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ARRIVAL AT NEW YORK. 35
Custom House, for which a sum of fifty cents, or about two shillings and twopence is demanded. This first exaction, though of trifling amount, did not serve to give us any favourable impress of the American system of remunerating their public officers, which makes any part of their salary depend upon the chance fees, they are thus able to secure from the casual traveller, or more needy emigrant landing upon their shores. As we were naturally anxious to see New York, we secured an early passage in the steamer from Staten Island, from which it is distant about seven miles across the inner bay and harbour, and reached this first and most important of all American cities, about four o'clock. All our cabin passengers being strangers, proposed keeping together, and were soon well accommodated at an excellent hotel, the "Mansion House," out of the noise and tumult of business, though in the immediate vicinage of Wall Street, the Bowling Green, and Battery.
Emigration—The necessity of approaching its inquiry with caution—Public writers on Emigration to the States—Their habitual exaggeration, and fallacy of many of their statements corrected—The industrious and prudent only that succeed— Of European Emigrants in general—The proportionate number of German, Scotch, and Irish, who are successful—Of the number of passengers who annually arrive in the United States—Individual feeling of dislike in the United States to European Emigrants—Native American party—Their objects and organization—Their late manifesto—The published declaration of their leaders—State laws affecting Emigration— Tax levied on Emigrants — Its unconstitutionality—The spirit of hostility directed against the European Emigrant in the United States—The busy interference of the Irish Emigrant in the politics and local affairs of the country—Their strong partisanship, and the prejudice it occasions.
Of all the means held forth to man for the improvement, and bettering his fortunes and condition in the world, there is certainly none that requires more serious and calm reflection; none that we should approach with more patient and deliberate inquiry, or regard with more apprehension of its advantages, or ultimate success, than emigration. Whether we consider it with relation to ourselves merely, or those mayhap who may be influenced by our decision and example, or whether with reference to the advantages we are about to surrender for the uncertain, and perhaps the mere imaginary ones we
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hope to secure by an abandonment of country, and change of home.
It were indeed an easy matter with those in whom an inherent restlessness of disposition may nurture discontent under every auspices, or to whom fortune in its capricious mood may have been chary of her favours, to arrive at a conclusion, and promise themselves by the change an immediate improvement in their means and worldly circumstances, a sudden realization of the fanciful dreams, created perhaps by the difficulties of embarrassed situation, and who see nothing in the prospective to mar or cloud those anticipations, beyond the impediments in their way to an immediate accomplishment of their purpose. But the path to wealth and independence in America, is by no means of that easy discovery, that all who seek it may ascertain its course; or of that generally diffused kind, that all who may reach the shores of the New World, are sure to partake of its advantages. The emigrant, whose indolence of disposition, or whose unhappy and unsettled temper, unfits him in his own country for the successful prosecution of a profitable employment, will very soon find, that the same drawbacks will impede his advancement in the United States, the same difficulties obstruct his progress to independence, and interrupt his way to wherever he may direct his footsteps. He will find assistance withheld, or only extended to him according to the measure of his own exertions, or general usefulness in the community he is amongst, and his increased
wants supplied in proportion only to the efforts he himself may make for their procurement. ""lis not every emigrant (says the eminent Franklin) who succeeds; no, it is only the sober, the honest, and industrious. Happy those whom the transition has proved a powerful spur to prosperity, and to the good establishment of children, born in the days of their poverty, and who had no other portion to expect than the rags of their parents, had it not been for their happy emigration. Others, again, have been led astray by this enchanting scene; their new pride, instead of leading them to the field, has kept them in idleness; the idea of possessing land is all that satisfies them; though surrounded by fertility, they have mouldered away their time in inactivity, misinformed husbandry, and ineffectual endeavours."
It has heretofore been the practice of most writers on Emigration to the United States, to present, beyond the reasonable gain secured to honest industry and perseverance (and which will be sure of a reward in every country) further and unreasonable inducements to the settler—an assurance of other immediate and extended advantages, representing them also of easy acquisition where none are really to be found; or if that they possess a more than ideal existence, are so placed beyond the emigrant's reach, as to render them at all times of questionable value to him. They present to his imagination, the daydream of immediate independence and wealth, as already within his grasp, which sustains his hopes,
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fires his ambition, and leads him on to acts of repeated indiscretion, until the realities of his situation points out the unexpected difficulties with which he is beset, when there is then no receding from the course he has taken, no mode of retracing the ground he has passed over, or opportunity given to atone to himself, and retrieve the errors he has committed through their means. He is told: "So high are the wages of labour, averaging at least double the rate of England, and quadruple that of France; so comparatively scanty the population; so great the demand for all kinds of work; so vast the quantity, and so low the price of land; so light the taxes, and so little burdensome the public expenditure and debt," that " every man in the country is a landowner, and has competence within his grasp." He is also assured by the same authority, re-echoed in every successive period to the present day, "That a small sum of money, the savings of two or three years of an industrious prudent man, will enable him to purchase one or two hundred acres of land;" and that, "from this cause labourers turn farmers as soon as they have acquired a little property." This is not fair—it is not just to the people of other nations. It is not fair, by this and such like extravagant and undue colouring—this deliberate perversion of simple fact, to excite expectations in the breasts or minds of men, that no reality can approach or hope to come near. Neither is it just for any sinister, or apparently laudable end, to persuade the confiding, and frequently the unfortunate of other countries,