Are we to Polonized?
The Inroad of a Not Altogether Desirable Class of Foreigners.
Within the week a movement has taken shape, says the Boston Transcript, which
should have more than a passing interest for the people of New England. Some
500 Poles have passed through New Haven bound North, many of them coming on
the night boats to that city. It was learned that these people were bound for
various sections in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and that the purpose of their
coming was to till the land. They might find a welcome as farm hands, of which
there is now a scarcity, but their ambition rises higher than that. As one of
their number explained, in Poland, men; women and children worked in the fields
and every one of them know how to make the smallest piece of land pay for itself.
They had been informed that the abandoned farms of New England could be purchased
on very cheap terms, and within the next three months thousands of Poles would
leave their country for the United States.
The Poles are an industrious people and the country boast many names of distinction
in art, literature and other fields of high achievement; but whether this class
of peasants will prove a desirable leaven in the rural life of New England may
be open to question. They turn to account all their land, it is true, as a matter
of necessity, and bringing the same methods to bear here, it is probable that
a Polish family will thrive where an American family would starve.
The question thus arises, whether this is the best that can be done with the
abandoned farms of New England and other sections of our country. We do not
think it is. The experience of the Long Island market gardener, who purchased
an abandoned farm in Paxton, seven miles from Worcester, and in a year or two
made a record of productiveness that staggered the credulity of some of our
contemporaries, suggests a more satisfactory solution.
For some time there has been a tendency for the hill farms to drift toward
the foreigner, but thus far toward a class of foreigners whose children find
the exclusions of an agricultural life as distasteful as they are to the children
of the old stock. Whether the long identification of the Polish people with
the soil has wrought its effects deeply enough to bind succeeding generations
to the agricultural industry remains to be seen. If we are to surrender our
birthrights to those whom we have considered our inferiors on all points of
civilized development, it will be a serious anti-climax to the ambitious purposes
with which New England began the work of nation building. Isn't it time for
men of brains and capital to set about reclaiming their own, and not leave some
of our choicest possessions to be acquired for the occupation, almost, by the
ignorant victims of European oppression.