The Alien Immigrant, 1903.
6 Mar 2017

The Alien Immigrant: with Map and Numerous Illustrations from Author’s Photographs (1903)

Major Sir William Eden Evans Gordon (8 August 1857 – 31 October 1913), was a British Member of Parliament who extensively served as a military diplomat in India. His career as a political officer often mixed administrative business and foreign politics. In 1900 Evans Gordon returned to Britain and was elected Conservative Party MP for Stepney. Furthermore, Evan Gordon was involved in the Aliens Act 1905 which limited the number of people allowed to enter the UK. Evans Gordon is the author of The Alien Immigrant: with Map and Numerous Illustrations from Author’s Photographs (1903) an even-handed book in which he gives voice to the theme of anti-immigrant rhetoric. In the first chapter of his fact-finding mission, Evans Gordon describes the concern of the British Board of Deputies about refugees and immigrants. The book records the situation of several ethnic groups (especially the Jews)  with apparent low-level antisemitism. However, after travelling in Eastern Europe over a period of two months he is also moved describing the condition in which the workers were in Libau and Łódź. Furthermore, the last chapter contains examples of other alien immigrants, such as gangs of German robbers. Evans Gordons dedicated his book to Edward Steinkopff, head at Deep Blue St. Jame’s Gazette, a newspaper connected with the start of the anti-alienism movement in 1886. The Alien Immigrant was used as evidence to the Aliens Commission and eventually resulted in the Aliens Act 1905 which placed restriction on Eastern European Immigration.

The Alien Immigrant

Vanity Fair caricature by Spy (Leslie Ward), 11 May 1905. The Alien immigrant

Further Readings: