13
IMMIGRATION

FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS, immigration into Texas increased during the early seventies. The problem of utilizing Negro labor immediately after the Civil War proved to be a baffling one. The former slaves, restless with their new freedom, left the plantations where they had lived and roamed at will. The excitement produced by their new status had largely subsided by 1866, and many of the Negroes returned to work. However, their employers found them irresponsible and unreliable. To the planters, faced with difficulties in utilizing Negro labor in the years that followed, immigration seemed to offer a solution to their problem.1 An unsigned writer for the Texas Almanac for 1870 stated: "Competition will dissipate many of the freedmen's conceited notions and lower their growing pretentiousness." This same writer suggested Chinese laborers as competitors to the freedmen. "To China the South is now looking with deep interest for a solution of the labor question, and there is reason to believe it will be solved favorably."2 However, competition was not to be provided by this means. Indeed, a few Chinese immigrants were reported as moving into Texas, but not to the farms. The GalvestonWeekly Civilian quoted an account from a St. Louis paper of December 28 as declaring: "Nearly five hundred Chinese will arrive here tonight. They will immediately proceed to Texas to work on the railroads."3

____________________
1
Ellis Paxson Oberholtzer, A History of the United States since the Civil War, I, 297; H. H. Bancroft, History of the North Mexican States and Texas, II, 481.
2
Texas Almanac, 1870, pp. 96-97.
3
GalvestonWeekly Civilian, December 30, 1869, XXXII, 206.

-254-

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