More Labor

September 22, 1870

Summary

Those in the north, specifically those in New England, have been calling for more and more outside labor, particularly from African-Americans and Asian immigrants. It is the hope of white southerners that the North states become so populated with African- and Asian-Americans that a new set of laws is placed upon them, laws that would put them on equally footing and show them what southern whites have been dealing with.

Transcription

It is a little singular that the loudest clamor for laborer comes now from New England. They arc calling there for Chinese and for negroes. A Boston company has gone into the business of transporting negroes from the South to serve as "helps" in families, hotels, and public houses gene- rally. They seem not to be sought much as farm hands, for which northern people do not believe much in them. But for housework, bootblacks, and such drudge- ry, the negroes are thought in t he North to be good. The demand for servants about the house in New England is due much to an unfor- tunate ambition that has taken possession of the young in the rural districts to seek employment in the factories, the business of towns and cities, and follow the pur- suits of gain and speculation which, in this country, where fortunes are so rapidly turn- ing the heads of thousands. The innocent and rosy-checked girls of the country flock into towns and go into spinning mills and shops, and soon become imbued with the light- headed vanities which open the way to ruin and misery. The consequences of this ruling ambition are daily crowding the papers with sad and sensational stories. This drain upon the country of course occasions a demand for "help" about the houses and stables, &c., and we see that men are actively engaged in endeavoring to supply it. The Chinese are now sought with as much eagerness as the negro, and possibly more. Since Mr. Adams, the shoe manufacturer, brought in a number of Chinese to supply the places of the "strikers," they are very much in vogue. A Mr. Julius A. Palmer, who had opened a Chinese immigration office in Boston, has been so beset with applica- tions for Chinese servants for families that he has been obliged to withdraw his adver- tisement from the papers until he can ascer- tain whether arrangements can be made to supply this demand. This condition of New England - this temper of her people - is unfortunate for her. Disinclination to labor amongst her own people is in part the cause, and they are seeking relief from sources that will bring upon them untold evils. A commu- nity should always beware of what sort of people they introduce into their households: and when the manufacturers hope to conquer the white laborers of the unions by the introduction of the cheap labor of the Asiatics, they are only piling' up trouble and inflicting misery in pros- pective upon themselves and their com- munities. The reduction of the self- pride and of the remuneration of the white la- borer to the low level of the Chinaman will be a serious evil for society. It will end in violence and crime. No man ought to de- sire to see his own people brought to that degradation ? The worst feature of this cry for labor, and especially the labor of the inferior races, is the want of industry in this land and the poor vanity which makes people feel too proud to labor, a population ought always to be able to support itself. The school of labor, especially the tilling of the soil, is the noblest and most beneficent of the institutions in the world. It was directly de- creed by the Creator. From it all profes- sions, and Government itself, derive their recuperative energies, their vigor, wisdom, and very life-blood. Is it not a great public evil to poison this grand source of a na- tion's health, wealth, and greatness by trusting labor to the inferior races brought from other quarters of the globe? But the Chinese ought to be well enough understood to deter our people from dif- fusing them through the country. They never can be brought to that condition which will make them safe inmates of dwell- ings with families and trusted hands upon t lie farm. Their Asiatic peculiarities can never be eradicated. Look at the recent massacres of the whites in China; see in those the Chinese superstition and the Chi- nese hate of foreigners. With such pas- sions to stimulate their cunning and insidi- ous ingenuity, what is too dreadful to ap- prehend from them? Providentially, distinct families of men were placed in parts of globe separated from one another, and whenever, by human agency, those distinct families have been brought into juxtaposition terrible calami- ties have followed. Need we refer to our own disastrous experience of a war of un- surpassed horrors, followed by political aggravations and troubles that have been hardly second to war in miseries and in- juries to the prosperity and peace of the land? It is certainly time that we had learned wisdom enough to put a check upon an evil from which we have suffered so much. It is time that we had learned to be temperate in our plans and to consider somewhat the welfare of the nation, and not to yield ourselves wholly to the ambition to be suddenly rich and to lead lives of case and opulence. The poor South is not much possessed of this rage of the day at the North. She has beed brought by war and misgovernment to a condition that an imputation that she is avaricious would be mere mockery. Viewing the matter, however, from the position where we reside - could we over- look entirely the national consequences of extending a national evil over the whole land - we should desire to see New England and other parts of the Union well populated with African and Asiatic people. The result would be a series of new laws that would put the States on a footing of equality and relieve the South of partial oppressions which, while they disturb the social econo- my amongst us, must be detrimental to the whole nation.
About this article

Contributed By

Travis Terry

Identifier

TerryTravis-18700922-MoreLabor.pdf

Citation

“More Labor,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed October 21, 2021, http://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/1844.