MR. TAYLOR, the successor in the House of General GARFIELD, made an admirable speech against the Chinese bill during the late debate, in which he exposed the singular inconsistency of the arguments advanced to sustain it. The Chinese are represented in one breath as a rotten race, the victims of hideous immorality, and in the next as a people who are going to drive intelligent and sturdy American laborers out of the field. At one moment every man, woman, and child on the Pacific coast loathes and detests the leprous interlopers, and the next the same protesting people neglect the honest American and intrust the care of their homes and of their children to the leprous pariahs because they can be hired more cheaply. They are alleged to be a class of persons who will never assimilate with us like other foreigners. But those who assert this forget to state that our laws prevent assimilation by making the Chinese incapable of naturalization. Moreover, if they are so disreputable and dangerous and degrading, and if the Pacific population is so unanimously opposed to their coming, that population has an obvious and easy remedy in its own hands. It has only to refuse to hire the lepers, and they will come no longer. Part of the complaint is that they do not wish to stay longer than will enable them to pick up a little money. The hope of wages alone unwillingly brings them. If they can get no wages, they will be only too glad to stay at home.
The only ground upon which the bill prohibiting the voluntary immigration of free laborers into this country can be sustained is self-defense. Every nation may justly decide for itself what foreigners it will tolerate, and upon what terms. But the honor and character of the nation will be tested by the motives of exclusion. Thus in 1803 a bill passed Congress which prohibited bringing to the country certain negro and mulatto immigrants. But it was a bill which sprang from the fears of slave-holders, and which was intended to protect slavery. In the same year South Carolina repealed her State law prohibiting the slave-trade. The objection was to black freemen, not to black slaves; and it is not legislation to which an American can recur with pride, because it was an inhuman abuse of an undoubted national right. We may, unquestionably, determine who shall come, and upon what conditions, as we may decide upon what terms the new-comers shall be naturalized. Against a palpable peril arising from the advent of foreigners, we may justly defend ourselves. Now during the last twenty-five years the Chinese immigration---and a large part of it was cooly traffic---amounted to 228,000 persons, of which more than a hundred thousand have returned, so that by the census cf 1880 the Chinese population in the country was 105,000. "All the Chinese in California," says MR. HOAR, "hardly surpass the number which is easily governed in Shanghai by a police of a hundred men." Considering the traditional declaration of our pride and patriotism that America is the home for the oppressed of every clime and race, considering the spirit of our constitutional provision that neither race, color, nor previous condition of servitude shall bar a citizen from voting, is it not both monstrous and ludicrous to decree that American civilization is endangered by the "Mongolian invasion?"
For the Republican party, which is responsible for national legislation, the simple question is, whether a free laborer who wishes to come to this country for a time and work honestly for honest wages shall be prohibited from coming, lest China should be precipitated upon Western America and overwhelm the New World. Can any such peril or the chance of it be inferred from the facts? Mr. JONES, of Nevada, speaks of the colored race. But that race was brought here by force and fraud. It is not a migratory race. So the Mongolians are not migratory. The coming of 230,000 or 240,000 Chinese in a quarter of a century, and the presence of 100,000 in the country at the end of that time, are not the precursor of an overwhelming invasion. The bill is founded on race hatred and panic. These are both familiar facts even in this country. It is not a very long time since one of the most familiar objections to the antislavery movement was that the fanatics wanted to free the "nay-gurs," who would immediately overrun the North and supplant the Irish. It was mere panic. We have always invited everybody to come and settle among us, because the chance of bettering his condition was fairer here than anywhere else in the world. If we now exercise our right to select new-comers, not upon great public considerations the truth of which is demonstrated, but because of race hatred, or of honest labor competition, or fear of local disorder, the movement will not stop there. The native American crusade of twenty-five years ago was another form of the same spirit. Senator GEORGE was logical in his implication that if a whole race may be excluded from the national domain because of a local desire, a whole enfranchised class may be excluded from the suffrage for the same reason. Mr. TAYLOR said of the Chinese bill: "It revolutionizes our traditions. I would deem the new country we will have after this bill becomes law as changed from the old country we have to-day as our country would have been changed if the rebellion of 1861 had succeeded." The exclusion bill has passed Congress by a large majority. Public opinion seems to favor it, as it has often favored unwise legislation. Even the amendment to try the experiment of exclusion for ten years failed. It is not probable that there will be a veto, and the only benefit to be anticipated is that, as we have now decided to regulate immigration, we shall exclude every class whose coming can not be considered to be advantageous to the national welfare.
April 1, 1882