14 DECEMBER 1991, Page 13

One hundred years ago

THE AMERICANS, we suspect, are Making up their minds to check immi- gration if they can. An acute observer on the spot prophesied this change of feeling in our columns twenty years ago; but it has required a new generation to make it manifest. The laws against pau- per immigrants are growing stricter and stricter, and now the Secretary to the Treasury reports that there were 516,000 immigrants last year, 100,000 more than in the year previous; that the average quality is becoming lower; and that Congress must make new restric- tions, and "begin the process of sifting abroad." One great cause for the new jealousy of immigrants is the immense number of Italians and Hungarian Slays who flock over, and are ready to do the half-skilled labour at low rates. This exceedingly irritates the Irish; while the native Americans, being unable to understand the immigrants' speech, and seeing their exceeding dirt, dislike their presence as lowering to civilisation.

The Spectator 12 December 1891