HC Deb 05 July 1836 vol 34 cc1268-9
Mr. Walter

said, that he should avail himself of the opportunity which was afforded him by the conversation that had occurred with reference to Van Dieman's Land, to bring under the notice of the House a subject which appeared to him to be of consider able importance. Perceiving very recently a large placard, of which he held a copy in his hand, exhibited in the window of a country post-office, he inquired how it came there, and was shown a letter from the Secretary of the Post-office in London, directing the postmaster to place one of the accompanying notices relating to female emigration in a conspicuous part of the window, to keep it so exhibited till the vessel alluded to should sail, and to distribute copies of the placard among the clergy and parish officers. The placard invited single women and widows of good character, between fifteen and thirty years of age, to quit their homes by a ship which was to sail in the month of September, for Van Dieman's Land, under an assurance, which he thought was of no very moral or delicate character, that young women were much wanted in the colony [a laugh], inasmuch as the number of such compared with the whole population was greatly deficient, and where consequently all who conducted themselves with discretion and industry might calculate in time to benefit their condition very importantly, A large proportion of those who were already gone out were stated to have married respectable settlers.

The Speaker

interrupted the hon. Gentleman by stating, that it was quite competent for hon. Members to put a question, but not to follow it up by reasons and explanations. Such a course, on account of interfering with the business of the House, must necessarily be looked upon as irregular.

Mr. Walter

said, that he merely wished to take that opportunity of stating some facts which had been communicated to him. If he could only then be permitted to put a question, he would ask the hon. Under-Secretary for the Colonies, whether the document had been circulated with his authority? Perhaps he ought to ex plain his reasons for putting the question.

Sir George Grey

replied, that had the hon. Member given him notice he could perhaps have made a more direct answer. He believed that the letter and placard had no official character, but that they emanated from some very benevolent gentleman, who wished to send out females to the colony, and who had devoted much valuable time to the subject, although not a few were engaged in active professions. Certainly they did not deserve that any ridicule should be cast upon their endeavours. If the hon. Member for Berks wished for farther information, he might probably obtain it from the hon. Member for Chichester, who was one of the most energetic promoters of the undertaking.

Subject dropped.