All animals tend to stay where they were born, and when they change residence it is in search of food. Those which migrate with the seasons merely have two homes. The same conditions govern man. If he is comfortable and possesses the necessaries of life, he is content to stay where he was born. He is normally a stay-at-home, and will not move unless under pressure of some sort. Even in America, where there is supposed to be the greatest restlessness, he is found anchored to the soil.* It has been "demonstrated by actual statistics that only three per cent, of our people travel more than fifty miles from their homes in the course of the year".
Migrations, then, are evidence of an internal pressure, forcing out the least efficient. It is not true, as stated by Ross, * that only the restless energetic men have migrated to this country, constituting a special breed of energetic Americans. Such men are the successful stay-at-homes and remain in Europe with their accumulated property. The failures come here in search of food, actually driven from home by their more successful relatives or by stronger invaders. John Fiske long ago pointed out the fact that even the Mayflower brought over men who were driven from England by poverty, debt and also misconduct. They and the Puritans were inefficients, lacking in intelligence, as shown by their bigoted religious beliefs, and like all narrow people were as intolerant as their persecutors. They were undesirable citizens, and so were many members "of John Rolfe's colony in Virginia; of the French Huguenot settlement in the Carolinas; of the Dutch in New York, and of the Maryland and Pennsylvania plantations".
* George Allen England, New York Medical Journal, June 17, 1905. * "The Foundations of Sociology".
In the work on "The Origins of the British Colonies," by George Louis Beer, the basic idea is the necessity for close commercial relations between the home country and the colonists forced out by overpopulation, and the conditions were recognized by contemporary writers. "There were neuer more people, neuer lesse employment, neuer more Idlenes, neuer so much Excesse." "Also we might inhabite some part of those countryes, and settle there such needy people of our countrye, which now trouble the Commonwealth, and through want here at home are in-forced to commit outragious offenses, whereby they are dayly consumed with the gallowes." The colonies received the dregs of Europe, and as these men were freed from the restraints of the better types, who made the laws, the seventeenth century witnessed a carnival of piracy and crime. The foulest reprobates from the city slums were the only men Columbus could get to man his ships, and thereafter every expedition carried out a hard set of men, adventurers, criminals, tramps and beggars, who were to find gold and get rich, and for over four hundred years, degenerates have been flocking to unhappy Cuba from Latin Europe.
The Irish immigrant of 1840 and later, and the Italian of 1880, both gave us very false ideas of the Irish and Italian people, and so do the Chinese coolies who come here, for they are all different from the mass of their people and of course vastly different from the intelligent, cultured ruling types. The same conditions exist to-day, for the Immigration Commission which recently investigated the matter, stated that the best people in Europe were prosperous, and too well satisfied to migrate.
It has been proved that European governments have repeatedly paid the transportation charges of paupers to get rid of them, and our greatest task is to keep out those who will become public charges. The law against the importation of laborers under contract was passed to prevent the wholesale immigration of the unemployed inefficients of Europe. Nevertheless they come individually if not in groups under contract, and Dr. Rene Gonnard, Professor of Political Economy in the University of Lyons, shows that this great emigration consists "of those who are in distress," and it is, of course, mostly from rural districts, because there is no room on the farms for the babies.*
To be sure, Dr. Maurice Fishberrg * believes that his statistics prove that emigrants, as a rule, are taller than those who stay at home; but stature does not constitute success in the struggle for existence.
It is necessary to study these past and present migrations, not only for the light they show upon the question of overcrowding, but because they are at the basis of the relationship of races now brought into close contact for the first time by reason of the increased facilities of travel. The stream to America apparently culminated in 1907 with a total of not far from 1,500,000 souls - the most stupendous migration in the history of the world.