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he could do by proper effort. He is not a member of their trade-organization, and can not bargain through officials who know the conditions. Moreover, if he is one who is expecting as soon as possible to return to his home country with his savings, what he dreads most of all is lack of work, and he is willing to take low wages and bad working conditions, rather than to be idle even for a short time and see any of his savings disappear.
Immediate Inducement of Immigration
In the large majority of cases, doubtless, the immediate inducement to the emigrants to leave home and sail for America comes in the form of personal letters from friends or members of their own families already in the United States. It is thus that they learn of the much higher wages and the better living conditions; and usually they are practically sure of a job almost as soon as they arrive, at wages which seem to them more than satisfactory.
Such letters are, of course, of great interest in a country village. Often they are by no means kept in the family, but pass from hand to hand till a large proportion of the villagers have seen them, and in consequence have felt the lure of the new and prosperous land. On the other hand, the influence of industrial depression in the United States is in the same manner felt almost as quickly, and the tide of emigration recedes.
THE RETURNED IMMIGRANT
In large sections of Italy, Sicily, and AustriaHungary, in almost every village, will be found some of the returned emigrants who, after a few years of
prosperous work in the United States, have returned with means which seem to the uncultured peasant ample, and with a social status much improved. The living example of such a man is perhaps a stronger influence toward leading his neighbors to emigrate to the United States than any letter, tho it is perhaps not so frequently a moving cause.
STEAMSHIP AND RAILWAY COMPANIES
Many consider the means taken by the transportation companies a chief cause of emigration. These great companies who derive an income from the transportation of emigrants, naturally, as far as possible, advertise their business throughout the countries from which most emigrants come. Altho under the laws of most countries they can not enlarge at length upon the prosperous conditions of the new country, or upon the comforts and delights of travel, but must merely make announcement of their sailings and accommodations and prices, nevertheless the agents of these companies by the hundreds do invade the country districts, especially of southern Europe, and by skilful argument, and even perhaps by enthusiastic descriptions of the delights and comforts and satisfactions of a home life in America, stimulate many more to come than otherwise would be possible. These agents, doubtless, at times deliberately misrepresent conditions in America, tho it is difficult to ascertain how widespread this influence is. Such work is often done in secret according to the United States Immigration Commission. A good authority stated that two of the leading steamship lines had 5,000 or 6,000 ticket agents in Galicia alone, that there is "a great hunt" for emigrants, and that the work is very successful there. The
steerage business is of great importance to all the lines operating passenger ships between those countries and the United States, and the keen competition stimulates greatly their efforts.
The chief field of activity of these "secret" agents is now in Eastern and Southeastern Europe. In Russia such agents not merely procure tickets for emigrants, but take an active part in securing passports or in aiding them to leave the country contrary to law.
In Hungary members of the Immigration Commission were shown letters written by such agents to persons instructing them how to leave the country without the consent of the Government and indicating routes to be followed by which they might avoid the control stations. Records were seen of hundreds of cases of these secret agents who had been convicted, fined or imprisoned for thus soliciting emigration contrary to law, but the work is profitable and continues. In Greece, likewise, emigration is very active, tho in this country, which now is furnishing more emigrants to the United States in proportion to its population than any other, solicitation is not so much needed, as the people seem eager to seek the better conditions here, and are adding a considerable percentage to our foreign element.
In earlier days, as elsewhere noted, some European countries assisted their paupers or criminals to emigrate to the United States. There is no such movement now, tho doubtless local officials at times wink at the departure of some people of these classes-especially criminals or those with criminal tendencies.
Such action is contrary to law, and the people would be promptly debarred, if discovered.
Canada and some of the South American countries are ready to receive certain selected immigrants who are assisted to come, and Canada pays a bonus to thousands of ticket agents for directing emigrants to Canada who will go upon farms or into domestic service; but no such movement is permitted by the United States. It may be noted, however, that persons are allowed to engage abroad and bring into the United States domestic servants for their own families.
Influence of Immigrant Banks and Agencies in America
Besides the influence brought directly to bear in Europe, an indirect influence is also exerted by the immigrant banks, ticket agencies and other similar enterprises conducted mainly by immigrants for immigrants in the United States. It is the chief business of these institutions to exchange money, send money abroad, sell steamship tickets, and do other kinds of business that directly concern the immigrant. Naturally, the business flourishes better the larger the savings of the immigrant and the more frequently he is ready to send such savings home. Moreover, the longer these institutions can keep the immigrant from becoming an American citizen, and can keep him continually sending his profits home, the more successful the business is. Their work is constant and influential.
CHARACTERISTICS OF IMMIGRANTS WHICH
Political and Social Institutions Molded by Conditions
Nations desire naturally to preserve their own institutions, or gradually to modify them from time to time as they themselves see fit. Each country has institutions suited to its own population and its own needs. There is no absolutely best form of government or of social life. The presumption is that the government existing in any country is itself the product, to a considerable degree, of the circumstances under which that country has developed and, in consequence, that it is for the time being not merely the government "that the people deserve," but the only government that under the circumstances is then possible. Of course, it is to be expected that as time goes on governmental and social institutions will gradually change with the changing circumstances, but the instinct that any people has to retain its own institutions is not only normal, but it probably in the long run tends toward the best development of a people.
Character and Extent of Immigration May Seriously Affect American Institutions
In consequence of this fact, while a country may well derive great benefit from the ideas of government and of society brought into it by immigrants, it can usually make wise use of these principles only gradu