing of the flag would cost them money, because the hotel keepers would charge them American rates, another replied: “It is worth all they will make me pay,” while another still more emphatically said: “They will see it in mine face that I am from America; let it cost me money.”

Swinging the Stars and Stripes they descended the gang plank; Slavs, Italians and Jews, all of them vociferous, patriotic Americans. Wherever they went they proclaimed their love for this country, and the superiority of America over the whole world.

“I will talk nothing but American; let them learn American, the best language in the world,” said one; and much to the chagrin of the sensitive Europeans, these second class passengers went blatantly and noisily through the streets of the cities of Europe, criticising everything they saw, from barber shops to statuary. One of them who had travelled far, who had seen on that journey the galleries of Paris, Munich and Dresden, and who had some little art sense, said: “I tell you the finest piece of statuary in the whole world is the Goddess of Liberty in New York Harbour;” and all those who heard said: “Amen.”

How deep the American ideals have taken root among them, one cannot yet discern; how completely the second generation will come under their sway, how much of the old world spirit will disappear or remain, is difficult to determine. This is no time to be blindly optimistic nor hopelessly pessimistic; it is a time for facing the dangers and not fearing them; for this is the noontide of our day of grace. This is the time to bring into action the best there is in American ideals; for as we present ourselves to this mass of men, so it will become. At present the mass is still a lump of clay in the hands of the potter; a huge lump it is true, but America is gigantic and this is not the least of the gigantic tasks left for her mighty sons and daughters to perform.

XXV

AU REVOIR

My Dear Lady of the First Cabin:

        I have followed your good advice, have told my story as I told it to you; and yours be the praise and the blame. You interrupted me in the telling, by saying that I did not know the first cabin, and that my story would not be complete until I knew that part of the ship and that portion of the world also.

I have as you see taken passage in the first cabin. They sold me the ticket as readily as if it were for the steerage and did not ask for my pedigree, only for my check. Fifty dollars more gave me the privilege of sitting where you sat (which was at one time the “seat of the scornful”), of looking proudly upon the second cabin, and pityingly upon the steerage below.

It is a delightful sensation this; of being summoned to your meals by the notes of a bugle rather than by the jangle of a shrill bell; of looking over half a yard of menu, and ordering what you want, and whom you want, just as you please, rather than being ordered about as some one else pleases.

The first day out I found the first cabin as quiet as the steerage; only more dignified. The passengers were walking on tiptoe; many of them trying to adjust themselves to these labyrinthine luxuries; while the distinguished rustle of silken petticoats relieved the pressure of the atmosphere, which naturally was tense from the excitement of the beginning of a journey. Critically, almost with hostility, each passenger measured the other; the tables were buried beneath the loads of flowers and floral designs which were past the fading, and in the first melancholy stages of decay; so that all of it reminded me of a palatial home, to which the mourners have just returned from a rich uncle’s funeral.

As yet, no one had spoken to me, although I had volunteered a wise remark about the weather to one passenger, and the gentleman addressed recoiled as if I had struck him with a sledge hammer. I learned afterwards that he occupied a thousand dollar suite of rooms and that his name was Kalbsfoos or something like it. In choosing his seat at the table, I heard him remark to the head steward that he did not want to sit “near Jews,” nor any “second class looking crowd”; but that was a difficult task to accomplish.

More than a third of the passengers were Jews, and more than two-thirds were people whose names and bearing betrayed the fact that they were either the children of immigrants, or immigrants themselves, who too were returning to the Old World because they had succeeded. In the Vs. Mr. Vanderbilt’s name headed the list, but the name closest to his was Vogelstein; while between such American or English names as Wallace and Wallingford, were a dozen Woolfs and Wumelbachers, Weises and Wiesels. I need not tell you of the multitude of the Rosenbergs and Rosenthals there were in our cabin. Mr. Funkelstein and Mr. Jaborsky were my room-mates. First cabin after all is only steerage twice removed, and beneath its tinsel and varnish, it is the same piece of world as that below me; which you pity, and which you dread.

The staple conversation to-day is the size of the pool—which has reached the thousand dollar mark, and the fact that a certain actor lost fifteen thousand dollars at poker the night before. In the second cabin the pool was smaller, the limit in poker ten cents; while in the steerage they lived, unconscious of the fact that pools and poker are necessary accompaniments of an ocean voyage.

It is a stratified society in which I find myself up here, and the lines are marked—dollar marked. The stewards instinctively know the size of our bank accounts by our wardrobes. Around the captain’s table are gathered the stars in the financial firmament; those whom nobody knows, who travel without retinue are at the remote edges of the dining room, far away from the lime light.

In the steerage, everybody “gets his grub” in the same way, in the same tin pans—“first come first served”; and all of us are kicked in the same unceremonious way by the ship’s crew.

The first cabin and the society it represents are not all finished products. There are many of those who eat, even at the captain’s table, who are still in blessed ignorance of the fact, that knives were not made for the eating of blueberry pie; and who also do not know what use to make of the tiny bowls of water in which rose leaves float, when they are placed before them.

Then there are the maidens who walk about with mannish tread, talking loudly and violently through their noses; who assault the piano furiously with the notes of rag-time marches; and who waft upon the air perfumes which offend one’s olfactory nerves.

Yet beside them, and in strong contrast to them are those superb men and women, the flower of American civilization, whose like has never been created anywhere else in the world.

No, what I have learned in the first cabin has not changed my vision in the least; for the world it represents is not closed to me; and I reckoned with it in my story. You know enough about me to realize that I harbour no class or race prejudices, and that I try to “play fair.”

The people of the steerage are in a large measure what I told you they are—primitive, uncultured, untutored people; with all their virtues and vices in the making. They are the best material with which to build a nation materially; they are good stock to be used in replenishing physical depletion; and capable of taking on the highest intellectual and spiritual culture. They are a serious problem in every respect; whether you shut the gates of Ellis Island to-day or to-morrow, those that are here are an equally serious problem.

One thing the journey in the first cabin has done for me; it has made me grateful for my journeys in the steerage; grateful that I could stand among those tangling threads out of which our national life is being woven, and see the woof and the warp, and know that the woof is good. I am conscious of the fact that it will take strong sound warp to hold it together, to fill out our pattern and complete our plan. Oh, my dear lady! What a great country in the making this is! And how close you and I are to the making!

Here are we, living at a time in which the greatest phenomenon of history is taking place. Future generations will wonder at the process and will say: “A new gigantic race was being born between the Atlantic and the Pacific; a race born to build or to destroy, to cry to the world, ‘Ground Arms,’ or cast it into the hell of war; a race in which are welded all kindreds of the people of the earth, or a race which will destroy itself by mutual hate.”

My lady, you and I are here to work at a task which will outstrip all the wonders of the world, and we cannot do it in our own strength; we need to call to each other, as we bend to our task, the greeting which the Slovaks sent after you when you left the ship:

“Z’Boghem, Z’Boghem,”
“The Lord be with thee.”

APPENDIX

IMMIGRATION STATISTICS

THE author has refrained from using statistics in his book, not because he has any objection to figures; but because the statistics of immigration (even those prepared by the United States Government) are misleading.

Professor Walter F. Willcox, Chairman of the Committee on Basal Statistics, appointed by the National Civic Federation, calls attention to this fact in his report, and gives the following reasons for their unreliability.

The meaning of any statistics depends largely upon the meaning of the unit in which the statistics are expressed. It is a common but fallacious assumption that a word used as the name of a statistical unit has precisely the same meaning that it has when used in popular speech. In the present case the word “immigrant” has had and to some degree still has different meanings, which may be called respectively the popular or theoretical meaning and the administrative or statistical meaning, and these two should be carefully distinguished.

In the popular or theoretical sense an immigrant is a person of foreign birth who is crossing the country’s boundary and entering the United States with intent to remain and become an addition to the population of the country. In this sense of the word an alien arrival is an immigrant whether he comes by water or by land, in the steerage or in the cabin, from contiguous or non-contiguous territory, and whether he pays or does not pay the head tax. The essential element is an addition to the population of the country as a result of travel and the word thus covers all additions to the population otherwise than by birth. A person cannot be an immigrant to the United States more than once any more than a person can be born more than once. It is a characteristic of this meaning that it does not alter.

The word immigrant in its administrative or statistical sense is not defined in the Reports of the Commissioner-General of Immigration, but from that source and from the instructions and other circulars issued by the Bureau the following statements regarding its meaning have been drawn:

1. The administrative or statistical meaning of immigrant is not fixed by statute law but is determined by the definitions or explanations of the Bureau of Immigration and those are dependent upon and vary with the law and administrative decisions.

2. In the latest circular of the Bureau immigrants are defined as “arriving aliens whose last permanent residence was in a country other than the United States who intend to reside in the United States.” This definition seems to agree closely with the popular or theoretical one.

3. But the foregoing definition is modified by a subsequent paragraph of the same circular which excludes from the immigrant class “citizens of British North America and Mexico coming direct therefrom by sea or rail.” So the official definition is substantially this: An alien neither a resident of the United States nor a citizen of British North America, Cuba or Mexico, who arrives in the United States intending to reside there.

4. The only important difference between these two definitions is that the statistical definition excludes, as the popular definition does not, citizens of British North America, Cuba and Mexico. As the natives of Canada and Mexico living in the United States in 1900 were 14.2 per cent. of the natives of all other foreign countries, it seems likely that the figures of immigration for the year 1905-06 should be increased about 14.2 per cent. in order to get an approximate estimate of the total immigration into the country during the year just ended.

5. Perhaps the most important difference between the popular or theoretical and the statistical definition of immigrant is that the former is unchanging and the latter has been modified several times by changes of law or by modifications of administrative interpretation.

6. Until January 1, 1906, an alien arrival was counted as an immigrant each time he entered the country, but since that date an alien who has acquired a residence in the United States and is returning from a visit abroad is not classed as an immigrant. This administrative change has brought the statistical and the popular meanings of immigrant into closer agreement, but in so doing has reduced the apparent number of immigrants more than ten per cent. and has made it difficult to compare the earlier and the later statistics.

7. Until January 1, 1903, an alien arriving in the first or second cabin was not classed as an immigrant, but rather under the head of other alien passengers. This change likewise brought the two meanings of immigrant into closer agreement, but also made it difficult to compare the figures before and after that date. By a mere change of administrative definition the reported number of immigrants was increased nearly twelve per cent.

8. Until the same date an alien arrival in transit to some other country was deemed an immigrant, but since that date such persons have been classed as non-immigrant aliens. This change also makes the figures before 1903 not strictly comparable with later ones. About three per cent. of those who were formerly classed as aliens have been excluded since 1903. The alteration has brought the two definitions closer together, but in so doing has entailed administrative difficulties which lead the bureau to favour a return to the former system or at least to favour collecting the head tax from such aliens in transit.

9. An immigrant in the statistical sense is a person liable for and paying the head tax. But to this there are two slight exceptions. Deserting alien seamen not apprehended are liable for the head tax which is paid by the company from which they desert, but such cases are not included in the statistics. Citizens of British North America, Cuba and Mexico coming from other ports than those of their own country are reported as immigrants, but do not pay the head tax. Obviously both are minor exceptions hardly affecting the rule. In the popular or theoretical meaning of immigrant this head tax is not an element.

10. Probably other changes of definition have occurred of recent years. No attempt has been made to exhaust the list. The general tendency of the changes has clearly been towards a closer agreement of the popular and the statistical meanings. But they have probably tended to make the increase of immigration indicated by the figures greater than the actual increase, and to that degree to make the figures misleading. If the Government Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization could make a carefully studied estimate of the extent to which such changes in the official reports really modify the apparent meaning of the published figures, it would render a valuable service.

11. A committee like the present can hardly make such an estimate or go further than to point out that for the reasons indicated the official statistics of immigration are likely to be seriously misinterpreted and are constantly misinterpreted by the public.

The official statistics of immigration being subject to all the qualifications indicated and reflecting so imperfectly the amount of immigration as ordinarily or popularly conceived the question at once arises, Can any substitute or any alternative be proposed? What the public is mainly interested in, I think, and what it commonly but erroneously believes is indicated by the official figures of immigration, is the net addition to the population year by year as a result of the currents of travel between the United States and other countries.

Alternative figures for the last eight years, a period which closely coincides with the last great wave of immigration now at or near its crest, may be had by comparing the total arrivals and departures in the effort to get the net gain. The results appear in the following table:

Fiscal Year Total
Passengers
Arrivals
Total
Passengers
Departed
Total
Immigration
Arrivals
Minus
Departure
Per Cent.
That Net
Increase
Makes of
Immigration
1898343,963225,411229,299118,55251.8
1899429,796256,008311,715173,78855.8
1900594,478293,404448,572301,07467.0
1901675,025306,724487,918368,30475.5
1902820,893326,760648,743494,13376.3
19031,025,834375,261857,046650,57375.9
1904988,688508,204812,870480,48459.3
19051,234,615536,1511,026,499698,46468.1
1898-1905 4,822,6623,285,37268.1

The figures indicate that the net increase of population by immigration during the last eight years has been slightly more than two-thirds of the reported immigration. But these figures of net increase should be increased by an estimate of the arrivals by land from Canada and Mexico. As the Canadians and Mexicans by birth residing in the United States in 1900 were 14.2 per cent. of all residents born in other foreign countries, this would indicate an influx of 466,000 Canadians and Mexicans, a figure probably in excess of the truth since the currents have probably been setting Canadaward of recent years. I estimate, therefore, that the net increase from immigration 1898-1905 has been about 3,750,000 instead of 4,820,000 as might be inferred from the reports of the bureau of immigration. The actual increase would then be about seventy-eight per cent. of the apparent increase.

 

 

Printed in the United States of America

INDEX

A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, T, U, V, W, Y, Z

Americana,” by Dr. Lamprecht, quoted, 321
Americanizing the stranger, 291
Americans, poor example set by, 119
Americans or foreigners, in the slums, 316
Amish, the, 96
Anti-Semitic riots, 53
Ashkenazim, the, 146
Assimilation, miracle of, 291
Atheism of Hungarians, 249
Austro-Hungarian Jews, 148

Bialistok, Jews from, 61, 325
Bohemian movement, beginning of, 23
Bohemian immigrant, distribution of, 225;
characteristics of, 227;
irreligion of, 228;
socialism of, 234;
both best and worst, 235
Bohemian school teachers from Cleveland, 355
Bulgarians, the, 26, 180

Castle Garden days, 78
Catholic, see also Roman Catholic
Catholic Church, foreign priests a hindrance to, 323;
and the Bohemians, 229;
and the Italian, 278
Catholic Hungarians, 247
Centre of Mill Horror, 222
Christian Church and Jews, 164
Church, political power of, 322
Citizenship papers for ten dollars, 331
Commissioner Watchorn, Ellis Island, 81
Commissioner Williams, Ellis Island, 81
Competition the life of prejudice, 309.
Count Aponyi, Hungary, quoted, 318
Crainers, the, 212
Criminal element among immigrants, 75
Criminals, Italian, 255, 273
Croatians, the, 26, 180, 212
Czechs, the, 180

Dalmatians, the, 26, 181
Degeneration due to influx of foreigner, not evident, 304
Deported from Ellis Island, 65, 66, 68, 72, 82, 92
Detention room, in the, 68
Diocletian, palace of, a Slavic town, 18

Economic problem of new American, 309
Economic value of immigrant, 318
Educational Alliance, the, 161, 163
Ellis Island ahead, 48;
examination at, 65;
conditions at, 79;
new conditions at, 86
Emigrant, passports for, 31;
treatment of, at port of embarkation, 32;
medical examination of, 35;
examination of, at home, 75
Endeavour Societies, Jewish, 151
Ethical Culture Society, the, 152
Excluding the weak and helpless, 072

Families divided, by inspectors, 65
Finns, the, 27
Free thinkers, 106
First Cabin vs. Steerage, 14

Gentlemen in homespun vs. beasts in broadcloth, 46
George, Joseph J., Worcester, Mass., and Syrian children, 83
Geringer, Mr., editor Svornost, 228, 229
Ghetto, the Russian, 136;
of New York, 154;
vs. the West Side, 305;
vs. upper Broadway, 306
German aristocracy, the real, 98
German Evangelical Church, 108
German immigrants, the first, 94;
characteristics of, 97;
socialism of, 98;
intellectual life of, 100;
social life of, 101;
political influence of, 103;
influence of Church upon, 105;
materialism of, 107;
influence of, on religious life, 108
German Jews, 148
German Methodists, 108
Great Russian, the, 181
Greek Catholic Church, the, 204
Greek Catholic immigrants, 322
Greek Church and the Slav, 204
Greek immigrant, the, 282;
characteristics of, 285, 288;
and the Church, 287
Greek Orthodox immigrants, 322
Greek play at Hull House, 291

Hall, Prescott F., quoted, 296
Hamburg, treatment of emigrant, 34
Hartford, Conn., Italian district, 266;
gathering of Jews in, 298
Hearst influence in the Ghetto, 168
Hertzl, Theodore, 298
Hester Street vs. the West Side, 305
Hoar, Geo. F., Senator, quoted, 82
Hoboken saloon-keeper, the, 348
Hungarian, see also Magyar
Hungarian Catholic, the, 247
Hungarian Greek Catholic, 247
Hungarian gypsies, 244
Hungarian immigrant, characteristics of, 250;
socialism of, 244;
hostility to religion, 249
Hungarian Jews in second cabin, 351
Hungarian Protestant, the, 248
“Hunkies,” 198;
looking for work, 213;
in steel mills in Penn., 220;
with the Illinois Steel Co., 222
Huss, John, succeeded by George Washington, 234

Illyrian, the, 180
Imagination and reality, 74
Immigrant of to-day, characteristics of, 29;
expectations of, 62;
treatment of, at Ellis Island, 79;
types of, 91;
not content with old conditions, 311;
problem of, not an economic one, 314;
economic value of, 318;
economic effect on his own country, 318;
religious ideas of, 322;
amenable to religious influence, 326;
in politics, 330;
patriotism of, 332
Immigrant societies, 64
Immigration, quality of, improving, 91;
where the danger lies, 92
Immigration laws, effect on steam ship companies, 35;
amendment to, procured by Senator Hoar, 85;
as to public charge, 92
Immigration Congress, N. Y., 315
Infidelity of Bohemians, 228
Ingersoll, Robert, influence of, 228, 230
Inspectors at Ellis Island, 80
Italian movement, beginning of 19
Italian, the, at home, 28, 252;
characteristics of, 253;
affected by other races, 253;
lawlessness of, 255;
criminals, 255;
distrust of the Church, 258, 260
Italian immigrant, the, 262;
characteristics of, 262;
distribution of, 264, 269;
in business, 268;
competitor of the Jew, 271;
and the school, 276;
and the Church, 277
Italians returning in the second cabin, 354

Jamestown, N. Y., Swedish colony of, 117, 122
Jewish movement, beginning of, 21
Jewish world, the real, 133
Jews the, in the old world, 126;
homelessness of, 126;
distribution of, 127;
characteristics of, 127;
in Russia, 134;
socialism of, 140;
250th anniversary of landing in America, 143;
charter granted to, in 1655, 144;
four groups of, 147;
spiritual movements among, 151;
and the Christian churches, 164, 329;
missions in the Ghetto, 166;
in politics, 167;
second generation of, 171;
mutual distrust of, 172;
racial fealty of, 303;
relation to Christianity, 329
Judaism, crisis of, in America, 302.

Kishineff, Jews from, 61, 325

Labour market, changes in, 310
Labour unions or manufacturers’ associations, 310
Lady of the First Cabin, The, 9, 359
Lamprecht, Prof. K., quoted, 101, 321
Lindsburgh, Kansas, model Swedish town, 122
Lithuanians, the, 27
Little Hungary, 238, 305;
as a political school, 352
Little Russian, the, 182
Lodge, Henry Cabot, Senator, 83
Lombroso, Dr., on criminology, 256
Lutheran church, influence of, 105
Lutheran church and the Swedes, 118

Magyar, see also Hungarian
Magyar, the, 27;
Jews, 149;
in Austro-Hungary, 241;
in Little Hungary, 242;
political tendencies of, 244;
not Slavs, 241
Man at the Gate, the, 78
Marxian Socialism, 98, 234
Massarik, Professor, quoted, 230
Materialism of Germans, 107;
of Bohemians, 230
Mennonites, the, 94
Milwaukee, the most German city, 100
Minneapolis, 115, 122
Minnesota, Swedes unpopular in, 117
Money sent home by immigrant, an economic gain, 320
Montefiore, Sir Moses, 131
Montenegrins, the, 26, 180
Moravians, the, 96

National Immigrant Societies, 64
Neglect, effect of, 124
Nelson, Knute, 117
New Britain, Conn., Polish town, 212
New Greece, Chicago, 288
New Prague, typical Bohemian town, 231
New Ulm, a city without a church, 98

Odessa, Jews from, 61

Pastorius, Francis Daniel, 96
Paupers and criminals, a million a year? 72
Pole, the, vs. the Slovak, 210
Polish movement, beginning of, 24
Polish town, New Britain, Conn., 211
Political immigrants, 97
Political tutelage of immigrants, 330
Pope Pius X, 259
President Roosevelt and Ellis Island, 81
Prohibitionists, the first, 96
Protecting American labour, 309
Protestant influence on Bohemians, 231;
Hungarians, 248;
Church and the Italians, 281
Public charge, a, 68

Rabbinism, power of, 146
Rabbis of the Ghetto, 162
Race movement of Eastern Europe, 16
Races, difficulty of distinguishing between, 294
Racial characteristics, changes in, 294
Racial fealty of Jews, 303
Religions, national, 322
Religious atmosphere of America, 321
Religious ideas of immigrants, 322
Republicans, Democrats and “Inepenny,” 345
Restriction Immigration League, 296
Returned immigrant, influence at home, 339
Roman displaced by Slav, 18
Roman Catholic, see also Catholic
Roman Catholic Church, influence on Germans, 105;
and the Slav, 204
Roman Catholic immigrants, 322
Roosevelt, President, and Ellis Island, 81;
letter to, of Senator Hoar, 84
Russian Jews, 150;
characteristics of, 173
Russian refugees, 57

Saloon-keepers in second cabin, 349
Scandinavian immigrant, the, 112;
characteristics of, 113;
distribution of, 114;
second generation of, 113;
considered unreliable, 117;
town of Lindsburgh, Kansas, 122
Schurz, Carl, 97
Schwenkfelders, the, 96
Secret societies of Italy, 256
Sephardic Congregations, 145
Servant girl, as she returns, 337
Servians, the, 26, 180, 212
Shylock vs. Daniel Deronda, 130
Silverman, Dr. Joseph, 143
Slav at home, the, 20;
distribution of, 179;
characteristics of, 180, 183;
blood revenge still practiced, 185;
treatment of women, 187;
love of music, 189;
religious feeling of, 195
Slavic immigrant, the, 198;
the Slovak, 198;
the Pole, 198, 210;
the Bohemian, 225
Slavic literature, 194
Slovak movement, the, 25
Slovak, the, 180, 191, 200;
in politics, 206;
entertainments, 207;
as a type, 301
Slovenes, the, 26, 181
Slums in the, Americans or foreigners, 316
Socialism of Germans, 98;
of Jews, 140;
of Bohemians, 234;
of Italians, 257
Social nose or social heart, 12
Social Democracy, and the Magyars, 243
Social Democrats in the Ghetto, 167
Social Labour Jews, 169
South Chicago, steel mills of, 222
Spanish Jews, 147
Steamship companies, responsibility of, 76
Steerage, the, from the quarter-deck, 10;
conditions in, 35;
vs. second cabin, 36;
should be abolished, 37;
accommodations, English best, 38;
vs. the slum, 41;
songs, 42;
comradeship of, 43, 50;
amusements of, 51;
question of, 53;
shadows of the past, 53;
polyglot sermon in, 62;
and anarchy, 77;
fellowship of, on return voyage, 334;
self-assertive on return, 335
“Stomach Jews” vs. “Soul Jews,” 328
Stratified society in first cabin, 362
Strikes by foreigners, 311
Svornost, Bohemian infidel paper, 228, 232
Swedes, see Scandinavians
Syrian children, story of, 82
Syrians, the, 28

Tragedy of the deported, 65, 66, 68-72, 82, 92
Tucker, President, quoted, 326
Tunkers, the, 96
Turner Societies, 106, 230

University Settlement, the, 164

Vanderbilt vs. Vogelstein, 361

Watchorn, Robert, Commissioner, Ellis Island, 81;
secures reforms, 86
Wends, the, 180
West Side vs. Ghetto, 14
Williams, William, Commissioner at Ellis Island, 81

Yiddish, the, 156

Zionistic movement, 141
Zionist leader, Theodore Hertzl, 298


SOCIOLOGICAL


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The Crisis of Morals

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Good Bird, the Indian

Home Mission Junior Study Course. Illustrated, 16mo, boards, net 40c; paper, net 25c.

Who wouldn’t like to sit down by an old Indian and hear from his lips the story of his life and the lives of the people? Certainly every American boy or girl would, and that is just what is offered to the fortunate boys and girls who use this either as a text book in their Home Missionary Societies, or as their very own book.

GEORGE EDWARD HAWES

The Fresh Air Child

12mo, cloth, net 50c.

This simple little tale will carry the sure appeal of unprotected and unparented childhood to the heart of the reader. As a campaign document in the interests of fresh air and better homes for the stifled and abandoned children of our great cities, it will make an irresistible and most effective appeal.

CHARLES LINCOLN WHITE

Prince and Uncle Billy

A First Reader in Home Missions. 16mo, cloth, net 50c, or net 75c.

“Prince” is a pony, once owned by the Indians, and “Uncle Billy” an old horse, used formerly by a frontier missionary on his preaching journeys. These too, and many other animals tell missionary stories and other incidents of their earlier lives.

MARY LANE DWIGHT

Children of Labrador

Illustrated, 16mo, cloth, net 60c.

It is hard to picture a more delightful addition to “The Children’s Missionary Series” than this vivid story of Dr. Grenfell’s land. Its simplicity and clearness appeals to children, yet grown-ups will be equally fascinated in its descriptions of the children of the Eskimos and fishermen of this barren land, so pathetically described by an old native as “wonderful bleak and dreary.”

Earlier Volumes in The Children’s Missionary Series

Children of AfricaChildren of IndiaChildren of Egypt
    James M. Baird     Janet Harvey Kelman     Miss L. Crowther
Children of Arabia Children of CeylonChildren of Persia
    John C. Young     Thomas MoscropMrs. Napier Malcolm
Children of ChinaChildren of JamaicaChildren of Japan
    C. Campbell Brown     Isabel C. Maclean    Janet Harvey Kelman


BIOGRAPHY


EDWARD A. STEINER Author of “On the Trail of the Immigrant”

From Alien to Citizen

The Story of My Life in America. Illustrated, 8vo, net $1.50.

In this wonderfully interesting book we see Professor Steiner evolving from boyhood in a far-off Hungarian town, into an immigrant to the West; then, year by year, undergoing experiences, the story of which is conducive to a better understanding of what the alien has to endure in order to gradually adjust himself to American conditions and institutions. Real life is portrayed first among the racial wrongs and hatred of southern Europe, then in the steerage of the ocean liner; in New York, Princeton, Pittsburgh, and cities further west. Through and in it all, we see Professor Steiner, pressing ever forward and upward to the position of opportunity and influence he occupies to-day.

H. ROSWELL BATES

The Life of H. Roswell Bates

A Biographical Sketch by S. RALPH HARLOW. With Portraits. 12mo, cloth, net $1.00.

The author of this short “Life” knew Roswell Bates from his early years, and presents a satisfying picture of the man as he really was; at work and play; laboring, spending himself for others, giving of his best to “Spring Street,” on the lower west side of New York, and going to his rest before he reached his prime, yet with a great life-work well and nobly done.

HERRICK JOHNSON, D.D.

Herrick Johnson

An Appreciative Memoir by Rev. Charles E. Robinson, D.D. With Three Portraits. Cloth, net $1.25.

A faithful and convincing survey of the life and life-work of one of the great, formative figures of American Presbyterianism. Dr. Robinson enjoyed an almost life-long friendship with his subject, and is thereby enabled to present a satisfying picture of Herrick Johnson as student, pastor, seminary professor, and church statesman, such as no mere biographer could possibly have furnished.

RAY STRACHEY

A Quaker Grandmother: Hannah Whitall Smith

Reminiscences of the author of “The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life”

Illustrated, 16mo, cloth, net $1.00.

Hannah Whitall Smith was one of the great formative, religious influences of her time. She was a philanthropist, a mother in Israel, a spiritual guide. Yet it is with none of these things that the present sketch has to do. It depicts her in simple relations of life only—that of a grandmother to her grandchildren.

MRS. E. M. WHITTEMORE

Delia, the Blue Bird of Mulberry Bend

Illustrated, 12mo, cloth, net 75c.; paper, net 35c.

A new and revised edition of the heart-searching story of spiritual ruin and rescue already circulated in many tongues and lands, told by the founder of the Door of Hope Mission.

MADAME GUYON

Life of Madam Guyon

8vo, cloth, net $2.00.

The life, religious opinions and experience of Madame de la Mothe Guyon, together with an account of the personal history of Fenelon, Archbishop of Cambray. By Thomas C. Upham. New edition, with detailed Table of Contents and an Introduction by Prof. W. R. Inge.

PAUL SEIPPEL

A Huguenot Saint of the Twentieth Century

The Life of Adèle Kamm. Translated from the French by Olive Wyon. With Portrait. Net $1.25.

A short biography which imparts more wisdom on the problem of suffering than a whole shelf-full of treatises. It is an account of the brief, pain-racked life of a sweet-souled follower of Jesus who passed from earth in 1911, at the age of twenty-five. Into the last six years of the life of this little Swiss girl were crowded experiences of God’s presence and of human need, of Divine support and of self-dedicatory usefulness for others, such as would have done honor to even a long life.

WILLIAM A. SUNDAY, D.D.

The Real Billy Sunday

By Elijah (“Ram’s Horn”) BROWN. Illustrated, 12mo, cloth, net $1.00.

“This volume is prepared by a gifted writer who has long been a personal friend of Mr. Sunday’s, and who was for many years his associate in evangelistic labors. It begins with his birth in an early Iowa log cabin and follows him down to the present. It tells the story of his early experiences, his baseball associations, his conversion and his work in successive meetings. It is a wonderful story, delightful almost overpowering as a narrative of the grace of God, and full of the most interesting facts and incidents. No one who reads it will find a dull page in it, nor will he ever question whether the day of revivals has passed.”—Herald and Presbyter.


EARLIER WORKS IN DEMAND


MARTHA S. GIELOW

Uncle Sam

A Story of the Mountaineers. Illustrated, net 50c.

“Mrs. Gielow has written ‘Mammy’s Reminiscences,’ ‘Old Plantation Days’ and ‘Old Andy the Moonshiner,’ in addition to ‘Uncle Sam,’ and the wide circulation of these stories has accomplished much toward procuring interest and aid for the cause.”—Book News.

EDWARD A. STEINER Author of “On the Trail of the Immigrant”

The Parable of the Cherries

12mo, boards, net 50c.

“The little book is truly a call to larger brotherhood by one who has devoted his life to informing us toward the stranger within our gates.”—N. Y. Times.

JOHN BUNYAN

The Pilgrim’s Progress

New Pilgrim Edition. 12mo, cloth, decorated, net 50c.

A popular reprint of the standard “Puritan” edition, acknowledged to be without a superior in point of accuracy and faithfulness to the latest revisions by Bunyan himself. With eight of the celebrated Copping illustrations—clear type, annotated.

I. T. THURSTON Author of “The Bishop’s Shadow,” etc.

The Torch Bearer

A Camp Fire Girl’s Story. Illustrated, net $1.00.

“A story of Camp Fire life both in the city meetings and in active camp in the country, it shows with graphic clearness what this great movement will mean to thousands of girls. The author has made this appeal the underlying burden of the narrative, all the more poignant because it is made without any attempt at effort. An interesting tale for not only the initiated but the uninitiated as well.”—Washington Times.

MARY STEWART Author of “Tell Me a True Story,” etc.

The Shepherd of Us All

Stories of the Christ Retold for Children. Illustrated, net $1.25.

“The book goes into the enticing realms of fairy lore. A shepherd with a magic flute leads the way. Then come adventures in plenty. All the favorites, even unto the giants, are found, and there is not a word to keep the most nervous youngster from sleeping as do the just.”—Baltimore Sun.

WAYNE WHIPPLE

The Story-Life of the Son of Man

8vo, illustrated, net $2.50.

“A literary mosaic, consisting of quotations from a great number of writers concerning all the events of the Gospels. The sub-title accurately describes its contents. That sub-title is ‘Nearly a thousand stories from sacred and secular sources in a continuous and complete chronicle of the earth life of the Saviour.’ The book was prepared for the general reader, but will be valuable to minister, teacher and student. There are many full-page engravings from historic paintings and sacred originals, some reproduced for the first time.”—Christian Observer.

GAIUS GLENN ATKINS, D.D.

Pilgrims of the Lonely Road

12mo, cloth, net $1.50.

“A rare book for its style, its theme and the richness of its insight. Seldom is seen a book of more exquisite grace of diction—happy surprises of phrase, and lovely lengths of haunting prose to delight the eye. Each of the great pilgrim’s studies is followed step by step along the lonely way of the soul in its quest of light, toward the common goal of all—union with the eternal.”—Chicago Record-Herald.

S. D. GORDON

Quiet Talks on Following The Christ

12mo, cloth, net 75c.

“This volume is well calculated to aid in Christian life, to give strength, courage and light on difficult problems. It grips one’s very life, brings one face to face with God’s word, ways of understanding it and, even its every day application. It is plain, clear, direct, no confusion of dark sentences.”—Bapt. Observer.

G. CAMPBELL MORGAN, D.D.

The Teaching of Christ

A Companion Volume to “The Crises of The Christ.” 8vo, cloth, net $1.50.

“One does not read far before he is amazed at the clear and logical grasp Dr. Morgan has upon divine truths. Could a copy of this book, with its marvelous insight, its straightforwardness, its masterly appeal, be placed in the hands of our church leaders, it would go far toward negativing the spiritual barrenness of destructive criticism. Here is a work that may profitably occupy a prominent place in the minister’s library.”—Augsburg Teacher.

ZEPHINE HUMPHREY

The Edge Of the Woods And Other Papers

12mo, cloth, net $1.25.

“Sane optimism, an appreciation of the beautiful and a delicate humor pervades the book which is one for lovers of real literature to enjoy.”—Pittsburgh Post.

CHARLES G. TRUMBULL

Anthony Comstock, Fighter

Illustrated, 12mo, cloth, net $1.25.

“Probably there is no man on this continent to-day who hat done more to clean things up than Mr. Comstock has, or shown more splendid courage and endurance in the doing of it. It is a splendid story, that will not only inspire its readers, but will send many a man out himself for the good cause of cleanness and righteousness in the land.”—Christian Guardian.

FRANK J. CANNON—DR. GEORGE L. KNAPP

Brigham Young and His Mormon Empire

Illustrated, 8vo, cloth, net $1.50.

“Senator Cannon was born a Mormon, but has since seen light. Nevertheless, his story of Brigham Young’s life is not a polemic. Born in a Puritan home, endowed with a forceful personality and a gift for administration, Brigham Young is one of the most picturesque characters in our American life, and his biography reads like a chapter in the life of an ancient patriarch, a modern politician and a business promoter all rolled together.”—Congregationalist.

CLARA E. LAUGHLIN Author of “Everybody’s Lonesome”

The Work-A-Day Girl

A Study of Present Day Conditions. Illustrated, 12mo, cloth, net $1.50.

“Sociologically considered, this is a most important work, written by a woman who has personally investigated the conditions she recites. Her knowledge, bought by years of service, proves that environment alone is not responsible for the perils of unguarded girlhood. For that reason the book appeals individually to all who come in touch with the workaday girl, and teaches that whether or not we be our brother’s keeper, there is no doubt as to our responsibility toward our little sister of toil.”—Washington Evening Star.

FREDERIC J. HASKIN Author of “The American Government”

The Immigrant: An Asset and a Liability 12mo, cloth, net $1.25.

“Persons are asking how they may best do their duty and their whole duty to those coming to our shores. This book is a valuable light on the subject. It is full of facts and it is a capable and conscientious study as to the meaning of the facts. Any thoughtful person will find here much valuable material for study and the book is calculated to do much good.”—Herald and Presbyter.

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:
the announcment=> the announcment {pg 16}
in prone fight=> in prone flight {pg 27}
rough rock throne=> rough rock-throne {pg 27}
the perishing of Pharoah’s horsemen=> the perishing of Pharaoh’s horsemen {pg 56}
heard that I had been in Bialistok, Kishinef=> heard that I had been in Bialistok, Kishineff {pg 61}
gentle mein=> gentle mien {pg 159}
“Little Italy” at once=> “Little Italy” at least once {pg 271}

FOOTNOTES:

[1] The Dutch West India Company.

[2] This group is receiving scarcely any additions through emigration.

[3] The decrease of German emigration has had its effect in lessening the numbers of this group.

[4] “Immigration,” p. 128, Prescott F. Hall.

[5] The special agent of the Department of Agriculture.







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