HC Deb 24 June 1828 vol 19 cc1501-18
Mr. Wilmot Horton

said, he rose pursuant to notice, to submit to the House a motion, connected with the subject of Emigration. His resolution was:—"That this House will, early in the next session of parliament, take into consideration the expediency of adopting such measures, whether of Emigration upon an extended scale, or otherwise, as may appear to be most calculated to relieve the pauperism of Ireland, and to prevent the injurious effects arising there from upon the condition of the labouring classes of this country. "Now his first duty was, to prove that a pauper-population did exist in Ireland, and that this country was called upon, by selfish motives, not to mention any other, to remove the injurious consequences which that population must produce upon the community at large. Now, he would establish the fact of the existence of extensive pauperism in Ireland, upon the evidence of Dr. Doyle, the catholic bishop, and of the bishop of Limerick. The bishop of Limerick was examined before the emigration committee, in 1826, and on being interrogated as to the existing state of pauperism in Ireland, his lordship said, that the existing state of things in that respect in Ireland was truly frightful: that the under-tenants, of perhaps under-tenants, on being dispossessed of their wretched holdings, usually went to other districts, hitherto undisturbed, and there, meeting with friends, fellow-factionaries, they would return in the night and wreak their vengeance in blood. Thus the whole country was set in a flame. The right rev. prelate then mentioned an instance of a tenant who had been dispossessed of his holding, and who, having collected his friends from the surrounding districts, proceeded to avenge himself in the manner usually practised on these occasions. The spilling of blood was the consequence, and that was followed by prosecutions, convictions, and executions. It might be said, that this evidence was given in 1826, and that it therefore did not apply to the state of things in 1828. To obviate that objection, he had written to the right rev. prelate, to ascertain whether any circumstances had since occurred to induce him to qualify his evidence, and he had received the following reply—"I have read over attentively the evidence which I gave before the emigration committee, and were I called upon again to give testimony on the same subject, I should not feel myself called upon to qualify, or understate, that portion of it relating to the pauperism existing in Ireland, which has not been diminished, however it may have been aggravated, by any thing which has occurred within the last two years." Such was the testimony of a protestant bishop on the subject. He would now refer to the testimony of Dr. Doyle. [Here the hon. member read an extract from the evidence given by Dr. Doyle in 1825, before the committee on the state of Ireland, in which he stated, that the condition of the peasant of that country was little better than that of the American savage. He lay on the floor of his wretched home, motionless, during the day; he would rise, perhaps, to eat a few potatoes, and again lay himself upon the floor, and thus remain throughout the night. In this manner the unfortunate peasant dragged out a miserable existence, which were better terminated in any way than continued in this manner.] He believed that he was now amply justified in calling the attention of the House to the state of Ireland, and that the necessity of taking that subject into consideration would not be denied.—In entering upon this subject, he could not but express his regret, that the House had latterly evinced such an indisposition to consider a state of society, which was pressing upon the community at large, both in England and in Ireland. It seemed to be the prevailing opinion in the House, that this state of things should be left to accident to right itself, instead of having recourse to inquiry, and the application of a remedy. In the total absence of support in that House, it was satisfactory to him to know, that there were those out of doors by whom the subject had been taken up; and authorities, too, who exercised a great influence on public opinion. Upon this particular subject of emigration there was a most extraordinary coincidence of opinion amongst those who differed, perhaps, upon every other subject that related to the general policy of this country. He would read, in the first instance, to the House, an extract from an article upon emigration, which appeared in the "Quarterly Review," and which, he believed, was from the pen of Dr. Southey. The hon. member here read the extract in question, which, after referring to the report of the emigration committee, and the statements respecting the pauperism existing in Ireland, concluded by stating, that, unless something in the way of emigration were applied as a remedy to the evil, the influx of Irish poor into England would reduce the English labourer to the wretched condition of the Irish—a condition lower and more miserable than that in which any human beings existed in any other civilized country on the face of the globe. He would also read an extract from the "Edinburgh Review" upon the subject of Emigration, in which the writer, after eulogizing the Irish subletting-act, stated, that it would be quite ineffective unless the government interfered to prevent the continued supply of a redundant population on the estates of the Irish landlords. In conclusion, the reviewer strongly recommended emigration upon a large and extended scale, as the only means by which the evils to be apprehended from the continued increase of the pauper population of Ireland could be averted.—The hon. member said, he would now advert to the "Westminster Review," which embodied the opinions of a class of persons quite distinct from those represented by the two former publications. The writer stated, that the question was—whether they would allow the influx of Irish labourers into this country, until the condition of the peasantry of both countries had been reduced to the same level, and the well-fed population of England supplanted by the potatoe-fed population of Ireland. The writer, in conclusion, recommended the adoption of a system of emigration. He felt gratified at finding such authorities upon his side. He remembered the tirade of abuse which had been poured forth against the principle of emigration, by a publication of high authority with some of the members of that House—he meant "Blackwood's Magazine." That publication had been often quoted to him to prove, that every man of common sense ridiculed the project of emigration as impracticable. Now he could produce a defence of the emigration plan from a late number of that publication. Here the right hon. gentleman read an extract from an article in that Magazine, in which the existence of a redundant population, particularly in Ireland, was noticed, and the question asked, Why was not emigration from Ireland thought of as a remedy for the evil? "We must say," observed the writer, "that Mr. Wilmot Horton has been shamefully dealt with on this subject by his friends, official and unofficial." The right hon. gentleman produced a table exhibiting the increase of the Irish poor in London since the year 1825. In that year 1,990 poor Irish families received assistance from the Mendicity Society: in 1826 the number amounted to 2,994: and in 1827 it had increased to 4,780. As the evidence given before the Emigration Committee, and the report which that committee had made to parliament, had not been at all acted upon, it appeared to him not at all advisable to bring forward the subject by moving again for the appointment of a committee, which would be attended with great expense; and it was for that reason that he felt it his duty to introduce the subject in this manner before the House, in order to induce it to give its attention to the practical question early in the ensuing session of parliament. He regretted much that he did not see the Secretary for the Home Department in his place. His presence might show that this project was not a mere whim, but that it received encouragement from one who possessed the power of putting it into execution. His right hon. friend had been mainly instrumental in sending out an individual some time since to Nova Scotia, to ascertain what facts could be collected on the subject, and his right hon. friend stated, that the object of the mission was to see how far a practical plan of emigration could be carried into execution by the government. His right hon. friend added, that for himself he was of opinion, that a rational system of emigration would tend to relieve the country, by affording a facility to the unemployed population of the country to better their condition. It was highly satisfactory to him to find such opinions expressed by his right hon. friend. Emigration came recommended as a system of economy. The support of the redundant population at home cost more than their transportation to the colonies would amount to. The expense, in fact, attendant upon their emigration would be less than that incurred in endeavouring to force employment for them in these countries. It appeared to him, that the question was settled between the two measures as far as regarded expense. He felt it his duty to call the attention of the House to the indisposition, manifested on its part during the present session, in respect to emigration as a remedy for the evils of Ireland. He had, indeed, received communications from Ireland, stating that the Catholic Association had put the stamp of their reprobation on the plan of emigration, and that therefore it could not be thought of. There was, in fact, a petition on this subject on the tables of the House. The petition denied that Ireland was over-peopled, and attributed its poverty and wretchedness solely to misgovernment. It stated, that a million of persons might be equally reduced to poverty in such a country by such treatment, but that their misery would not prove that the country was over-peopled; that the exports of Ireland principally consisted of those productions which constituted the prime necessaries of human life, such as corn, butter, bacon, beef, mutton, &c, to the amount of 8,000,000l. annually, and that a country with such exports could not be considered as over-populous. He would not pay such a bad compliment to the writer of that petition as to suppose that he was sincere when he penned such a passage as that, and that he really believed, because the produce of Ireland reached a high value, and was therefore sold in this country, that Ireland was not afflicted with a redundant population. He believed, if the English system of poor laws were established in Ireland, that the whole rental of certain parts of that country would be completely absorbed by it. He wished to hear from those who refused to look at emigration as a remedy for the evil which was acknowledged to exist, what they themselves were prepared to propose. When he heard reductions in the army and navy spoken of as calculated to afford relief to the labouring classes, he was not afraid to assert, that the effect of those measures of retrenchment, by glutting the market with labour, would be to increase rather than to diminish the sufferings of the labouring classes. Some individuals contended that the vacuum caused by emigration would have a tendency to increase the population. That an increase would take place could not be denied; but the increase was likely to be in a greater ratio where the people were in a state of wretchedness, than where they were in a state of comparative comfort and enjoying advantages which operated as a check upon marriage. It had been said by an hon. friend, that the remedy for the unfortunate condition of Ireland was to be found in extending encouragement to her manufactures and agriculture. That he considered to be a perfectly false doctrine. What was the stimulus to be applied? Was it intended to give the manufactures of Ireland an advantage over those of this country? He could put no other construction on the proposition; for how could manufactures in Ireland be encouraged, but by the application of a bonus; and how could that fail to be prejudicial to the manufacturing interests of this country? With respect to the agriculture of Ireland it already had the command of the English market. It was said, that the mode of agriculture in Ireland might be improved; but that could only be done by the substitution of mechanical for manual labour; and that would aggravate the existing evil. In many instances five Irish labourers would not do the work which could be performed by three Englishmen. This was owing to the bad implements used by the farmer. Improve those implements, and a greater amount of produce would be obtained by a less amount of labour; and thus all the evils of a superabundant population would be aggra- vated. It was the unfortunate condition of a deranged state of society, that the sound principles of political economy could not be applied to it without producing injury instead of advantage. An hon. friend of his had said, that he would render a family, consisting of five persons, happy and comfortable in Ireland, at one-fourth of the expense which it would cost to remove them to Canada. He would assert, that the fact was just the other way. If it were true that the employment of capital in Ireland would be productive of so much advantage, how happened it that individuals did not so employ it? The right hon. gentleman then proceeded to advert to the erroneous notions which had, until a late period, prevailed with respect to population; and read an extract from a pamphlet by the late Arthur Young, in which the writer stated, that the labouring classes constituted the real strength of the country, and lamented that parish authorities imposed checks upon their marriages and attempts to procure settlements. Those were the opinions which were current in the country only the other day. The idea then was, that it was impossible to encourage population too much, because a numerous people constituted the wealth of the state. That proposition was, in the abstract, very true; but it was as possible to have too large a population, as it was to have too much blood in the human body, although that blood was the principle of vitality. No person could disapprove more than he did of that irregular kind of emigration, by which large numbers of persons were cast upon the colonies, without the means of employing themselves advantageously. The chief object of the Emigration Committee had been to point out the superior advantage of a regular plan of emigration. With such a plan it would be incomparably more economical to remove the superabundant population, than to improve their condition in Ireland. He would say, that there were five hundred thousand unemployed labourers in Ireland. They could not be supported for less than 4l. per annum, which would amount to 2,000,000l. He would undertake to remove them to Canada at one-fourth part of that expense. But it was said, that the expense of maintaining those labourers fell upon individuals, whilst the expense of their removal would fall upon the public. Persons must look very su- perficially at the subject who did not perceive, that though the expense of maintaining unemployed labourers fell on individuals, it was an injury to the state at large. To satisfy the House of the advantage which would attend emigration on an extensive scale, he requested attention to the evidence given by Mr. Felton before the committee. That gentleman was asked, "Could any inconvenience, in your opinion, arise, or would any uncertainty of success be involved in the case of any number of emigrants planted and located according to the system adopted in the emigration of 1823 and 1825?" Mr. Felton's answer was, "None whatever. I conceive that the facilities of planting emigrants will increase with their numbers, and that in carrying on the operation in future the expenses will be very much diminished. As to the extent of the success, I believe that the more numerous the establishment, the greater chance there is of ultimate success." When he was Under Secretary for the Colonial Department, he had received from a most respectable firm, a proposal to take from the settlers in Canada payments in kind for the money expended by government in their transportation and location, and to pay a fair price for it. He now begged leave to read the following passage from the evidence of Mr. Malthus:—"Have you formed any opinion as to what would be the practical effects of introducing a system of Poor-laws into a country circumstanced like Ireland?—I should think that the rates would very soon absorb the rentals of all the estates." "Do you think that, on the whole, it would have a tendency to alleviate or to increase the misery that now prevails there?—I think on the whole, and finally, it would aggravate it." "Do not you conceive, under the existing feature of comparison between the British islands, that if the population of any district in Great Britain were to be materially reduced by a system of emigration, one effect would be, that the vacuum would be immediately filled up with an increased number of Irish?—I should think so, certainly." "Supposing that by any system of emigration an immediate reduction of the population of Ireland to the extent of half a million could be effected, do you not think that there is, in the existing order of things, in that country, a tendency immediately to fill up that vacuum?—There is always a natural tendency towards the filling up of a va- cuum; but if the landlords in Ireland were making a change in the management of their estates, and were altering the distribution of their land, I think it is possible, that the vacuum might not be filled up; because those miserable hovels that had been deserted might be pulled down and not be replaced."—It had been argued, that the effect of emigration would be, to induce the colonies to throw off their allegiance, in order to prevent the repayment of the money which had been advanced by government. Was not this country every year paying contributions to the colonies, for the support of their military establishments? All that he had ever proposed, then, was, that the repayments made by emigrants should be applied to that purpose. That, he conceived, would obviate the objection to which he had just alluded.—He would conclude with expressing a hope, that the House would see the necessity of appointing a board which would give to individuals desirous of emigrating all necessary information on the subject. He trusted, likewise, that in the interval between this and the next session, government would consider whether anything practical could be resolved upon. He would now move, "That this House will, early in the next session of parliament, take into consideration the expediency of adopting such measures, whether of Emigration upon an extended scale, or otherwise, as may appear to be most calculated to relieve the pauperism of Ireland, and to prevent the injurious effects arising therefrom upon the condition of the labouring classes in this country."

Mr. James Grattan

observed, that the right hon. gentleman was anxious that the Irish landlord should contribute towards the support and improvement of the poor. He fully concurred in this opinion: let the landlord but commence an improvement—let the tenant but follow his example—and the system of emigration now proposed by the right hon. gentleman would be found unnecessary. The question of emigration had been so often discussed in that House, that he did not feel warranted to enter into details upon it. There was hardly a gentleman in Ireland who did not yearly lose a number of persons off his land in this way. This was all well enough; but the right hon. gentleman was anxious to introduce an organized system of emigration—the very thing which he was anxious to avoid. Much might be effected by the Irish land- lords in ameliorating and improving the condition of the people, but he much feared that the plan of the right hon. gentleman could not be realised. It was, he repeated, his conviction, that much in the adjustment of a remedy, depended on the Irish landlords themselves. If they once would be induced to do something to ensure the comforts of their tenantry, some good result might follow; but if expectations were held out, that a plan was maturing to relieve the landowners from the consequences of the rapid growth of population, no hope could be entertained of any projects of improvement being set on foot by the landed gentry themselves. Such a project must operate as a bar to the prosperity and comfort of the lower classes. The plan of emigration on a grand scale would not fail to be adopted, and these persons would determine that lambs, sheep, and cattle were much more desirable tenants, and much more profitable too, than the cottagers who now encumbered their estates. The right hon. gentleman wanted an organized system of emigration. To this he was opposed. Let even the Poor-laws be generally introduced in preference to such an expedient. Could we export that which was so essential to a country, without weakening its energies? If proper means were taken, there would not be a man too many in Ireland. While in that country there were three millions of acres of reclaimable land, it was too much to be told that there was a superabundant population. The true way to benefit Ireland was, to compel the landlords to improve the condition of the tenantry. His wish, therefore, was, not for an organised, but a casual emigration; for he felt convinced, that in no country was a system of organised emigration less desirable than in Ireland.

Mr. Spring Rice

said, that if the subjects of the present motion were, unhappily, by circumstances degraded, it had been acknowledged that that degradation was not a degradation of character, but of condition. They were on all hands allowed to be laborious, moral, and honest. He would never consent to any arrangement, which should limit the free intercourse between the two countries. All attempts to introduce the Poor-laws into Ireland would be found to be futile. To talk of forcing one class of persons to provide for the well-being of another, in a country divided as Ireland was now, was an absolute de- lusion. He thought that a judicious plan of emigration followed up, would, instead of being a bar, prove an incentive to improvement on the part of Irish landowners, who now felt their efforts to improve their estates borne down by the weight of a superabundant population of cottagers upon them. It was said, that it would be unfair to impose a tax on this country to encourage emigration, and benefit the Irish landowners, who would contribute nothing to the project. Now, he was of opinion that tenants and landlords would contribute to this great object. Indeed, he believed they would pay all the expenses, if government would only provide them with facilities. He asked no mortgages of public property, no grants of land in Canada, to carry the project of emigration into execution. He only asked that government would present to parliament next session, such a project for encouraging emigration as would ensure the cordial co-operation of landowners and tenants, and induce them jointly to bear the expense of the project.

Colonel Trench

thought, that emigration might be applied to Ireland in its present state, as blood-letting was to plethoric patients; but not upon any systematic plan, the effect of which would be to tempt the very cream and essence of the population to leave the country. He alluded to the industrious and enterprising class, who possessed small capital. He was far from imputing to the landlords of Ireland a want of feeling; but he would say that they were deeply responsible for the miseries of Ireland. He concurred in opinion with lady Glengall, that they were so accustomed to the sight of wretchedness, that the best-natured among them had ceased to regard it with that disgust which it was naturally calculated to produce. But while he opposed the application of any fund to the encouragement of emigration, he thought that one fourth of the money might be beneficially employed in encouraging industry at home. If he were asked, what, in his opinion, parliament ought to do for Ireland, he would say, let England, instead of looking to Poland and Canada for supplies of corn, encourage agriculture in Ireland, by securing to her a fair price for that commodity. Encouragement would produce industry; industry would produce tranquillity; and that quick intelligent people would soon acquire all the advantages of civi- lization. A systematic plan of emigration would increase; instead of checking the evil of redundancy, and make the nation, in a still stronger degree than before, manufacturers of men for exportation. If small loans were given to encourage small enterprises, the best efforts might be expected to follow.

Mr. Maurice Fitzgerald

said, that his right hon. friend had been hardly dealt with. The hon. member for Wicklow had sneered at him, as if he were the author of a new scheme. But emigration was assuredly no new scheme. It had been going on, in all countries, greatly to their benefit, and especially in Scotland and Ireland. His hon. friends were mistaken in supposing, that it was meant to encourage the emigration of persons of small capital. On the contrary, it was intended to give them every inducement to remain, by carrying off the pauper-population. It appeared, from the reports, that twenty-five thousand persons emigrated annually. These persons were the small capitalists; and it was impossible to put a stop to their emigration, except by supporting another system of emigration out of a distinct fund, which would keep down the pauper-population of those countries. Many Quakers had lately emigrated from the north of Ireland. They were of that valuable class of small and industrious capitalists; who had been actually squeezed out by the surplus portion to which he had alluded. His right hon. friend's proposition was not intended to aggravate that evil, but to remedy it. Nothing could be more unjust than to charge on the landlords of Ireland the state of the pauper-population. If his right hon. friend could shape his proposition into a practical measure, the landlords of Ireland would be most willing to assist in carrying it into effect. It was not intended as a system of compulsory transportation; but as a means of carrying into effect the natural tendency of a redundant population to emigrate. His hon. friends preferred a casual to a systematic emigration; but, did they know the obstacles which opposed a casual emigration? did they know the laws which had been passed in the United States to prevent it? He thought that government would do well to take up the subject of emigration, and come forward early in the next session with a plan to that effect.

Mr. Warburton

said, that in the premises on which this question rested, there was not any difference between the right hon. gentleman and himself. They both of them agreed, that there was great distress among the pauper-population of England and Ireland; that the situation of the emigrants would be much improved, if an advance of capital were to be made to them; and that the colonies would be improved by directing the tide of emigration to their shores. The sole question between them related to the amount of prosperity which such a system of emigration would confer upon the mother country. Now, he was of opinion, from the data offered to the House, that if the right hon. gentleman were allowed to expend a million and a half in emigration, he would find that the annual increase of the population would far exceed the annual diminution of it by emigration; and consequently that he was expending that million and a half of money for no earthly benefit whatever. He thought it unfair that the country to which the tide of emigration was to be directed, should be a country which did not yield any commodity of value to this country. If the emigrants had been removed to a country which produced indigo, saffron, rice, or any commodity which was generally in use in the united kingdom, a regular system of emigration might, in a few years, lead to a traffic between the mother country and the new colony of a very beneficial nature. But the plan was, to send the emigrants to a country which, with the exception of peltry and bad timber, produced no article of which this country stood in need. If emigration were to be formed into a system, he hoped it would be conducted upon the principles laid down by the hon. member for Limerick.

Mr. Slaney

said, that if the right hon. gentleman succeeded in carrying his scheme of emigration into effect, the first result of it would be to elevate the remaining pauper-population of Ireland in the scale of comfort; the next would he to check the increasing population of that country, by doing away with that recklessness which led to so many early and improvident marriages. Another benefit of such a scheme would be, that it would tend collaterally to improve the condition of the poor in England. At present, the state of the English poor was rendered much worse than it otherwise would be, by the great influx of paupers from Ireland, who undersold the English labourers in every article of labour. Formerly, the Welsh descended from the mountains of Montgomeryshire and Merionethshire to reap the harvests of Shropshire. Now, they were driven out of the fields of Shropshire by the immense crowds of Irishmen, who annually came over and reaped the harvest at a much lower rate than the Welsh could afford to do. Again; there were a quantity of young women who came every year from Shropshire up to London to gather strawberries, and to carry them to the different markets. This year several of these young women had written down to their friends, stating, that it would be unnecessary for them to come up to London, as their market was taken away from them by the number of Irish who worked at much lower wages than they had ever received. In conclusion, it was his conviction, that the labourer would derive benefit from the execution of the plan proposed by the right hon. gentleman.

Mr. Secretary Peel

said, that no one could be less disposed than he was, to under-rate the importance of this subject, or the ability with which his right hon. friend had introduced it to the House, or the zeal with which he had persevered in it, under all the discouragements which had been thrown in his way. At the same time, he thought that his right hon. friend had submitted his present proposition to the House, more with a view of producing a discussion, than of taking the sense of the House upon it; because, independently of the substantial objections which existed against his right hon. friend's resolution, there were objections in point of parliamentary form, which he considered to be unanswerable. There might be circumstances, in which, with a view to allay prejudice or to remove irritation, it might be desirable for the House to pledge itself to the course which it would pursue in the next session; but such a proceeding could only by justified under particular circumstances of necessity, and therefore ought to be resorted to with caution and forbearance. His right hon. friend proposed, that the House should pledge itself to take into consideration, early next session, the propriety of adopting certain measures of emigration. Now, he should have objected to such a proposition had the measures to be adopted been definitely described; still more must he object to it, when those measures were vaguely and indefinitely mentioned. Let distinct measures be proposed to parliament, let inquiries be made into their details, and then the House would see what it ought to do; but how it could lead to any advantageous result for the House to pronounce a pledge, that it would do something in the next session, without stating what, he could not possibly imagine. He therefore trusted that his right hon. friend would not call upon them to give an opinion unfavourable to his resolution, either by voting against it, or by voting in favour of the previous question. The case really was not justified by that strong and urgent necessity, which alone ought to induce the House to enter into a pledge as to its future conduct.—Having said this much, he would now candidly confess, that to emigration he attached considerable importance, in one point of view. He was not so sanguine as his right hon. friend as to the immediate benefits which it would produce. When his right hon. friend told him, that by an advance of 1,140,000l. an advance which would entail on the country a permanent charge of 57,000l. a year—only nineteen thousand families could be removed, he was obliged to confess that, in his opinion, the removal of nineteen thousand families from the three branches of the United Kingdom, would not produce any sensible relief to the country from its present pressure of pauperism and distress. Still he was of opinion, that emigration, if it were conducted without too great an outlay of the public funds, would be productive of great ultimate benefit, to the lower classes. It was his opinion, that to the colonies themselves a system of emigration would be of immediate advantage. An hon. member had told the House, that the colony to which the tide of emigration was flowing was a colony that produced nothing but a few skins and some wretched corn. Now, to that observation he would reply, that in its immediate neighbourhood a vast empire, which owed its origin to this country, had risen, within the memory of man, to great and singular prosperity; and that if he could introduce a flourishing population into Canada, there was nothing in its situation or climate to prevent its attaining, in course of time, equal power and equal prosperity. He should think, that if he could introduce into that colony a strong and vigorous population, speaking the English language, actuated by English feelings and habits, and creating a demand for English manufactures, he should have conferred a benefit upon the colony itself, and also upon the mother country. He was not insensible to the advantages which we derived from colonial strength and colonial importance; and he would not believe that the only return which Canada could make to us for the population which we bestowed upon her, would be the importation of a few bad skins and a little worse corn. He could not, however, consent to the policy of laying out large sums of public money to encourage emigration. It was always easy to talk of making large advances out of the public funds; but gentlemen ought not to forget, that in making those large advances from the public, they were abstracting a large portion of productive capital from the hands of private individuals. The question, therefore, was simply this—whether it was better to let the productive capital remain where it now was, or to transfer it for contingent advantages to another quarter? He had no objection to giving every reasonable facility to emigration; but such facility should be of a local nature. He could see no check whatever to the expectations which would be excited, supposing the government were to say that it had 5,000,000l. at its disposal to promote emigration. If such an annunciation were to produce an impression among the landlords, that they must eject their tenants from their farms to obtain relief from the proposed system of emigration, he knew that the landlords would find themselves disappointed in their ideas; but he did not know what intermediate evil might arise before they found out their disappointment.—It was a great mistake to suppose, that the project of his right hon. friend was a project of forced emigration. His right hon. friend did not seek to compel any man to quit his country against his will: he only wished to give him facilities, if he were voluntarily inclined to try his fortune in another country. Now, if the landlord who wished to lay the foundation of the future improvement of his estate, and if the tenant who had a claim on his landlord for assistance, and who wished to try his fortune elsewhere, would assist each other in pursuing a system of emigration, something effectual might be done for the country by encouraging emigration, If any mag- nificent scheme of emigration were proposed, they ought to apply themselves, in the first instance, to trying it on a small scale as an experiment. He saw many difficulties in the practical consideration of this question. In what mode, for instance, the Irish pauper was to be selected for emigration; how far it was fair to call upon the people of England, who had to pay their own poor-rates, to defray the expenditure for relieving the Irish landlords from theirs; and likewise; how it was possible to provide that check upon the desire for emigration which must always operate, while pecuniary encouragement was held out, and which was necessarily calculated to unsettle the improvement of things at home, and keep the population wildly absorbed in the contemplation of constant change. He admitted that England was in this respect differently situated from Ireland, from her system of poor's-rates being so arranged, as to afford facilities for the repayment of the necessary advances. Still, though he was not disinclined to the principle, he must see his way previously through all the complicated details upon which must mainly depend the success of such an undertaking. Against affording new facilities for mortgaging the poor-rates, there must naturally arise a variety of objections. The best limit, at present, to their undue extension was, that the pressure of the screw was immediately felt; but if they once allowed the present generation to cast the burthen upon their successors, they would introduce a sort of funded system into the poor-rates, the evils of which it would be difficult to avert. How, too, were the landlords to be protected against the votes of the tenants at vestries, who had the immediate power of imposing this mortgage, and who had likewise all the inducements to throw the burthen from their shoulders in futuro upon the land? A fixed plan of emigration assumed, that the pauper's necessities required a permanent change, which was not the fact; for his condition was dependent upon the fluctuation of labour. He did not decide against the principle of the proposed measure; he only desired caution and deliberation in the consideration of the details, before any final arrangement was held out to the country. They ought to bear in mind, that the committee of the year before last recommended, by a special report, an advance of 50,000l. for the emigration of the poor of Scotland; yet a change speedily took place in the demand for labour, and this report was never acted upon, there being no claimants for the benefit of it tit the time when it might have been brought into action. He hoped to see a similar improvement produce the same results elsewhere. He had not adverted to the natural and just facilities which the government might give to volunteer emigrants; he meant of that class whose own means were sufficient to hold out a prospect of their forming a nucleus for a labouring population in the colonies. And here he thought it would be highly advantageous for his valuable friend colonel Cockburn to prosecute his inquiries in North America for the Colonial-office; so that persons desirous of embarking adequate capital, should have some place to which they could resort for bona fide information respecting the qualities and general condition of the land where they might wish to settle. And upon this point any expense of a moderate nature to which the country might be put, would be ultimately compensated out of the sale of reserved lands. In looking at this subject of emigration, he did not contemplate the acquisition of any immediate relief to the community; but he thought, if prudently regulated, it might be rendered subservient to the attainment of eventual benefit. He held in as great scorn as his right hon. friend, those ignorant efforts that had been made to raise an outcry against his plans by persons who had not taken the trouble to read the report, or the evidence on which it was founded. He hoped his right hon. friend would not press his motion to a division.

r. Wilmot Horton

shortly replied, and consented to withdraw his motion.

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