Harvard Union Debate.
Mr. C. D. Gibbons '89, opening the debate for the affirmative, said that, whereas in former years immigration had been a source of great benefit to this country at present owing to the change in the character of the immigrants the contrary was the result; formerly the immigrants were respectable people, at present they are the scum of Europe. The evils caused by indiscriminately unrestricted immigration are numerous, The large majority of the present immigrants are degraded, lazy, and ignorant and are rapidly filling up our poor houses and gaols. Thus they become a burden to the tax-payers. Again on economic grounds these immigrants are a decided loss as their prime object is to send money home. Moreover immigrants are a great political evil, as they are the prime object of political bribery and corruption.
Mr. M. B. Clarke, L. S. opening for the negative, said that the present immigration laws, if enforced will suffice to keep paupers, invalids, lunatics and contract laborers out of this country. To shut out immigration by further legislation would be against the principles of our nation. The civil evils caused by immigration are merely the "measles and the mumps', of our infant country, and must not be taken into consideration if we remember that immigrants have proven the back bone of our country, and that they have made our country what it is. Let immigrants come to America if they want to, and let them do for the Westwhat they have done for the East. Mr. C. C. Ramsay, so. second on the affirmative, said that mob-violence and strikes fully testify to the character of immigrants. The immigrants are low and do American no possible good; moreover, their object is not to benefit our country, but to get as much as possible out of it and return to their native land. Again the capacity for labor and the character of an immigrant regulate his value to this country; now as these immigrants are in a large majority out of work and in poor houses, this shows that their capacity for work is on the whole every low. It may be said that the principle involved in restricting immigration, is applicable to a nation, for immigration is a historic right, not an inherent right.
Mr. J. M. Perkins, '92, second for the negative, said that owing to the excellent results of unrestricted immigration, it would be a poor policy to put immigration under restriction. Moreover, it would be far more advisable to send agents to Europe to solicit immigration, so as to enable this country to compete with South American states in their inducements to immigrants. The question arises; How can the natural resources, great as they are, be employed, if we restrict a steady flow of men from Europe, who have done so much towards discovering these resources?
Vote on the merits of the question: affirmative, 33, negative, 16. Vote on the merits of principal disputants: affirmative, 28, negative, 15. Vote on the merits of the debate as a whole: affirmative, 13; negative, 12.