Some of our Canadian friends are
inclined to take umbrage at the employment of the word alien
as it appeared in the September issue of this journal, and in connection
with the nurse in attendance upon the late President. They seem
to forget there may be another definition of alien aside
from “a foreigner” or “citizen of a foreign country.” It also signifies:
Pertaining to another: Not native:
Estranged: Different in nature and tendency: Not a denizen or
native.—Worcesters [sic] Unabridged Dictionary.
Unsuitable: Strange: Hostile:
Belonging to another person, place or thing.— Encyclopædic Dictionary.
One not having the rights of citizenship
in his or her place of residence.— Century Dictionary.
The latter was the sense in which
the term was used, the nurse being alien to Buffalo—as was
necessarily the case when she was imported from Washington, D. C.
Again, the criticism was not aimed
at individuals, but at a principle, pernicious per se, that
was apparently manifested and which, perhaps, is best expressed
by the hackneyed vulgarism as “letting in one’s friends.” We feel
assured if our readers had given the editorial in question more
careful perusal—submitted to a second reading,—they would not have
thus missed the real point and thereby fallen into an error. This
much may be said, however: Had the editor of this Journal even the
shadow of reason to suppose the nurse in question was of Canadian
extraction, or even adoption, another adjective than alien
would have been selected, knowing full well that to those Canadians
resident near the border, this term (thanks to cheap politics and
“yellow” journalism) serves a purpose like the “red rag” flaunted
before the bull.
The coupling of the word alien
with the word trained, as occured [sic] in a communication
to an Eastern paper, if not a typographical error, was certainly
gratuitous; the fact the former was italicised, and a hyphen lacking,
evidenced the word “trained ” was governed by attendant.
Finally, the management of the Detroit
Medical Journal is wholly free from any prejudice as regards the
accident of birth, or foreign origin. Further, the editor, as one
of Scottish blood, as a former resident of Ontario, and by reason
of business affiliations and ties of consanguinity, marriage and
friendship, within the Dominion, is manifestly one of the very last
to indulge in invidious criticism or sneers regarding those who
have ever owed loyalty to Great Britain.
“Alien,” under the circumstances,
may not have been a happy selection, but it was nevertheless both
correct and pertinent.