What People are Reading
- What a very sad and shocking
2 years 29 weeks ago
- Smart Meters
2 years 32 weeks ago
- 100 year old house burns
2 years 32 weeks ago
- Column 2-10 re Treason
2 years 41 weeks ago
- Radical Difference
2 years 42 weeks ago
- This activity is such a
2 years 50 weeks ago
- Okay Great we got a sign!
2 years 50 weeks ago
- Hate Crime a Sad Moment Indeed
3 years 13 hours ago
More in Crime
Not-so-good old days
As often as not, while perusing old newspapers for crimes and woes of our forebears, we come across evidence that issues commonly thought of as "current" actually have quite a history. They've been discussed before and could even be run today with little change. Immigration is one such topic. In the 1750s, Ben Franklin is said to have editorialized against the people who were bringing their alien customs and language. He was speaking of Germans.
The editor of the Oxford Democrat took a different tact in the paper's issue of January 6, 1865:
Nativeism - Naturalization Laws
The question of an alteration of the naturalization law, by which aliens are proposed to be put upon a probation of twenty-one, instead of five years, as not, has been brought before Congress through resolutions of the Massachusetts Legislature. Quite an interesting debate arose on the question of referring the resolution to a select committee, Mr. Levin, the “Native” member of Congress from Philadelphia, being the champion of these Massachusetts “alien and sedition” doctrines. It has been asserted, and we have never seemed contradicted, that the same Mr. Levin is a foreigner by birth — an Englishman. If true, a singular fact, and he has placed himself in an anomalous position; but yet, we opine, perfectly in character with the principles of “Nativeism.” He undoubtedly, highly appreciates the blessings of citizenship, but, with a selfishness too frequently seen, would enhance it value still more by circumscribing its limits. He would be better “native” than those whose first drew the breath of life on our republican soil.
We have no sympathy for this “native” involvement. We regard it as absurd, and discreditable to those who have engaged in it. We believe the American people have so much humanity, liberality and good sense, as to see the in policy of the movement, and the propriety of making of ourselves, those who have sought refuge from foreign aggression. We do not believe true patriotism to be confined within certain limits, or to certain parties, or factions of parties. It will be found among our adopted citizens as well as native born, and no better proof of this is required than the fact that every American battle field has been watered by the blood of adopted as well as native citizens. The names of Lafayette, Polaski, Kosnosko, Montgomery, Paul Jones, and a host of others when called to mind, will exhibit the devotedness and patriotism of men who had sought liberty here, and were ready to fight unto death against the encroachments of the tyrannies they had left. Not a foreigner comes to this country with the intention of making it his home, but is bound to our institutions by ties of affection and gratitude, from the moment he lands. To any that he cannot understand the duties of a citizen in five as well as twenty-five years, is, to say the least, an imposition upon the understanding of every adult person.
One consideration, alone, is sufficient to show the in policy, if not danger, of the proposed change in our naturalization law. We should thus keep in our midst a body of aliens, in fact as well as in feeling, who would have no such motive to preserve the purity and promote the prosperity of our institutions, as they would were they invested with the dignity of citizenship. On the contrary, they would hold a somewhat degraded position, and as equality is the basis of friendship, would band together for that sympathy and equality which are denied them as citizens. and would thus build up, in our midst, a foreign population, with foreign attachments, views, and sympathies, and with us little motive for patriotism as any despot could desire. Under the present wise and liberal system, foreigners soon become Americans, in all their views and feelings, and are not the least patriotic of our citizens.
So once again, we see the truth in the old saying, “Nothing is new under the sun.”
As is our custom, we try to exactly reproduce the grammar, spelling, punctuation and style of the original. Commas might appear where least expected and remain absent where we’d expect them if the item was written nowadays. On the other hand, consistency was not considered of utmost importance, so variations of a spelling might appear within one story. In addition, some words were abbreviated differently than today.
Where brief explanations of terms are considered necessary, they are presented in brackets  within the quote. Otherwise, explanations appear at the beginning or at the conclusion, without quotes. Parenthesis () used in a quoted passage appeared in the original.