amount of wealth as a whole, nor of any diminution in the ranks of the men who range from well-to-do to very rich. The danger arises from the increase of grinding poverty among vast masses of the population in certain quarters, and from the real or seeming increase in the inequality of conditions between the very rich and the very poor; in other words, as colossal fortunes grow up on the one hand, there grows up on the other a large tenement-house population, partly composed of wage-earners who never save anything, and partly of those who never earn quite enough to give their families even the necessaries of life.
This ominous increase in the numbers of the class of the hopelessly poor is one among the injuries which have to a greater or less degree offset the benefits accruing to the country during the present century, because of the unrestricted European immigration. There was considerable immigration from abroad even before the War of 1812; but it did not become of great moment until after the close of the contest. The volume then swelled very rapidly. In 1818 and 1819 over twenty thousand immigrants arrived in New York, and were reported at the mayors office. Most of them were very poor and ignorant, and at first ill able to cope with their new surroundings. They housed in sheds, cellars, and rookeries of all kinds, and in winter time were reduced to desperate