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Newspaper Page Text
"You are instructed to report at
once what steps have been taken by steamship companies or individuals to promote emigration from Europe to the Pacific coast via the Panama canal." - After talking with consular agents on the subject, and interviewing members of the Italian Royal Emi gration Commission, I haveJearned the following facts about this possi ble undesirable exodus from the south of Europe: There are some thirteen steamship companies concerned in promoting: it. Seven are Italian, sailing from Genoa or Naples. These Italian lines have a combined carryihb capacity of 56,392 passengers per trip. Their vessels are unsanitary and crowded. Other than Italian lines, the Aus-tro-American line will undoubtedly be in the pool, it is said, and will bring from Trieste hordes of Greeks, Slavs and Magyars, while two lines that sell tickets in Southern Russia will bring Armenians and Rouman ians to the Pacific states. From the Pireaus, port of Athens, two lines, notorious for their unsani tary and poorly equipped ships, will bring Syrians, Greeks and Macedon ians. On so long a trip these boats will become veritable hotbeds of dis ease, even if the immigrants start in good health. The so-called "jackals of the steer age," however, are selling tickets to people known to be suffering from tracoma and other maladies exclud ed from the United States, and are even issuing insurance guaranteeing their passage money back if they are not admitted at the American port! Besides the diseased, it is certain that the great migration will bring to America thousands of criminals. What can be done about it? It is already forbidden by law, in Italy, to encourage emigration. Yet there are over 100,000 steamship aeents who can do so verbally with out being caught. Moreover the , companies themselves are offering special rates. As an inducement, they are selling tickets on the installment plan, at the rate of $1 a week. They have already booked 150,000 passages for Pacific coast ports from Italy ,alone by this means. Because of their reductions over the common rates, the thirty day trip to San Francisco will probably cost only $80. The twelye day trip to New York alone costs $40. The Italian government is as much worried over this prospective emigra tion which will come with the open ing of the Panama canal as is the United States. I asked Commadatore Egisto Rossi, of the Royal Commission on Emigra tion, how Italy would meet it. ... "We cannot stop emigration," he said, "but Italy does not encourage emigration to the western part of the United States. We realize that in that -region the Italian emigrant, without money, would be a mere la borer, working harder for his wages than he would in Italy, and possibly, he could find no work at all if emi gration is too heavy." "Should this bruited pool material ize, and' the threatened exodus de velop, it will be our duty not only to warn emigrants, but to take what measures we can to prevent them from going!" Other than Italy, no South Euro pean government has done anything to prevent the proposed wholesale emigration upon the opening of the canal. In those countries the "jackals . of the steerage" have been given full sway to book passages via Panama, and to paint in glowing colors the mild weather and glorious opportuni ties of the Pacific coast. o o America has furnished to the world the character of Washington. And, if our American institutions had done nothing else, that alone would have entitled them to the respect of man kind. Daniel Webster.