Mr. Hanna to Mr. Blaine.
Buenos Ayres , April 7, 1889. (Received May 21.)
Sir: The immigration from European countries to these shores, hitherto chiefly Italian, Spanish, and French, is now rapidly setting in from other quarters—England, Scotland, Ireland, Holland, and Germany. It is marvelous, indeed, in what great numbers they are arriving. This element of newcomers will work a great change in agricultural development, which may become a serious question for the United States.
The prices of our wheat and corn product are already strained and depressed, about as much, perhaps, as they can well bear. All this immigration is assisted by the Government by payment of the passage of the immigrants. In this way they are easily persuaded to leave the overdone Old World for the brilliant outlook of the New, The amount [Page 3] the Argentine Government paid last month for immigrants’ passage is reckoned at $500,000. This, kept up throughout the year, would reach $6,000,000. Already this vast influx is beginning to tell on the volume of grain exports. Last year the country shipped 445,000 tons of corn; this year it will go above 2,000,000 tons.
In addition to the vast sum paid out by the Government in encouragement of immigration, there is another great outlay. The Government lands the immigrant, keeps him and his family some days at the Immigrants’ Hotel, pays his passage in river steamers and in railroad trains to reach the colonies or join the farms or estancias where employment has been secured for him. This probably costs the Government fully as much more as the cost of the ocean passage—say, $12,000,000 in all paid in encouragement of immigration in one year alone.
I am, etc.,