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The total foreign-born population of the Union was 4,136,175, or 13.15 per cent. of the aggregate population. The English formed 1.37 per cent., the Irish 5.12, the Germans 4.14. The number of the natives of Germany was 1,301,136. The number of Germans (including their children born in this country) was four millions.
When this volume was ready for the press, the settlement of the public lands, under the provisions of the Homestead Law, was rapidly increasing. Some portions of Europe had already been made acquainted with our true condition, by means of intelligent agents sent there to circulate facts and information; while the subsequent movement in Congress in aid of immigration, attracted general attention abroad. Early in 1864, England and Ireland began to throw off their swarms of adventurers. In April, the American Consul at Liverpool wrote to Mr. Seward, as follows:
Emigration may be said never to have been so active as it is now. It is quite unprecedented. For the past two months all the emigrant vessels from Liverpool to the States, both with steam and sails, have taken emigrants to their
utmost capacity. At the present time there are not half enough ships to carry those who want to go. I called this morning on two or three of the leading shipping houses to ascertain the true state of the business, and will briefly detail what I learned. Inman's steamers-the Liverpool, New York, and Philadelphia line-told me that every passage on all their steamers up to the 18th of May next, is now engaged, and one-half of those of the steamers to sail after this period up to the 1st of June. Guion & Co., and C. Grimshaw & Co., two other large houses, told me that all the passages on their respective vessels to sail between now and the 1st day of June next, are already taken, and that they are turning off people every day for want of accommodations; that they are so pressed that they do not know what to do. They have not half vessels enough, and cannot procure them to carry the passengers that want to go. What they say will apply with equal force to all the other shippers at this port. A large proportion of the emigrants have had their passage paid in the States. These have a preference. They have raised the price of their tickets for passage, within the last few weeks, at least a third higher than they were. All the vessels sailing are filled with passengers, and the only way emigration can now be increased, so far as England and Ireland are concerned, is to increase the means of transportation. One of the houses told me this morning that they could send out fifty thousand emigrants in two months if they had the ships to carry them."
Here, then, is one way to get a farm. It is, beyond all question, the cheapest, surest, and most expeditious of any that can be suggested. It may also be the least laborious; but whether it is the most desirable in the end, each aspirant must determine for himself. It will suit many, but cannot
be expected to suit all. To the strong and hardy, such as are accustomed to rough work and humble fare, it will probably be the easiest method. It must be so to thousands, or they would not so readily embrace it. How such a farm may be put in shape, and what it may be expected to produce, will be indicated in a future chapter.
Of this Homestead Law, Mr. Julian, of Indiana, thus speaks in his eloquent argument on the bill to extend its provisions to the soldiers:
"Its enactment was a long delayed but magnificent triumph of freedom and free labor over the slave-power. While that power ruled the Government its success was impossible. By recognizing the dignity of labor and the equal rights of the million, it threatened the very life of the oligarchy which had so long stood in its way. The slaveholders understood this perfectly; and hence they resisted it, reinforced by their Northern allies, with all the zeal and desperation with which they resisted abolitionism itself. Its final success is among the blessed compensations of the bloody conflict in which we are plunged. This policy takes for granted the notorious fact that our public lands have practically ceased to be a source of revenue. It recognizes the evils of land monopoly on the public domain, as well as in the old States, and looks to its settlement and improvement as the true aim and highest good of the Republic. It disowns, as iniquitous, the principle which would tax our landless poor men a dollar and a quarter per acre for the privilege of cultivating the earth; for the privilege of making it a subject of taxation, a source of national revenue, and a home for themselves and their little ones. It assumes, to use the words of General Jackson, that 'the wealth and
strength of a country are its population,' and that 'the best part of that population are the cultivators of the soil.' This bold and heroic statesman urged this policy thirty-two years ago; and had it then been adopted, coupled with adequate guards against the greed of speculators, millions of landless men, who have since gone down to their graves in the weary conflict with poverty and hardship, would have been cheered and blest with independent homes on the public domain. Wealth incalculable, quarried from the mountains and wrung from the forests and prairies of the West, would have poured into the Federal coffers. The question of slavery in our national territories would have found a peaceful solution in the steady advance and sure empire of free labor, whilst slavery, in its strongholds, girdled by free institutions, might have been content to die a natural death, instead of ending its godless career in an infernal leap at the nation's throat."
In the following extract Mr. Julian foreshadows the establishment of another vast land monopoly in the South, or rather the substitution of new monopolists in place of the slaveholders, unless the operation of the Homestead Law is extended to the rebel States:
"We shall certainly win; and our triumph will inevitably divest the title to a vast body of land in the rebel States, and place it under our control. I think it entirely safe to conclude that it will constitute more than half, and probably three-fourths, of all the cultivated lands in the rebellious districts. It will certainly, in any event, cover many millions of acres. It will include all lands against which proceedings in rem shall be instituted, under the provisions of the act to suppress insurrections, and to punish treason and
rebellion, approved July 17th, 1862; all lands which may be sold under the provisions of the act for the collection of direct taxes in insurrectionary districts, approved June 7th, 1862; and all lands which may be sold under the provisions of the act to provide internal revenue to support the Government, approved July 1st of the same year.
"What shall be done with these immense estates, brought within our power by the acts of rebels? One or two policies, radically antagonistic, must be accepted. They must be allowed to fall into the hands of speculators, and become the basis of new and frightful monopolies, or they must be placed under the jurisdiction of the Government, in trust for the people. The alternative is now presented, and presses upon us for a speedy decision. Under the laws of Congress now in force, unchecked by counter legislation, these lands will be purchased and monopolized by men who care far more for their own mercenary gains than for the real progress and glory of our country. Instead of being parcelled out into small homesteads, to be tilled by their own independent owners, they will be bought in large tracts, and thus not only deprive the great mass of landless laborers of the opportunity of acquiring homes, but place them at the mercy of the lords of the soil. The old order of things will be swept away, but a new order, scarcely less to be deplored, will succeed. In place of the slaveholding landowner of the South, lording it over hundreds of slaves and thousands of acres, we shall have the grasping monopolist of the North, whose dominion over the freedman and poor whites will be more galling than slavery itself, which in some degree tempers its despotism through the interest of the tyrant in the health and welfare of his victims. The maxim of the slaveholder that capital should own labor, will be as frightfully exemplified under the system of wages