« ZurückWeiter »
This may be due in part to the fact that some of the foreign born children have enjoyed school facilities since their arrival, but it is also a reflex of the fact that the popular education in Europe is of recent date and that the fathers did not enjoy the opportunities of the children. This consideration is instructive in view of the fact that we know nothing of the illiteracy of the immigrants by actual count except in recent years. It points out the probability that the older immigrants may have been as ignorant as the new, and that illiterate immigration is not a new, but only a newly observed fact.
In connection with this discussion of the intellectual quality of the immigrants, we may properly note the census returns as to ability to speak English. It is reported that, in 1900, there were 217,280 foreign born persons in the United States over ten years of age, or 12 per cent of all, who could not speak English. Of course many of the foreign born spoke English as their mother tongue, 24.5 per cent being from the United Kingdom or English Canadians. Allowing for these persons, it appears that of the foreign born who had no English antecedents the proportion of those who had not acquired in some degree the ability to speak our language was 18.3 per cent. It is interesting to note that ten years earlier there were 15.5 per cent of the foreign born over ten years of age who could not speak English. Allowing again for those of English antecedents, we find 25 per cent of those without inherited knowledge of English who had not acquired it. The improvement between 1890 and 1900 may be in part due to the fact that in the former year, after a decade of heavy immigration, the proportion of recent arrivals among the foreign born enumerated was larger than in 1900. If this be true, we must state our conclusion cautiously to the effect that modern immigration has not as yet affected the rate of acquisition of the English language.
The capacity of the immigrant to adapt himself to new conditions may be examined also in the light of economic standards. Those who bring with them a certain degree of industrial efficiency, as evidenced by their occupations, may properly be looked upon as more promising than those who stand on the lowest scale of economic activity. The occupations of the immigrants landing in 1903 are thus stated:
6,999 Skilled labor
124,683 Miscellaneous .
525,663 No occupation, including women and children.
857,046 The professional class is inconsiderable. If we eliminate those having no occupation, we find that skilled labor represents only 19 per cent of those having occupations. The vast majority come under the head “miscellaneous,” whose largest contingent is unskilled laborers, 320,642 persons. This single category makes up 48.8 per cent of all immigrants having occupations. It is needless to point out that this composition of the immigrants as respects occupations shows a general average of economi standards much lower than in the population at large, where laborers not specified constitute less than 10 per cent of all persons engaged in gainful occupations. The fact is patent to all and constitutes the most serious aspect of the immigration problem generally. It would, however, be a mistake to assume that the prevalence of a low economic standard is a result of the shifting of emigration centres and a consequence of recent developments. A similar grouping of occupations shows for the decade 1881-1890:
Professional occupations .
2,195,292 No occupation
5,246,613 If we again disregard the persons having no occupation, we find that only 19.5 per cent of the remainder are represented by skilled labor, a proportion not sensibly higher than that found in 1903.
With somewhat less accuracy we may push the inquiry still further back into the past. The special report upon immigration issued by the Bureau of Statistics in 1872 gives the occupations of all passengers arriving in the United States from 1820 to 1870. The figures show 1,398,516 laborers, 4,801,537 with occupation not stated or without occupation, and 2,319,281 in other occupations, in a total of 8,518,334. But these figures relate to all passengers and not exclusively to immigrants, embracing 714,469 citizens of the United States. It may, I think,
be safely assumed that the citizens of the United States, returning to their own country had practically no representation in the class of laborers. If then, we deduct the citizens of the United States from the total arrivals and further eliminate the persons without occupation, we find that laborers not specified constitute 46.6 per cent of the remainder thus obtained. It would appear, therefore, that there has been no appreciable deterioration in the quality of immigration, judged from the standpoint of occupation. What it is to-day it always has been.
From the foregoing analysis it should, I think, be clear that the evidence of a declining average of intelligence and capacity which has been alleged to characterize recent immigration is just as inconclusive as that brought forward to show an increasing volume. However serious the problems of immigration, they are not new problems, nor are they more urgent to-day than before. To demonstrate this fact is not to answer the question whether restriction is or is not desirable. Such restriction may indeed have been desirable fifty years ago, or it may have become so since, not through any change in the volume or character of immigrants, but by reason of changes in the body politic. Into these larger questions it is not our purpose to enter.
But it is, I trust, some slight contribution to this question to emphasize the fact that we are not dealing with new conditions.
Should the matter rest where it now stands, may we not hope that the doubts now expressed, whether the nation can successfully absorb the immigrants of to-day, will prove quite as unfounded as those which found expression some fifty years ago, when the first great influx of immigration occurred ?
ROLAND P. FALKNER. WASHINGTON, D.C.
THE CAPITALIZATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL
MERCANTILE MARINE COMPANY.
THE International Mercantile Marine Company completed,
on December 31, 1903, its first year of life as a going concern. Up to the date of this writing, if stock quotations are any indication of its financial condition, the success of the company, from a market standpoint, is problematical. Its preferred stock is quoted at 18 and its common stock at 5, prices which indicate a general conviction that the equity in the company is worth little.
There is, however, a possibility that the stock market may be mistaken in its estimate of Mercantile Marine. In a declining market, stock values are influenced more strongly by the financial necessities of holders than by the earning power of the companies whose ownership they represent. This is especially true of the stocks of corporations launched on a declining market where the influence of every adverse factor is exaggerated. International Mercantile Marine has, in this respect, been peculiarly unfortunate. It was brought out during the fall of 1902, when the decline in the market was in full swing, and after the public buying power had been exhausted. Under the circumstances, these securities had no chance of a favorable reception. Moreover, almost from the start they were subject to inside pressure.
The English vendors, stimulated by some natural distrust of the unknown economies of combination, and strenuously exhorted thereto by the financial press of Great Britain, which has been from the outset hostile to the combination, sold the stock which
1 For example, the Economist, on November 29, 1902, referring to the report that certain English vendors had expressed a desire to receive bonds in lieu of cash, remarked as follows: “They (J. S. Morgan and Co.) also state that the offer was made on the expressed desire of some shareholders, who wished to invest in the bonds. If that be the case, it seems to imply a singular lack of busi
they received in payment for their interest, and the members of the American underwriting syndicate, as well as the American vendors, hard pressed by the continued stringency in the money market, have contributed to the selling pressure.
The proposition should be considered on its merits, without special reference to the market price of the company's securities.
The outstanding capital of the Mercantile Marine Company is divided as follows:
Underlying bonds . .
$16,000,000 52,000,000 54,600,000
To pay interest and preferred dividends - common dividends, at least for some years to come, are hardly to be expected — will require the following amounts:
Following the practice of the older German and English companies and allowing 60 per cent of net earnings for depreciation, insurance and renewals, the total requirements, letting these funds include the sinking fund, are $16,000,ooo.
ness capacity on the part of the vendor shareholders, since they need not seek far to find securities with a much greater margin of security than these bonds to return a higher rate of interest. All they do know is that its capitalization will be enormously in excess of that of the undertakings that have been absorbed in it, and none should be better aware than themselves of the difficulty that will be met with in earning dividends on such a large sum, since they have had the experience of the same difficulty with a much smaller capitalization."
1 The bonds of the International Navigation Company, of which $13,686,000 are outstanding, call for a sinking fund of $250,000 to $500,000 annually, beginning May 1, 1905, which will retire the bonds at maturity in 1929. No sinking fund is provided for the bonds of the International Mercantile Marine Company, but they are subject to call at 105 after five years. If an adequate reserve is provided, the necessity of a sinking fund on bonds secured by shipping property does not appear.