My grandfather, Edwin Stephens, came from Cornwall to the United States in 1900. Here’s an excerpt from his autobiography that shows how the arrival in New York symbolized so much for a young man of twenty-one who yearned to start a new life full of promise. Our new president doesn’t care or doesn’t realize what he destroyed with one grandstanding sweep of his pretty little pen. He demolished hope.
And, yes, I’m proud to be the granddaughter of an immigrant to the United States. Not only is Lady Liberty crying today, my grandfather must be looking down upon this debacle and weeping.
From the “Autobiography” of my grandfather, Edwin Stephens (1876-1943)
Ancestry and Parentage
A scion of old Cornish, Celtic stock,
Whose forebears roamed at large on Britain’s isles
Ere Norseman found their rugged wave-lapped shore
Or Danish hordes invaded them for spoil;
Where Druid devotees made offerings
Of human sacrifice to idol gods.
Breaking Home Ties
On March 21st in 1900
I left the shores of England all alone
With ambitions for my future life,
And youthful dreams that set my heart aflame.
Nine days of stormy voyage on the sea
Cooled not my zeal nor quenched that burning flame.
What tho’ the old Majestic rolled and tossed
Or sometimes lay submerged beneath the waves
Her captain’s long experience made us feel
That he could ride the wildest waves
And bring his ship into her destined port
With all her precious freight of human lives.
And so it was: Ere day had yet appeared
The lights of New York harbor came to view,
And when day had dawned, with eye transfixed
We gazed upon a noble towering shaft—
Statue of Liberty, ah there it boldly stood
Bidding us welcome to her free and happy shores
And likewise all who came with purpose firm
To give obedience to her just and righteous laws.