Изображения страниц

shores; and if it can be here more readily encountered and remedied, the truly philanthropic moralist and Christian will not object to its coming to us. Certainly there is little danger of its infecting our native population; little danger of its spreading at all among us. Who ever heard of an American convert to Chinese Buddhism? We do hear of conversions from our own people to Mormonism ; yet a flood of ignorant, fanatical Mormons from the dregs of European life is pouring in upon us, and swelling the pool of Mormon organized society, with no disturbance of pious tranquillity and confidence. But it is proved that the Chinaman easily drops off his superstitions and his idolatries. He readily puts himself under Christian tuition; he freely accepts Christian teaching. No class of people offers so hopeful a field of Christian labor as the Chinese among us. They are without difficulty gathered into Sunday schools; they receive without cavil Christian instruction; they become Christian converts; they enter with true Christian zeal into the work of spreading the truth among their countrymen, both here and in their own land. An enlightened philanthropy and piety should, hence, rather encourage than hinder their coming among us. That the Christian civilization and culture of this country is to array any opposition to the free influx of the Chinese is, therefore, not to be anticipated.

This rapid survey of the causes which may be thought to work as serious checks to the free immigration from China shows that direct opposition and hinderance will probably effect little; the effective checks will lie in the want of facilities for transportation and in the ordinary hinderances to removing of households and to procuring of satisfactory employinent. It is reasonably to be anticipated that in the future more comparatively will arrive with the purpose of permanent residence. The past successes of employers will invite to other arrangements for Chinese labor on railroads, in manufactorres, in mines, on plantations, and for household service. The success, too, of the Chinese agricultural enterprises for the production of silk and cotton and tea will lead to the multiplication of these enterprises ; and all such permanent locations of Chinese communities will invite immigrants. The increased intercourse between those that are here and friends at home will naturally facilitate emigration. Every view indicates a steady and rapid increase, while yet no facts or reasons in the case enable us to fix any limits to the immigration within hundreds of thousands a year. It is to this possible, not to say most probable, vastness of the element with which we have to deal that both political and philanthropic policy and effort should be addressed.


This incoming element, then, which must either greatly hamper or greatly help our national prosperity, wbich, perhaps we should say, must either overwhelm and smother, or immeasurably enlarge and enrich our political and social life, is to be controlled, not checked; and we cannot too carefully and steadily keep before us the definite end to which all the particulars of this control should be directed. It is, in a proper sense perhaps of that expression, but a high peculiar sense, to be utilized. It is to be utilized after the laws of its own nature-after the principles of rational freedom in the most exact reciprocity of duty and privilege. It is to be assimilated to our own life and incorporated into it. The thorough Americanization of this new element is the comprehensive result which all political and individual endeavors in regard to them should seek. It is to be assimilated to the highest, completest form of our civilization, as intelligent, free, Christian.

It will prove a terrible pest and bane if it be allowed to have a place in our social system only as a foreign element, as fungous or parasitic, China has never known caste; America knows it no more. The institutions of both countries alike repel and abominate it. Only the greed or the tyranny of individuals, or of communities among us, can, and then only in spite of our fundamental laws and in audacious resistance to them, make a servile class of these immigrants; and the true way to prevent this result is not to stop back the stream, but arrest the iniquity that would poison it. Full and exact equality of social duty and privilege is the fundamental principle of all true and wise policy in the treatment of immigrants to our shores. The indispensable condition of our highest national well-being is the organic membership of all the races, all the kindreds, all the families, all the individuals dwelling among us, so that each shall minister and be ministered to, nourish and be nonrished by, all the rest-one common pulsation beating through every element in our system.

Nor need any alarm be taken from outeries against the horrors of "amalgamation" and “miscegenation.” These are mere bug-bears, invented by political cunning to frighten silly men, who do not understand that the freedom of our life and institutions assures, in the main, that social connections and alliances will be between parties best suited to each other, and therefore that public morality and decency will not be shocked by unseemly unions. At all events, history shows that whatever evil of this kind may arise, it is sporadic and exceptional, and can only be aggravated by governmental interference.

Chinese civilization has much that is in common to what is peculiar to American as distinguished from European civilization. Its principles of social equality, as before alluded to, its submission

to law and authority rather than to hereditary and personal rule, its love of home and family, its requirement of universal education, its enforcement of political responsibility, are true American principles; and fresh importations will but help to overthrow and exterminate what of hostility to the free working of these principles the feudal and out-of-door life of European society has introduced among us. The characteristic vices of Chinese life are rather moral and religious than political, as their superstition, their idolatry, their gambling propensities, their love of opium, which last vice, it should be remarked, is but of recent introduction and of limited extent, forced, in a sense, upon them by foreign cupidity and power against their established laws. These vices are not to be kept out by a futile attempt to stop the providentially-ordered intercourse between nations, but to be cured by suitable moral means. Most certainly it would be very unwise to oppose their spread by closing the channels of intercommunication between members of our own political body. Fusion, rather than fencing and walling into separate fields, is the true result which wisdom prescribes.

This thorough incorporation into our common national life involves some particulars of policy which it may not be amiss to specify.


The citizens of this country should speak the same language incorruptly. Diversity of dialects may possibly consist with a certain national unity and integrity; it is certainly ever a hinderance to it. The thoughts and sentiments of a people to be in accord and sympathy, to be healthful and nourishing in the fullest extent, must flow in and out, to and from the different parts, through the channel of a single dialect. A pure, incorrupt English should be held forth as the indispensable attainment of every American citizen. Any corruption of our noble speech by foreign dialectic intermixtures, any patois, should be everywhere and by every means discountenanced and opposed. It is gratifying to learn that the Chinese immigrant shows no proclivity in himself to that miserable jargon called Pigeon-English. In North Adams he has nothing of it, knows nothing of it, desires nothing of it.

On the other hand, and positively, no more efficient means of assimilating foreigners to our manners, our institutions, our national life, than the learning, the reading, the speaking our language habitually; than the habitual admission of all thoughts and sentiments, and the habitual utterance of them through the common speech of American life.

ADOPTION OF AMERICAN DRESS AND HABITS. In common with the foreign dialect, the foreign dress and all the personal habits which are foreign to our manners should be replaced by such as are properly American. Every conspicuous badge of alienism should be avoided. It is one of the favorable prognostics of the experiment at North Adams that the American dress is adopted so far as taste and comfort dictate. The fact indicates how far the treatment which the stranger receives at our hands may keep him from that isolation which is betrayed by the foreign dress and speech ; how far that isolation, where it exists, is attributable to the social atmosphere into which he is brought.


A thorough American domestication is to be sought. The family life, as has been stated, is the predominant characteristic of the Chinese. The love and reverence paid among them to parents and to ancestors, the religious sentiments that they are trained to cherish toward the home of the family should be provided with the opportunities of gratification. They should be guided and helped to homes in America, where all the sacred relics of the departed may be securely and permanently enshrined, where the strong family feeling may be indulged and cherished. The low, narrow superstition that defies this worthy domestic disposition is to be eliminated by lifting and enlarging the filial sentiment from the earthly to the heavenly Father, so that the piety which rightly and naturally begins, and is fostered toward the natural parent, shall develop into a love and reverence for the eternal and supreme. There will be difficulty in this at the start. Work on railroads and in mines, and first employment in factories and in private households, must, of course, hinder separate establishment in dwellings. But certainly the settling down in famílies in the midst of native Americans, so that all the neighborhood intercourse of common life shall be in a fully American atmosphere, must havo an influence in Americanizing that cannot be too highly estimated.

Most earnestly to be deprecated is the isolation of foreigners, and especially of Chinamen into separate villages, towns, or wards. The testimony is that the Chinaman is not more clannish than other men; but it is purely natural that common origin, common estrangement in regard to the land of their adoption, common dialect, should breed common sympathies, and should draw together. Thorough and complete Americanization is, however, hindered by all such isolation.

As the man is fashioned in the training of the child, and as the spirit of the nation is shaped in the family, it is of the first importance that not only the family life be maintained and protected, but also in order to the completest fusion that this family life be impregnated by the true American spirit, and be shaped after a pure American and Christian pattern. The family spirit which so characterizes the Chinaman should not be eradicated and supplanted, but only elevated and expanded.


In like manner a full initiation into the peculiar social usages and manners of American life, so far, at least, as worthy, is to be desired, as also a free introduction into the vast diversity of our arts and occupations, as likewise into our religious usages and habits. Into this whole social life, this new element may bring in something that will liberalize, expand, enrich, as well as purify and elevate our manners; but carefully grafted into the fundamental principles and spirit of our social order and economy, and not root itself and grow up a distinct and isolated growth.


Finally, on the broadest, surest grounds of a true and wise policy, the Chinaman should be brought to a free participation in our political life. Intelligence and morality, indeed, should be the conditions of political rights and privileges; but such conditions only as are accorded to others should be imposed on him. His wonted training and spirit, as already observed, do not predispose him to seek political privileges, rather to shun them. He, therefore, needs no unusual checks. He is to be nationalized in his feelings and views, his characteristic family spirit being expanded into the proper love of country as the characteristic filial spirit rises and swells into reverence for the Divine Father of all. This is the only safe result for him, as for the country. The sordid calculations of political partisanship will doubtless often prompt to strong opposition to the naturalization of the Chinaman, perhaps sometimes seek to effect it too hastily, and with too much disregard of settled limitations and safeguards. The dangers of the too free admission of foreigners to citizenship will be as much exaggerated in the one case as underrated in the other. The one safe, desirable course is, under suitable limitations and conditions of intelligence, morality, time of residence, and the like, to bring in all that dwell among us into the full exercise of all political rights, and the corresponding participation in all political burdens and responsibilities.


To the question, now, how such thorough assimilation of this foreign element to American life after its highest type is best to be accomplished, all the facts in the case point to the answer : By education under a right popular sentiment.

This right popular sentiment in regard to the whole Chinese question is indispensable even to much success in any educational effort, for this must itself spring from an enlightened, philanthropic feeling, and be guided and sustained by this feeling, while all educational endeavors may be effectually prostrated by a strong popular sentiment arrayed in hostility, and bent on oppression or extermination. It is most important, therefore, that the public mind be carefully and accurately informed in respect to all the facts and principles involved in this question. It should be lifted above the low, mean selfishness which vitalizes the caste spirit in every form, whether industrial or political. It should be familiarized with the lofty, worthy views that are inspired at once by that superintending providence which has brought the swelling tide of population onward till it has reached our waiting continent, that it may spread over its wastes a reclaiming, regenerating life; and also by that noble spirit of philanthropy which from the first has extended a hand of welcome to all the oppressed and crushed from other lands. It is a necessity that drives to us from overcrowded China, a necessity that it is folly to struggle against. The overflowing waters will, must, find their resting-place. They threaten no harm, if a judicious, efficient, and timely guidance be given them. They can be so controlled and influenced as to nourish and foster every good interest, and immensely augment our true prosperity and well-being. The one fundamental condition is that the Chinaman, as he comes among us, be treated as a man; as having the same rights, as he has the same natural endowments, as ourselves; in the free reciprocation of all human sympathies and courtesies; and, especially, in the true spirit of a pure Christian philanthropy, that shall generously seek to elevate and bless him. The cost of prohibitory measures and of oppressive legislation will greatly exceed that of an effective philanthropic effort to Americanize and Christianize; while such unworthy policy must necessarily bring in influences pernicious to our free institutions. The highest wisdom dictates a kind, generous reception to all waifs of humanity from other lands; while open vice and crime meet a prompt and just retribution, poverty and want should fall into the hands of charity; ignorance seeking light and industry seeking employment should find instant help and guidance.

Let proper educational provisions be supplied under the promptings and support of this wise, humane, eminently American sentiment, and what is timidly feared as a threatening evil to industry, to manners, to political purity and integrity, and to religion, cannot fail to be converted into a blessing to all of these precious interests. If labor be cheapened here or there, experience proves that while it benefits all in so far as it cheapens production, it only in the end lifts whatever worthy industry is temporarily displaced to a higher plane. Such are the lessons taught by the history of the introduction of competitive human labor, so far as free at least, of animal force and artificial machinery. Cheap European labor has displaced the native American from domestic service and from public works; but it has only elevated him to a higher condition that brings better pay and allows a richer culture. The use of horses and of oxen has not injured the most menial class of laborers; nor has labor-saving machinery proved detrimental to them. So the policy of a generous treatment has proved and must ever prove the wisest and best too in the sphere of political partisanship. This worthy, generous sentiment will open towns, schools, factories, shops, so that the foreign element shall diffuse itself freely everywhere into all the currents of our national life and so better effect its assimilation and make it truly enriching and blessing. The narrow policy of exclusion and opposition will only drive into separated communities where antagonisms cannot fail to be nourished.


The availability and effectiveness of a proper educational policy may safely be inferred from what facts are in our possession. We have, first, the great underlying fact of the universal intelligence of the Chinese. They all come instructed by long, systematic, publicly-enforced training in the rudiments of learning. They come with the habits of learners, accustomed to discipline, accustomed to acquire knowledge, capacitated as disposed to attain new and higher instruction. Their docility is remarked everywhere in the Eastern States and on the Pacific coast, in private instruction, in charitable schools, in Sunday-schools, in seminaries and colleges where individuals have stood among the first in scholarship, in public schools, as well as also in the industries and arts of common life.

This docility is accompanied and fostered by a remarkable eagerness to learn the American language and the arts and sciences peculiar to our civilization. Every motive presses them to acquire our language. The testimony is unvarying. Of the workmen employed at North Adams, it is said, “ about half are at their books nearly all the time out of work-hours; the rest do not read much, only as they have teachers.” Of what other class of immigrants can anything like this be said ? In New York there is but one school for teaching them the English language, which is itself of recent establishment, yet it is said "a considerable portion of the Chinese population has been graduated from it, and it has recommended to various employers nearly 200 of its pupils. At present there are about 40 pupils under tuition.This is about one-fifth of the entire number in New York. In San Francisco the desire to learn our language brings them to Sunday-schools as well as to other places of education. It is noticeable that within the last two years a great change in this respect has taken place, and the difficulty is no longer that of obtaining pupils, but teachers. The efficient superintendent, Rev. 0. Gibson, expresses “no doubt that the desire to learn English will fill every department” in the Chinese Mission Institute, for which a fine three-story building is now in process of erection. The schools for boys and for girls, instituted by different Protestant and by Roman Catholic Christians, are represented to find no lack of pupils. The demands for the means and facilities for instruction on the other hand far transcend the supply.

This eagerness for instruction in our language and in the arts and sciences of our civilization is but the outgrowth and reflection of the new sentiments which have come forth with a wonderfully rapid growth in China itself. The English and French wars have demolished the old hostility to Europeans; and the demand is now so strong and general for a knowledge of our arts and sciences that not a doubt can be entertained of the complete availableness of proper educational efforts to assimilate this whole, incoming people to our proper American life and manners.

The effort is an exceedingly hopeful one for the adult Chinaman. But after all, the great work is to be accomplished through the children. This work is at present entirely within reach ; for the immigration hitherto has been mainly of adult males. The number of children is at present small. They belong to families too, for the most part, that are settled in life, having adopted this country for their permanent abode, and having fixed occupations. They live, moreover, in cities and communities where educational means and help can be readily procured. These boys are to be the members of our political body from the Asiatic continent; they will be almost exclusively, to judge from present appearances, the citizens among us of Chinese origin; for, as before intimated, the notion of our being overwhelmed by an inundation of heathen voters, is like that of our being threatened with a new form of servitude in the persons of Chinese coolies, a mere bug-bear of a distempered fancy. If, accordingly, tho children of the Chinese be properly trained in American and Christian ideas, the great problem is solved and the immigration may go on without danger. Further, the desired influence upon the adults will best reach them through the children who, as they are taught themselves, will be the best teachers, at home and in the society of their countrymen, in our language, usages, arts, manners. They will be the vital bonds which will unité in one life the foreign with the native members.


In respect to the studies to be made prominent, the leading one is of course that of our language. The Chinese all read in their native dialect; they seek and should be helped to learn to read in ours. When once such a command of our language is acquired as to enable them to read our newspapers, the work of Americanization may be considered to be assured of its full accomplishment. A good daily newspaper in our language will do more to indoctrinate and imbue with truly American ideas and habits of life than probably any other instrumentality. It is therefore to be earnestly hoped that all occasion for the further publication of newspapers in Chinese will be obviated by the timely impartation to them of the principles of our own speech.

To qualify the Chinese then to read our language freely is the leading aim in all educational labors. Here, doubtless, are formidable difficulties to be encountered. The Chinese tongue is further removed from the English thran are most, at least of the European, tongues, and to acquire it is a work of much and peculiar labor. Our phonetic system is different from the Chinese; it contains elements, as the r, which the Chinese can hardly distinguish from the l, that require a special training of the vocal organs. These organs, too, united to monosyllabic elements, break down under our heavy polysyllables. The use of inflections to indicate relations in verbal expression is strange to them, and hence they easily fall into errors, such as the “Pigeon-English” exemplifies, in distinguishing by one invariable suffix for all persons, numbers, moods, and tenses, the use of a word as a verb from its use as a poun. Yet, here it should be remarked, the English comes nearer than any other Indo-European tongue to the Chinese, as, like that, it indicates grammatical relations mainly by the position of words in the sentence; while, on the other hand, the Chinese tongue gives evidence of a preparation for an advance from the monosyllabic and low agglutinative type to the proper inflectional. The English tongue meets the Chinese full half-way in both these particulars. It has dropped off in great measure the inflections which characterize both the classical and the Teutonic families of dialects, and uses with allowed freedom the same word for all the grammatical uses of nouns, verbs, and adjectives; and also delights, especially in the more colloquial usage, to employ the sturdy monosyllabic stem-word in preference to delicately wrought inflectional polysyllables. Like the Chinese, its colloquial, and therefore its most highly practical, vocabulary is made up more of object-words than of words denoting relations of thought and of diction, and thus characteristically addresses more the imagination and the reflective faculties. On the assumption of a primitive unity of dialect among men, to which all the facts of linguistic science thus far attained significantly point, in perfect harmony with reason and revelation, the Chinese language is but the result of a more effective attrition from the intermingling of tribal communities leading a wandering life, which has worn off all inflectional additions to original stein-words. This result has been the more complete because of the absence in early times of all literature, whether written or legendary, and because of the more nomadic character of the people, and the conseqnent meagerness of its vocabulary. The people that have shaped the English dialect have been distinguished from other Europeans by this very circumstance of a more promiscuous origin, while they have enjoyed the advantage of a literature which has operated to preserve primitive words and forms, and also have been kept in more intimate and thorough intercommunication with one another than was the case with the earlier Chinese families and tribes.

In the same way the sentence structure in the two languages differs little but in the one particular, determined by the same influences of a conservative literature. Both essentially follow the strict order of thought, the purely logical order; but the English suffers considerable rhetorical and poetical deviations not so free to the Chinese.

The difficulties, accordingly, which a Chinese has to encounter in acquiring the English tongue, are far less considerable than those he must meet in learning any European dialect. The phonetic difficulties, as also those of grammar, including

the inflectional and syntactic, are real, but after all are comparatively slight. The main difficulty lies in the vocabulary. Só wide has been the divergence in the history of the ancestries of the Chinaman and the American, that whatever may be true of the original unity of their tongues, the vocabularies now retain hardly a sign of this primal identity

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »