Title: "America for Americans!"
Author: John Philip Newman
Release date: January 25, 2007 [eBook #20446]
Credits: Produced by Bryan Ness, Richard J. Shiffer and the Online
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Washington, D. C., Nov. 26th, 1886.
Rev. J. P. Newman, D.D.:
Dear Sir: The universal approval by every loyal, liberty-loving American citizen who listened to your Thanksgiving sermon yesterday, together with the philosophic and fearless manner with which the great themes therein discussed were treated, prompts a desire to extend its influence by a wider circulation than even that large congregation can give. We would, therefore, to meet the wishes of the congregation as expressed by their unanimous vote at the close of the discourse, request that you furnish us with a copy for publication.
J. C. TASKER,
J. D. CROISSANT,
A. P. LACEY,
GEO. H. LA FETRA,
Washington, D. C., Nov. 30th, 1886.
Dear Friends: The sermon has excited a public interest beyond any thought of mine. I herewith send you the stenographic report of the discourse, made by Messrs. Dawson and Tasker. The wisdom of your request is confirmed by many letters from eminent citizens here and abroad, commending the sentiment and demanding the publication. I would like to print some of these letters, indicative of the deep feeling on this great subject. As stated in the sermon, intelligent foreigners approve my course. The Germans of Wisconsin have sent me a copy of their memorial to Congress, asking for such a modification of our naturalization laws as will protect our free institutions from selfish and ignorant immigrants. The intelligent foreigners have taken the initiative. Your Pastor,
JOHN P. NEWMAN.
"I have set thee on high above all the nations of the earth."—Deut. xxviii., 1.
By the voice of magisterial authority this secular day has been hushed into the sacred quiet of a national Sabbath. From savannahs and prairies, from valleys and mountains, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, more than fifty millions of freemen have been invited to gather around the altars of the God of our fathers, and pour forth the libation of their gratitude to Him who is the giver of every good and perfect gift. If in all the past, nations have made public recognition of the divinities which have presided over their destiny, according to their faith and practice, it is but reasonable and highly appropriate that we, as a Christian people, enlightened as no other people, favored as no other nation, should once in the twelve months consecrate a day to the recognition of Him whose throne is on the circle of the heavens, who is the benefactor of the husbandman, the genius of the artisan, the inspiration of the merchant, and from whom comes all those personal, domestic, social, and national benedictions which render us a happy people and this day memorable in the annals of time.
If the year that ends to-day has been marked with severity it has also been distinguished by goodness. If chastisements have come to us as individuals, families, communities, and as a nation; if the earthquake, and the tornado, and the conflagration, have combined to teach us our dependence on the Supreme Being—all these should be esteemed as ministers of the Highest to teach us that we are pensioners upon the infinite bounty of the Almighty; that in our prosperity we should remember His mercies; in our adversity we should deplore our transgressions.
It is evident to the most casual observer that the past year has been significant in the manifestations of divine guidance[Pg 2] and goodness. To-day peace reigns throughout our vast domain. No foreign foe invades our shores. How superior our condition by way of contrast with our neighbors on this side of the globe. In contrast with Central and South America, the home of turbulence and misrule, where ignorance, combined with a perverted Christianity, has darkened and enslaved; where the wheels of industry have been impeded and the march to a higher civilization obstructed—how bold the contrast between these two sections of our continent—a contrast that must be suggestive to every thoughtful mind and awaken the question whether this is due to what some call the fortuities of national life or whether it is the result of a genius of government that is sublime and a religion that is divine. And if we turn our eyes over the great deep to the most favored nations beyond the Atlantic, the contrast inspires grateful emotions, and we are equally led to contemplate the causes which have brought about a condition so favorable to us. The most venerable nations in Europe, countries that have lived through more than a millennium, are to-day shaken by internal disturbance. Those institutions which have come down from the hoary past, which have been considered pre-eminent in the affections and faith of mankind, now topple to their fall. "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown," whether man or woman; and no government in Europe is in a state of peaceful security. Alarm dwells in the palace. Fear, like a bloody phantom, haunts the throne, and the vast nations of Europe, with all their agriculture and commerce and manufacture, and all their majesty of law and ordinances of religion, are maintained in a questionable peace by not less than three millions of men armed to the teeth; while in this country, so vast in its domain, so complicated in its population, from North to South, from East to West, preserved in peace, not by standing armies or floating navies, but by a moral sense, a quickened conscience, the guardian of our homes, our altars, and our nation.
Certainly the farmer stands nearest to God. Agriculture underlies all national wealth. The farmer ministers to the[Pg 3] wants of king and prince, of president and senator; the farmer must be esteemed as the direct medium of blessing through whom God manifests his goodness to the nation. We have been accustomed to such phenomenal crops that it almost goes without saying that the past year has been phenomenal in its agricultural productions. Indeed there has been a wealth in the soil, a wealth in the mines, a wealth in the seas, which awakens astonishment and admiration in the minds of those beyond the deep—for it is a statistical fact that our agricultural products for the year just closing is not less than three and a half thousand millions of dollars in valuation. How difficult to appreciate the fact! One thousand seven hundred million bushels of corn, valued at five hundred and eighty millions of dollars; four hundred and fifty million bushels of wheat, valued at three hundred and fifty-five millions of dollars; six and a half million bales of cotton, estimated in valuation at two hundred and fifty millions of dollars. And including all the other agricultural products, the statistician of the Government estimates the value at three and a half thousand millions of dollars. And this is but a repetition of other years. No! It exceeds other years! It is a great fact that one and a half millions of square miles of cultivated land in this country now subject to the plow could feed a thousand millions of persons, and then we could have five thousand millions of bushels of grain for exportation.
In ten years, from 1870 to 1880, we produced over seven hundred millions of dollars of precious metals, and the last year the valuation is estimated at seventy-five millions in gold and silver; and rising above these colossal and phenomenal figures, our great manufacturing people during the past year have produced not less than five thousand millions of dollars in valuation. The mind staggers in the presence of these tremendous facts.
Then our national wealth is as phenomenal as are the annual products of soil, and mine, and skill, and commerce. In 1880 our national wealth was estimated at forty-four[Pg 4] thousand millions of dollars, which would buy all Russia, Turkey, Italy, South Africa, and South America—possessions inhabited by not less than one hundred and seventy-seven millions of people. This enormous national wealth exceeds the wealth of Great Britain by two hundred and seventy-six millions of dollars. England's wealth is the growth of centuries, while our wealth, at the most, can be said to be the growth of one century. Nay, the fact is that most of ours has been created in the last twenty years. In 1860 our national wealth was estimated at sixteen thousand millions of dollars. But from 1860 to 1880 our wealth increased twenty-eight thousand millions of dollars—ten thousand millions more than the entire wealth of the Empire of Russia. From 1870 to 1880, ten years, the increase was twenty thousand millions. This is without a parallel. Surely these great facts call upon the President of the United States to convoke the freemen of this country around their religious altars to offer their gratitude and praise to Him from whom cometh all these blessings; for in His hand are the resources of national wealth. With him are the ministers of good and the ministers of evil. He can marshal the insect. He can excite the malaria. He can call forth the tornado. He can put down his foot and wreck the earth with earthquake throes. The ministers of evil are with Him, and stand with closed eyes and folded wings around His throne, but not with deaf ears, waiting to hear His summons, "Go forth." So also around His throne stand the angels of plenty, in whose footfalls rise the golden harvest; who quicken human genius on the land, on the ocean, the artificer, the artisan, the scholar, the philanthropist, and the patriot. It is by these resources of good and evil, forever the ministers of the great God, we learn our dependence on Him; it is with the utmost propriety that this Christian nation recognize Him as God over all and blessed forevermore.
It is eminently proper on a national day like this, standing in the presence of these phenomenal mercies, these crowning[Pg 5] plenties, that we differentiate ourselves from the nations of our own continent and from the most favored nations beyond the sea.
It is proper for us to inquire the divine purpose in placing us among the nations of the earth, and what is our great mission. There are certain facts which prophesy—for facts are as eloquent in prophetic announcement as are the lips of prophet or seer. We should remember that our location is everything to us as a national power, of intelligence and wealth, and that this location is in the wake of national prosperity and greatness. It may have escaped your notice that around this globe is a narrow zone, between the thirtieth and sixtieth parallels of north latitude, and within that narrow zone is our home. Within that belt of power have existed all the great nations of the past, and in it exist all the great nations of the present. What is there in this charmed circle, in this favored zone, that brings national power? We may contract this zone by ten degrees and the same thing is true. It is true that north of this zone there have been nations of wealth, of luxury, and of influence. South of this zone are Egypt and Arabia and India, and other nations that have lived in splendor. But the peoples that have given direction to the thought of mankind, that have created the philosophy for the race, that have given jurisprudence and history and oratory, and poetry and art and science, and government, to mankind, have been crowded, as it were, within this zone of supremacy, within this magical belt of national prosperity. Examine your globe, and there is Greece, that gave letters to the world; Rome, that gave jurisprudence to mankind; Palestine, that gave religion to our race. And to-day there is Germany, that gave a Luther to the church and a Gutenberg to science, and there is England swaying her mighty sceptre over land and sea. Our location is in this wake of power—within this magical zone. Surely there must be a destiny foretold by this great fact, and it is but wise for us as intelligent freemen on this national day to consider the significance of the[Pg 6] prophecy. Our national home is not amid the polar snows of Northern Russia nor the burning sands of Central Africa, but sweeping over the lovely regions of the temperate zone, it lies too far south to be bound in perpetual chains of frost, and too far north to sink under the enervating influences of a tropical sun. Although on the side of the equator destined to be the great receptacle of human life, yet it is too far from the belligerent powers of the old world to fall a victim to their corruption or to the weight of their combined forces. With a shore line equalling the circuit of the globe, and with a river navigation duplicating that vast measurement, our national domain is only one-sixth less than that of the sixty states—republics, kingdoms, and empires—of Europe. Indeed, it is equal to old Rome's vast domain, which extended from the river Euphrates to the Western ocean and from the walls of Antoninus to the Mountains of the Moon.
Our location is for a purpose. For if you and I believe in the mission of individuals who accomplish the purposes of Providence, we must believe in the mission of nations for the elevation of mankind to a better future.
And, my countrymen, it is equally significant that we stand above all nations in our origin. We started where other nations left off. Unrivalled for luxury and oriental splendor, the Assyrians sprung from a band of hunters. Grand in her pyramids, and obelisks, and sphinxes, Egypt rose from that race despised by mankind. Great in her jurisprudence, giving law to the world, the Romans came from a band of freebooters on the seven hills that have been made immortal by martial genius; and that very nation, whose poets we copy, whose orators we seek to imitate, whose artistic genius is the pride of the race, came from barbarians, cannibals; and that proud nation beyond the sea, that sways her sceptre over land and ocean, sprang from painted barbarians—for such were the aborigines of proud Albion's Isle when Cæsar invaded those shores.
Our forefathers stood upon the very summit of humanity.[Pg 7] Recall our constitutional convention. Perhaps no such convention had ever assembled in the halls of a nation. That convention, composed of fifty-five men, and such men! They were giants in intellect, in moral character; all occupying a high social position; twenty-nine were university men, and those that were not collegiates were men of imperial intellects and of commanding common sense. In such a gathering were Franklin, the venerable philosopher; Washington, who is ever to be revered as patriot and philanthropist; and Madison, and Hamilton, two of the most profound thinkers of that or of any other age. It is one of those marvels that we should recall of which we have a right to be proud; but in our pride we should not fail to ascertain why the Almighty should start us as a nation at the very acme of humanity—redeemed, educated, and made grand by the influences of a divine Christianity. Those men were not mere colonists, nor were they limited in their patriotism. "No pent-up Utica" could confine their patriotism, for those men grasped the fundamental principle of human rights. Nay, they declared the ultimate truth of humanity, leaving nothing to added since, though a century has passed. Great modifications have come to the governments of Europe. Some changes have taken place in our national life. Yet I appeal to your intelligent memory, to your calm judgments, if anything has been added to our declaration of rights, those declarations founded upon the constitution of nature. These men voiced the brotherhood of the race. All other declarations prior to this were but for dynasties, or were ethnic at most. But those men swept the horizon of humanity. These men called forth, as it were, the oncoming centuries of time, and in their presence declared that all men are created free and equal.
They not only declared the ultimate truth of human rights, but they exhausted the right of revolution. They created a constitution founded upon the will of the people, based upon our great declaration of rights, embracing man's inalienable right to life, liberty, and happiness. The instrument which[Pg 8] their genius created was left amendable by the oncoming wants of time, modified in subordinate relations which might be suggested by emergencies and the unfolding of our race. Here then are the great fingers of prophecy pointing to our future.
And we have been equally favored in our population, whether we take the Puritans who landed in New England, the Dutch who landed in New York, or the English who crowded Maryland and Virginia. They were first-class families. Especially do we trace back with pride that glorious genius for liberty, for intelligence, for devotion manifested by those heroic men and women who, amid the desolations of a terrific winter landed on a barren rock to transform a vast wilderness, through which the wild man roamed, into a garden wherein should grow the flowers and the fruits of freedom.
We sometimes deprecate the cosmopolitan character of our population. It is a fact, however, that the best blood of the old world came to us until within ten years—not the decrepit, not the maimed, not the aged; for over fifty per cent. of those who came were between fifteen and thirty, and have grown up to be honorable citizens in the composition of our constitutional society. They came not as paupers. Many of them came, each bringing seventy dollars, some $180 dollars, and in the aggregate they brought millions of dollars.
There has been, however, a change, a manifest change, in the character of those from foreign shores within the last decade. The time was when we welcomed everybody that might immigrate to this country; when we threw our gates wide open; when in our Fourth of July orations, we proclaimed this to be the asylum of the oppressed, the home of the down-trodden. But in the process of time this great opportunity afforded the nations of the old world came to be abused, and to-day is the largest source of our national danger. We are now bound to call a halt all along the line of immigration; to say to those peoples of the old world that this is not a new Africa, nor a new Ireland, nor a new Germany,[Pg 9] nor a new Italy, nor a new England, nor a new Russia; that this is not a brothel for the Mormon, a fetich for the negro, a country for the ticket-of-leave-men; not a place for the criminals and paupers of Europe; but this country is for man—man in his intelligence, man in his morality, man in his love of liberty, man, whosoever he is, whencesoever he cometh. [Cries of amen, followed by applause.]
The time has come for us to call a halt all along the line, and if we do not close the gates we should place them ajar. We should do two things: First, declare that this country is for Americans. [Applause.] It is not for Germans, nor for Irishmen, nor for Englishmen, nor for Spaniards, nor for the Chinese, nor for the Japanese, but it is for Americans. [Cries of amen and applause.] I am not to-day reviving the Know-Nothing cry, for I am glad to say that I am not a know-nothing in any sense. [Laughter.] Nor am I reviving what may be called the old Native American cry, for we have outlived that. But I am simply declaring that America is for Typical Americans. In other words, that we are determined by all that is honorable in law, by all that is energetic in religion, by all that is dear to our altars and our firesides, that this country shall not become un-American.
Let us to-day proclaim to the world that he is an American, whether native-born or foreign-born, who accepts seven great ideas which shall differentiate him from all other peoples on the face of the globe. I am bound to say, and you will agree with me, that in proportion there are as many intelligent foreigners (that is, foreign-born) in this congregation, in our city and in our country, who are in full accord with this utterance as there are of those to the manor born. In other words could I call the roll, I would find as many intelligent foreigners who came here, not for selfishness, but for liberty and for America's sake, who would be in accord with me in declaring that America is for the Typical American. [Applause.]
I speak without prejudice; I know that there are those here of foreign birth who are ornaments in every department[Pg 10] of society. They minister to the sick as learned physicians. They plead in all our courts of justice. They are the eloquent exponents of divine truth. They are in our halls of legislation. They beautify private life in all the immunities and refinements thereof. They have added to the wealth of the nation. But while I make this concession, and I do it cheerfully and proudly, yet I must affirm that there are three classes of Americans: the native-born, the foreign-born and the typical American. The native American has the advantage of birth, out of which flows one supreme advantage—he may be the President of the United States. This is a wise provision, as nativity is a primary source of patriotism, and time is necessary to appreciation. But the native may be a worthless citizen. He should be the typical American, but he has too often failed to be. The Tweeds, the Wards, their like, are no honor whatever to the native stock. Some of the worst scoundrels who have scandalized our nation have been born to the soil.
Then there is the foreign-born American, who is such by naturalization. He may be worthy of our free institutions, as many are; he may be unworthy, as many have proved themselves to be. But, rising above these, is the typical American, without regard to place of birth. He is the possessor of the seven great attributes, which, in my humble judgment, constitute the true American:
I. That our civil and political rights are not grants from superiors to inferiors, but flow out of the order and constitution of nature.
II. That the force to maintain these rights is not physical, but moral.
III. That the safeguard of such rights is individual culture and responsibility.
IV. That secular education is provided by the State, and is forever free from sectarian control.
V. That there is no alliance of State and Church; the Government non-religious, but not irreligious.[Pg 11]
VI. That the Sabbath is a day of rest from ordinary care and toil.
VII. That Christianity, in its ethics and charities, is the religion of this land.
It was a bold venture for the fathers of this Republic to declare personal liberty foremost, without regard to birth or education or civilization. This has elevated our nation above all nations. It was sublime courage for those grand men to declare that our civil and political rights are not grants from superiors to inferiors, but that they flow out of the order and the constitution of nature. It is this, my countrymen, that differentiates us, that distinguishes us from Englishmen, and Frenchmen, and Russians. What are the two great declarations of which England is proud? Take the Magna Charta Libertatum. The historians say that this is the bulwark of English freedom. Yes, Englishmen, you do right to so esteem it. But then you should remember that the Magna Charta Libertatum was a concession from King John—a concession from a superior to inferiors, and the men who wrung that concession from that English king did not esteem themselves his equals, but permitted themselves to be treated as inferiors. Then take what is known in English parliamentary history as A Petition of Rights. It secured a concession from King Charles I—a superior to inferiors. But our fathers said we are the superiors. [Applause.] We recognize no superior but God; we declare a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. [Applause.] We ask not for a Magna Charta Libertatum. We offer no petition of rights. Jefferson made our declaration of rights and the fathers signed it, saying, We are born free and equal, created in the image of God; our political rights are inalienable, inseparable from our birth. [Applause.] That declaration turned the corner of political history. It astounded all Europe. It sent a chill through royal blood. It caused a paleness to come over kings and queens; yet it was a declaration which oncoming generations approved, and oncoming[Pg 12] centuries will applaud, because born of truth, justice and liberty.
The naturalized American must renounce all allegiance to foreign prince or potentate or government; in so doing he must reject the assumed superiority of any human grantor and assert the superiority of the individual citizen in whom inhere these rights. [Applause.]
The fathers ventured the assertion that a government of the people and by the people and for the people should be supported, not by physical force, but by a moral power, an astounding fact in the national history. The power that conquered in the war for independence was a moral force. It was the spirit of '76. It was the spirit of '76 that inspired Warren to say: "Put me where the battle is hottest." It was the spirit of '76 that moved Putnam to shout out on the eve of battle: "Powder! powder! Ye gods, give us powder!" It was the spirit of '76 that caused the New Jersey dominie, when the army was destitute of wadding, to rush to the church and, getting a copy of Watts's psalms, shout out: "There, boys, put Watts into them." It was the spirit of '76 that led Washington to consecrate himself, his time, his wealth, and the grandest men in the country to consecrate themselves for the accomplishment of the grandest of facts. The Continental Army was an army of plowmen and artisans, poorly armed and poorly clothed. Baron Steuben, when he came to this country with Lafayette to organize our army, declared that the only regularity that he saw was, that the short men were put in front and the tall men put behind, and old Putnam gave him this explanation, that Americans didn't care about their heads; they only cared about their legs; shelter their legs and they would fight forever. Baron Steuben attempted to organize those troops, but lost his temper and swore at them in three languages at the same time. [Laughter.] But the spirit of '76 led to history.
We maintain our free institutions by moral force. Our twenty thousand soldiers scattered here and there wherever[Pg 13] they can find an Indian to shoot is hardly a respectable police force. [Laughter.] The founders of this Republic knew that freemen are soldiers in the disguise of citizens. Let the tocsin of war be founded; let a foreign foe invade our shores; let an insurrectionary body arise in our midst, and a million of freemen, armed to the teeth, will "Rally round the flag, boys, rally once again." [Vociferous applause.] It is difficult for immigrants coming to this country to appreciate this fact. They pass through the land and see no gens d'armes, no standing armies, and rarely a policeman. [Laughter.]
The true American stands forever on duty, a soldier of the Republic in the disguise of a citizen, the custodian of the Republic's life. Out of such a citizenship comes the moral sentiment which in its aggregation is public opinion, which is mightier than standing armies or floating navies. [Applause.]
A third attribute is the individuality of the citizen, out of which comes the collective man, our national life. We have exalted the individual; the American citizen is a republic of one. Whether we have fifty millions, or ten millions, or a million, whatever may be the ratio of our population, the Government recognizes the individuality of the citizen as paramount. As God is the center of the universe, and Christ the center of the church, so the citizen is the center of this Government. All its laws, all its administrations, all its soldiers in the army, all its guns in the navy, are for the protection of the American citizen. Wherever he wanders, whether in Africa, or Europe, or Asia, or Germany, or Ireland, or Cuba, or Mexico, the American citizen must and shall be protected. [Applause.] It is difficult for men coming from Europe, where men are contemplated in masses, to realize the potency of individuality; but it underlies our free institutions.
Fourthly, he is an American, whether native-born or foreign-born, who accepts the bold venture of the fathers to segregate public education from the teachings of the church. It was a bold move in political science. There is no authority under the Constitution of the United States, there should be[Pg 14] no authority in the constitution of any State, there should be no authority in the municipality of any part of the country, to impose religious instruction upon the childhood of America. You and I may tremble in the presence of this tremendous fact, this daring project in the science of statecraft, but then you must remember that, according to the organic law of our country, we know no class but citizens, we know no obligation but protection, no duty but the welfare of the people. In all the nations abroad there is the combination of secular and religious instruction. Arithmetic, geometry, geography, physiology, must be taught under the sanctions of religion. But in this country public education is separated from sectarian religious teaching. We may pause in the presence of such a fact. We know that intelligence is almost a boundless power. Intelligence has produced as much evil as it has good; the greatest monsters who have damned humanity have been men of the highest possible culture, and the men who are sowing the seed in this country of discord are men of sublime intellects and polished education. And therefore the founders of the Republic recognized the duty of the individual citizen to add home instruction, instruction in the church, instruction in the Sunday-school, to sanctify this intelligence. Whenever they expounded constitutional law, or spoke in behalf of the perpetuity of our institutions, they never failed to give pre-eminence to private virtue and public morality; nor did they hesitate to say that this virtue in private life and this morality in the public society must flow out of that religion which we esteem divine.
Those great men ventured on another and a desperate mission, the segregation of State from Church. In the nations of the old world these are allied. The Czar is the head of the church. Victoria is the head of the church. The King of Germany is the head of the church. The Hapsburg, of Austria, is the head of the church. The Sultan is the head of the church. But here we have no earthly head of the church. To the individual Christian Christ is the head of the church. This is fundamental in our Government. Here we have "a free church in a free country." Christianity had been supported[Pg 15] by thrones in the old world. Religion had been enforced by armies and navies. The great cathedrals, and what are called the church livings, had been maintained by a tax imposed upon people who did not believe the creed taught, and did not observe the forms of worship practiced. In our organic law it is stated that Congress shall not legislate on the subject of religion. Religion shall be free. Here the Mohammedan may rear his mosque and read his Koran. Here the Brahmin may rear his pagoda and read his Shasta. All religionists may come and worship here, but their worship shall not infringe upon the worship of others nor work injury to the body-politic. The Typical American should set his face against all seeming alliance of Church and State. We say to the Holy Father, live in peace. Stay in Rome. Live on the banks of the Tiber. If you come here, you must be an American citizen, rejecting your doctrine of temporal power. You may come and be naturalized and be a voter, but we can have no temporal popes here. [Applause and laughter.] So we say to our countrymen that come from dear old Ireland, the best country in the world to emigrate from, [laughter], to the Italian, to the Spaniard, to the German, you may belong to the church of the spiritual pontiff but you must renounce all allegiance to temporal pontiffs. I hold that under our laws of naturalization, that it is the duty of every cardinal, every archbishop, every bishop, and every priest, every monk, Franciscan or Jesuit, to solemnly renounce before God and the holy angels, all political allegiance to the Pope as a temporal prince, who to-day is seeking to re-establish diplomatic relations with England and other European nations in recognition of his temporal sovereignty.
And he is a true American citizen, whether foreign-born or native-born, who maintains, as an American institution, the Holy Sabbath-day. He can call it Sunday, after the old pagan god, but he must rest on the seventh day, rest from toil, rest in the interest of the dignity of labor, rest as discount upon capital, rest for intelligence, rest for compensation, rest for domestic happiness, rest for pious culture. The seventh day of every week should be consecrated to cessation[Pg 16] from labor and devoted to physical and mental repose. It should not be a day of recreation to be spent in riotous living and in brawls, but a day peaceful, in harmony with the institutions of religion and the dominant sentiment of the country. Our fathers consecrated the Sabbath, and had you the patience to hear and I, the time to read from Franklin, from Jefferson, from Washington, touching the Sabbath, in recognition of it as indispensable to the welfare of our body politic, you would be confirmed in this great truth. The danger to-day is that we are becoming un-American in cutting loose from the Sabbath-day as a day of rest and of worship. I cannot invoke the civil law to do more than to say that it shall be a day of rest. I cannot invoke the civil law to say that that man shall worship here or worship there, or worship at all, but I can invoke the civil law to say that it shall be a non-secular day; not a day for the transaction of business, but a day on which the laboring man shall walk out under God's free skies and say: This is my day, the day of a freeman. [Applause.] The tendency is to transplant a European Sabbath here; the German with his lager, and the Frenchman with his wine, and the Irishman with his shillalah. [Laughter.] No, no, gentlemen, stay on the other side of the great deep. We don't want these things or this day on this side of the broad Atlantic.
There is another attribute that belongs to the true American citizen—the recognition of Christianity as the religion of our country. Webster, our greatest expounder of constitutional law, did not hesitate to declare that Christianity—not Methodist Christianity, not Roman Catholic Christianity, not Presbyterian Christianity—but Christianity as taught by the four Evangelists, is the recognized religion of this land. Recognized how far? So far that its ethics shall be embodied in our constitutional and statutory law; so far that its teachings of the brotherhood of mankind shall be accepted; so far that its lessons of fraternity, equality, justice; and mercy shall be incorporated in the law of society. Those beautiful moralities that fell from the lips of the divine Son of God have been incorporated in the laws of the land, and that with[Pg 17] few exceptions. Our chaplains for the army and navy and for Congress are in recognition of this. On that sacred book the oath of Presidential responsibility is taken. And this Thanksgiving Day, appointed by the President, is a monument of proof. These point to Christianity as the dominant religion of the land, not to the exclusion of the Jew, not to the exclusion of the Greek, not to the exclusion of the Mohammedan, not to the exclusion of the Brahmin, but permeating society with its principles.
Then, citizens, the danger which comes from this foreign population is to be met in this way, first, to hold that this country is for Americans who are clothed with these seven attributes.
I do not exaggerate the danger when I remind you that there are great movements among the peoples of the earth, as never before. Remember that the population of Europe has increased twenty-seven millions from 1870 to 1880, and at this rate of increase Europe can send to us two millions of immigrants a year for the next hundred years. Our foreign-born population is said to be seven millions, and their children of the first generation would make fifteen millions. In 1882 immigration reached the enormous figure of eight hundred thousand, and at the present rate of immigration it is said there will be in the year 1900, fourteen years from now, nineteen millions of persons of foreign birth, and with their children of the first generation there will be forty-three millions in this land of foreign born. Now the question, and a serious one, is, Who are those that come? I have said some are noble, some are true, some are easily transformed into the Typical American. But then we are to remember that most of the foreigners who come here are twelve times as much disposed to crime as are the native stock.
Our population of foreign extraction is sadly conspicuous in our criminal records. This element constituted, in 1870, 20 per cent. of the population of New England, and furnished 75 per cent. of the crime. The Howard Society of London reports that 74 per cent. of the Irish discharged convicts[Pg 18] have come to the United States. I hold in my hand the annual rum bill of this country for the last year. It is nine hundred millions of dollars! I ask myself, Who drinks this rum? Native Americans? Some! [Laughter.] Some drink a good deal. [Renewed laughter.] But let us see the danger that comes to us from inebriety among our foreign population.
The wholesale dealers in liquor are estimated at sixty-five per cent. foreign born, and the brewers seventy-five per cent. Let us take Philadelphia, that old Quaker city, the City of Brotherly Love, that city that seems to be par excellence the city of the world, and here are the figures: There were 8,034 persons in the rum traffic, and who were they? Chinamen, 2; Jews, 2; Italians, 18; Spaniards, 140; Welsh, 160; French, 285; Scotch, 497; English, 568; Germans, 2,179; Irish, 3,041; Africans, 265; American, 205. I suppose we will have to mix the Africans with the Americans, and the total would be 470 Americans, and then there were persons of unknown nationality in the rum traffic, 672; the sum total being 8,034. Of this number 3,696 were females, but out of the 3,696 all were foreigners but one. There was one American woman in the rum business, and I blush for my country. Yet there were 1,104 German women, and 2,548 Irish, and of the whole number of the 8,034 engaged in the liquor traffic of that city, 6,418 had been arrested for some crime. [Applause.] We are bound to look at these facts. Are we a nation of foreign drunkards?
Then there is another danger—the tendency of emigrant colonization. I suppose it is known to you that New Mexico is in the hands of foreigners—in the hands of the Catholic Church. It is also a fact of Congressional report that 20,557,000 acres of land are in the possession of twenty-nine alien corporations and individuals, an area greater than the whole of Ireland. I would have no part of this country subject to any church. I would have no foreign language taught in the public schools to the exclusion of or in preference to the English language. I would have no laws published in a foreign language, whether for the French of[Pg 19] Louisiana or the Germans of Cincinnati. [Loud applause.] I would utter my solemn protest, and that in the hearing of all politicians, especially those men who want to be Presidents and can not be Presidents, and those who hope to be ere long—I would utter my solemn protest to-day against what is known as the "Irish vote" and the "German vote." [Applause.] We do not want any "foreign vote." Down with the politician that would seek an "Irish vote" or "German vote." [Great applause.] All we want here is an American vote. I would not vote for any man for President who would stoop so low as to bid for the German vote or the Irish vote. [Continued applause.] The other safeguard is an extension of the term of residence required for naturalization. Some say make the term twenty-one years. What is the term now? Five years. I read from "Revised Statutes," section 2165 and 2174, that a person applying for citizenship must be a resident of the United States at least five years, and one year within the State or Territory wherein the application is made, and that during that term (I wish I had all the judges here to-day) and that during that term he is to give satisfactory assurance to the court that he has behaved as a man of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same. "A man of good moral character!" what a sublime utterance, and how infinite. I would be glad to know what judge takes the pains, when a hundred of these foreigners apply just on the eve of the election, that they may qualify themselves to vote, what judge inquires whether they are men of good moral character? Yet such is the provision of the law of the land. We have assumed the authority to limit suffrage. We say that women shall not vote, which is a great mistake. [Sensation.] You are not up to that. [Laughter.] My wife is as competent to vote as I. On all moral questions, especially the temperance question, I would trust the women ten times before I would the men. It is an abuse of the very genius of our Government to proscribe the Chinese. We say the negro may vote because his skin is black. We say the Dutchman, the Irishman, the[Pg 20] Italian may vote, because his skin ought to be white, but the Chinese can not vote because his skin is yellow. The word "white" is used in the statute of limitation. We say to the young American who graduates with the highest honors at eighteen, you must wait three years longer before you can stand with the Irishman with his brogans and the Teuton with his lager and vote for the rulers of your native land. I would have the term of naturalization extended, some say till the foreigner has been here twenty-one years. Extend the term to ten years, fifteen years. Say to all persons who come to this country from foreign lands, that after 1890 they shall remain here fifteen years to become indoctrinated in our free institutions, learn the seven attributes of the American citizen, and then be prepared to love America for America's sake. [Applause.]
Thus protected we can look forward to a glorious future, and the eye of prophecy can sweep the horizon of a deathless hope. Look forward to the time when our place among the nations shall be the umpire of the world. When England and Germany and France shall refer their international questions to us for adjudication which otherwise would be adjusted on the field of carnage; when we shall dictate to the world by moral suasion, what shall be the rights of citizens and what shall be the duty of the Government over them.
The proud position of my country looms up before me. England may plant commercial colonies around the globe, and so may Germany and so may France, but let it be the mission of this country to plant colonies of moral ideas wherever the sun shines, and transform the political sentiments of the world until all men shall be recognized as created free and equal by the Father Almighty. Let this be our proud position. Then it shall never be said that the ocean was dug for America's grave, that the winds were woven for her winding sheet, that the mountains were reared for her tombstone. But rather we shall live on, and gifted with immortal youth, America shall ascend the mountain tops of the oncoming centuries with the old flag in her hand, symbol of universal liberty, the light of whose stars shall blend their radiance with the dawn of the millennium.
"Your sermon yesterday upon the essential features of Americanism deserves the applause of the nation. God speed you in your noble mission."
Washington, D. C.
"Your sermon to-day was a masterpiece. God bless you."
Washington, D. C.
"I thank you from the bottom of my American heart for your sermon on 'America for Americans.'"
Washington, D. C.
"Your sermon exactly describes my sentiments, which you have put in a cleaner and plainer light than I can."
"Let me congratulate you with all my heart on your immigration sermon yesterday."
"I have read the report of your sermon, and had I been present would have risen to my feet in an 'Amen' applause."
"I have read your sermon, and thank God that one man has the manhood to speak his mind on a subject which must soon come to the forefront for investigation."
"You struck the people's heart on Thanksgiving Day, and put a needed truth just right."