HC Deb 01 June 1847 vol 92 cc1369-450

then rose to bring forward the following Motion:— That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that She will take into Her most gracious consideration the means by which Colonisation may be made subsidiary to other measures for the improvement of the social condition of Ireland; and by which, consistently with full regard to the interests of the Colonies themselves, the comfort and prosperity of those who emigrate may be effectually promoted. He said: When I consider the importance of the subject which I have undertaken to bring before the House this day—when I reflect upon the extent of the subject, whether in reference to the magnitude of the interests involved, or the difficulty of its details—not less when I bear in mind the many occasions on which it has been ably and eloquently discussed, not only by some who are now no longer Members of this House, but by some who are present to listen to the observations with which I must preface my Motion; I do feel that I stand greatly in need of the indulgence of the House, and that it is necessary for me at once to put forward an appeal, that no deficiency on my part may be allowed to interfere with the Motion itself, but that it may obtain, as I think it deserves, the deliberate attention of this House and of the Government. I trust, however, that I shall not be obliged to trespass upon the attention of the House at any very considerable length; for, wide as is the circle within which this subject is contained, and comprehensive and intricate as are its details both in its domestic and colonial bearings, still, for the specific purpose for which I now bring the subject of colonisation before the House, I feel that it is only requisite for me to make a statement of some few simple facts, and put forward some few plain principles, in order to induce the House to urge upon the Government — and, I hope, to induce the Government to concede—the Motion with which I shall conclude. And here, before I enter upon the subject, I hope I may be allowed to assure hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House, that I placed the notice of my Motion on the books with no reference or intention of any bearing whatever upon party feelings or party interests. I shall endeavour, moreover, in dealing with this subject, so to advocate my Motion as to place no obstacle whatever in the way of hon. Gentlemen on either side of the House giving it their support. I shall endeavour to say nothing in the course of the observations which I shall address to them which shall prevent that unanimity in the adoption of my Motion, which, in the absence at present of any intimation of an opposite in- tention on the part of the Government, I yet hope and expect to see accorded to it. A reference to the terms of the Motion with which I shall have the honour to conclude will prove, I think, to the House, that it is not my intention—and in case of any misunderstanding on the subject I take the earliest opportunity of assuring the House that it is no part of my purpose —to bring forward any new plan of colonisation for the relief of Ireland; neither is it my intention to advocate upon this occasion the merits of any particular plan out of the many which in the course of the last twenty-five years, up to the present moment, have been propounded to this House and the public; but my simple object is to endeavour to obtain from Government an inquiry, by means of an unpaid Commission of able and competent men whose services the Government may feel themselves at liberty to command, into the means by which colonisation may be carried out with reference to the immediate relief of Ireland, and as bearing on its present condition—an inquiry which, in my opinion, must be made to embrace three points — whether colonisation can be rendered applicable to the relief and benefit of those who shall remain in Ireland; whether it can be made conducive to the increased happiness of those who may leave the country; and, thirdly—and this is not the least important point—whether it can be carried out consistently with the interests and feelings of the colonies themselves. I do not know whether it is necessary to assure the House that I refer to colonisation as distinguished from emigration; for if the three objects to which I have alluded cannot be obtained—if the result of the inquiry should be to prove that any one of these three objects cannot be accomplished, I, for one, shall not in future advocate any measure of this kind; for I certainly would hot place myself under the imputation of bringing forward any measure which shall be justly characterized as "shovelling out paupers"—a term which should be most applicable in that case—a term which was introduced, if I remember rightly, by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Judge Advocate; but by whomsoever introduced, is, I believe, an apt illustration of emigration as carried out without system and without proper management. So cruel do I consider the operation of such a system, that, bad as is the condition of the people of Ireland at this moment, under the calamity which it has pleased Provi- dence to inflict on them, yet sooner than carry out any system which could be justly characterized as "shovelling out paupers," for the benefit of those that remain in the country, I would think it far more humane and justifiable—horrible as the alternative is—if indeed it were the only alternative— to leave them in their present condition to starve and perish. Now, in asking for a bonâ fide inquiry, with a view to action at the earliest period in the ensuing Session of Parliament, and abstaining, as I have said I am about to do, from prejudicing the inquiry by propounding any project of my own, or advocating any of the specific plans of others which have been more or less before the public, either now or at a previous period, I think I ought also to state that I am about to advocate colonisation for the relief of the condition of Ireland, not as a panacea for the evils of that country, but as a measure auxiliary to others of a different nature having more immediate reference to the social amelioration of the people; as a measure in aid and assistance of the Poor Law, which is, I imagine, about to receive the sanction of the three branches of the Legislature, as a necessary adjunct to that measure, and without which, I firmly believe, that it will fail to have the beneficial effect which it is intended to produce—I had almost said, that without this adjunct it may even aggravate the evils it is intended to cure. I look upon a measure of colonisation, if I may so say, as a remedy in some sense similar to that of bleeding in the human frame, as a process of depletion which is undertaken not so much in reference to the immediate result which it is calculated to produce of itself, as with a view of rendering possible the application of other remedies, which without it would be either noxious or at best ineffectual. I think I shall best consult the convenience of the House, if, he-fore entering upon the other points connected with colonisation, I first deal with what may be called the Irish portion of the case. In doing so, I would wish to consider for a moment what ought to be the great and statesmanlike objects of a Poor Law; secondly, whether the Poor Law, unaided, is able to accomplish those objects; thirdly, if it is unable, unaided, to accomplish them, what measures Her Majesty's Government, or any other parties, propose to aid it; and fourthly, how far colonisation is entitled to take a prominent position amongst measures proposed for such a purpose. Independently of the ob- ject of relieving the distress caused by the failure of the potato crop, as a staple article of food in Ireland, I imagine that the Poor Law is intended not merely for the relief of the permanent destitution which always exists in that country, but, as I think the noble Lord at the head of the Government himself stated in a very able speech on the subject of the Poor Law at the commencement of the Session—I am not sure of his words, but I remember the meaning of his speech—to give a stimulus to the increased employment of labour, and the improved cultivation of the soil, and apply an incitement to the skill of the fanner, and the industry of the labourer. I do not know whether he added—but it is a necessary consequence—that you would thus give an increased security to life and property, without which I am satisfied you cannot have that great requisite of Ireland —capital. You may stimulate it artificially as much as you will by Treasury loans and grants and other means; but without the security of life and property, capital will never flow into that country. Without security to life and property—that first and greatest element of the social amelioration of the country—Ireland must still proceed in the miserable vicious circle of pauperism and crime. Now, I think that neither Government nor any Member of this House is prepared to say, that although these are the legitimate objects of any measure of that kind, it is possible that the Poor Law unaided can accomplish them. And first, I think that, bearing in mind that we are not legislating for what I hope may, to a certain extent, be considered a temporary calamity—we may with advantage inquire what is the permanent condition of that country. I hope the House will excuse me if I read two or three sentences from an able document, which may be familiar to many Members in consequence of previous discussions—I mean the report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Poorer Classes of Ireland, which report was laid before this House in 1836:— There is not in Ireland the division of labour that exists in Great Britain; the body of the labouring class look to agricultural employment, and to it only, for support; the supply of agricultural labour is thus so considerable as greatly to exceed the demand for it; hence come small earnings and wide-spread misery. It appears that in Great Britain the agricultural families constitute little more than a fourth, while in Ireland they constitute about two-thirds of the whole population; that there were in Great Britain in 1831, 1,055,982 agricultural labourers, in Ireland 1,131,715, although the cultivated land of Great Britain amounts to about 34,250,000 acres, and that of Ireland only to about 14,600,000. A great portion of them are insufficiently provided at any time with the commonest necessaries of life. Their habitations are wretched hovels; several of a family sleep together upon straw, or upon the bare ground, sometimes with a blanket, sometimes even without so much to cover them; their food commonly consists of dry potatoes, and with these they are at times so scantily supplied as to be obliged to stint themselves to one spare meal in the day. There are even instances of persons being driven by hunger to seek sustenance in wild herbs. They sometimes get a herring, or a little milk, but they never get, meat, except at Christmas, Easter and Shrovetide. I will pass over several other passages equally important, being unwilling to trespass on the House at too great length, but I will just read two further extracts from this report:— The difficulty too in Ireland is not to make the able-bodied look for employment, but to find it profitably for the many who seek it. There are, as we have shown, in Ireland, a greater number of labourers absolutely than in the whole of Great Britain, more than double the number relatively to cultivated land, and more than four times the number relatively to the produce." "Now, according to the third table annexed, we cannot estimate the number of persons in Ireland out of work and in distress, during thirty weeks of the year, at less than 585,000, nor the number of persons dependent upon them at less than 1,800,000, making in the whole 2,385,000. Now, as this report was made in 1836, and as eleven years have passed over our heads since then, I am sure that I shall not exaggerate when I say that we may fairly calculate the numbers now at 2,500,000. Assuming, then, that the numbers have now increased to 2,500,000; and calculating, as the Commissioners do, upon only thirty weeks of distress to be relieved by means of a Poor Law—and I fear that, under the circumstances of the country, so altered as they are since that report was made, I might take an increased ratio without danger of exaggeration—and supposing that their maintenance costs 1s. 6d. per week each person (and it is surely impossible to place it lower)—that would give 187,500l. per week; or, for thirty weeks' distress, 5,625,000l. Now, the net annual value of the property rated to the relief of the poor in Ireland, is 13,404,403l. But in addition to the rate for the relief of the poor, we must, with a view to ascertain what the burdens upon the land will be after the passing of the Poor Law, take into account the average of the county-cess, which amounts to 1,158,327l., making, with the addition of the rate for the poor, the total average charge on the property of Ireland no less than 6,783,327l., being more than a half of the net annual value of the property rated for the poor—for it leaves only a residue of 6,621,076l. Now, it is hardly necessary to point out to the House, that if I have not over-estimated this tax—and certainly I cannot think that the calculation which the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department made in the course of a preceding debate, that the expense would not exceed 2,000,000l. a year, is in any way justified, because he did not take into account the altered circumstances of the country, the potato being now no longer a staple article of food—if I say, I have not over-estimated this tax, it is clear that under the operation of the Poor Law the means of employment will be very much diminished—that consequently the amount of destitution will be so greatly increased that the produce of the land will soon be entirely consumed, and we must go on from bad to worse unless some additional measures be brought in aid of the Poor Law. I have, perhaps, ineffectively expressed my meaning to the House; but I may be allowed to quote the opinion of far more able men with reference to the enactment of a Poor Law:— The rental of the country at present goes to feed commerce, to give employment directly or indirectly to profitable labourers, and to keep society in a healthy state. If any considerable portion of it were devoted to the support of unprofitable labourers, it would be in a great degree consumed without being reproduced, commerce must decay, and the demand for agricultural produce and all commodities (save potatoes and coarse clothing) must immediately contract; rents must, therefore, diminish, while the number of persons out of employment and in need of support must increase, and general ruin be the result. But there is another cause which will materially tend to the same result. I find from a poor-law return which was made in 1843 respecting the valuations of the unions in Ireland, that the number of persons rated for the relief of the poor was 1,139,692l.; that the number rated under 1l. was 180,946: above 1l. and under 2l., 164,357; above 2l. and under 3l., 117,812; above 3l. and under 4l., 90,824; total under 4l., 553,939, nearly one half the number rated being under 4l. Now, I think that this will have the effect I anticipate, from two causes. In the first place, the landlords, from the increased burdens imposed upon them by the poor rates, will be more anxious than ever to consolidate their farms, so as to bring them into the hands of tenants rated at above 4l., at and below which the landlords themselves are responsible for the rates. In the second place, the clause of the Poor Relief Bill which compels persons to give up the land in the event of their coming upon the parish for relief, will have a tendency to induce people to abandon their land, and claim relief somewhat hastily in many instances. From both these circumstances, the one acting upon the other, the effect will he that an increase in the number of paupers will be engendered. I know that it may not be fair to quote the extent of relief which has been given under the Labour-rate Act, or the amount of expenditure which has taken place, and must yet take place, under what is known as the Soup Kitchens Act. But, at the same time, I have heard from parties resident in Ireland, even so lately as this morning, that their estimates of this last Act were underrated; and that, as it comes gradually into operation, there will be a far greater amount of pauperism to be relieved than was anticipated. But upon this part of the subject I have a right to quote from a return of the valuation and population of Ireland moved for by the hon. Member for Wycombe (Mr. Osborne). I find that in the union of Westport the poor-law valuation in 1841 was 38,876l., and the population 77,952. I find that in the union of Glenties the poor-law valuation was 16,330l., and the population 43,571; being, in the case of Westport, a valuation of not quite 10s. per head of the population, and in the case of Glenties 7s. 6d. per head. It ought to be remembered that these valuations were made under the system of potato culture, and that alarming as is the case presented by these figures, the present value must actually have been considerably reduced, owing to the altered state of cultivation. In England we are apt to consider the rent as constituting one-third of the produce of the land—one-third going to the landlord as rent—another third for the labour and maintenance of the farm—and the other third for the profits of the fanner. Now, taking this calculation to be a fair one, I find that it gives only 30s. per head per annum in one case, and even less in the other. All I am anxious to show to the House is—that it is impossible in these unions, do what you please, confiscate the land if you will, to maintain the population out of the poor rates, and that, either by means of further advances from this country in future years, or by some such means as I how advocate, some measure must be found auxiliary to the Poor Law. I will not trouble the House with any more facts and figures on this point, because I cannot help thinking that I have sufficiently proved to the House that the Poor Law unaided cannot give that stimulus to the employment of labour which all desire, but that the reverse must he the result. The Poor Law, if passed forty or fifty years ago, might by this time have effected its true objects; but, if passed now, it is likely to perpetuate the evils which already exist, unless, in aid of it, measures for the social and industrial reform of the country shall be speedily, if not immediately, introduced. I now come to the second point—the consideration of the measures which Government has produced in aid of the Irish Poor Law. In the first place, there is the loan of a million and a half to the landlords to enable them to improve their estates—I am, of course, speaking of the measures originally proposed; the second measure was the advance of a million for the reclamation of waste lands; the third was a Bill to facilitate the sale of estates; the fourth was an advance of 50,000l. for piers and harbours; and the fifth was the advance of 620,000l. for three railways. Of these measures the second, namely, the proposed advance of a million for the reclamation of waste lands, has been already given up by the Government; and it is unnecessary for me to say a single word respecting it, except that I, for one, think the Government acted wisely in abandoning it. With respect to the Bill for facilitating the sale of encumbered estates, I conceive it to be a wise and beneficial measure; but at the same time it appears to me that as bearing upon this question—as a measure in aid of the Poor Law—it is not likely to have any immediate effect, and I will state the reason why I think so. I apprehend that during the anxiety which now prevails with respect to the new tax about to be imposed upon the land in Ireland, it is not likely that a great many persons will be willing immediately to invest money in that description of property in that country, though I hope that when this cause ceases to operate, the future effect of the measure will be large and beneficial. But, on the other hand, if a larger quantity of land should be thrown upon the market than I anticipate would be the case at present, the consequence must be that the price would be greatly reduced for a time, which would render the effect of the law non-immediate. I think, therefore, that we ought to put that measure out of consideration for the present; and thus there remain to be considered only the three money grants proposed by the Government; and to these I wish shortly to draw the attention of the House, with the view of ascertaining how they can aid, and to what extent mitigate, the new tax about to be imposed upon the land. With respect to the 1,500,000l. to be advanced to the Irishland-lords, I fear that in the present distressed state of many of the smaller landowners in that country, a large proportion of the sum will he absorbed by those proprietors who least require such assistance. I fear that those who have English estates, money in the funds, or other resources, are the parties who are most likely to borrow the money, and that the small proprietors of the south and west of Ireland, already suffering severe distress, and seeing little likelihood of obtaining an increase of rent from their land, in consideration of the money which it would be necessary to invest in improvements, will borrow but little. Without dwelling upon this point, however, I assume that a million of the whole sum will be spent in the first year; and, recollecting the calculation made with respect to a similar measure applicable to England and Scotland, which was passed in the early part of the Session, that is giving a large proportion indeed, and one greatly beyond what I expect to see realized. I wish to see to what extent the expenditure of that sum would relieve pauperism. The wages of a labourer at 7s. per week, would amount to 18l. 4s. per year; and, at that rate, the million would support not quite 55,000 persons. With respect to the Piers and Harbours Bill, I think I might fairly assume that a very small portion of the labour called into action under the operation of that measure, would be of the class called unskilled; but as I am anxious to state the case as unfavourably for my own views as possible, I put that circumstance altogether out of consideration. I assume, then, that the Piers and Harbours Bill will give employment to 2,750 labourers. It is difficult to calculate what amount of labour the 620,000l. advanced to three railway companies will command; but, taking the highest calculation made in previous debates, I will put it down at 40,000. Thus it appears that the total number of persons who can obtain employment by means of the three money grants of the Govern- ment, amounts to 97,750. To simplify the matter, I shall assume that the num-her of labourers to be employed will be 100,000; and add to them their families, allowing five persons to each family, there will be 500,000 persons to be deducted from the number I have already stated as likely to be a burden on the poor rates of the country, and there will then be left 2,000,000 of destitute persons for thirty weeks in the year. I have gone through all the measures which the Government has proposed in aid, as I term it, of the Poor Law; and I will not allude to any measures proposed by other parties which have not received the sanction of the House and are now before Parliament. I shall not, for this reason, refer to the proposition submitted to the House by the noble Lord the Member for Lynn, nor to the scheme which has been so ably, but, as I think, so erroneously, propounded by one of the leading newspapers of this town, for establishing a peasant proprietary over the waste lands of Ireland; but will confine myself only to those measures which have either passed or are likely to pass through Parliament during the present Session. I am aware how tedious the details with which I have to deal must appear to the House, and how incapable I am of imparting to them an interest which their nature will scarcely admit of; but, unless the data which I have assumed be disputed, I think the House must perceive that I have established the fact that the Poor Law is, in itself, inadequate to the object for which it is intended, and that no efficient aid will he given by the subsidiary measures already proposed by the Government. I now come to the fourth branch of my subject, namely, the consideration of the question how far colonisation may be looked to as one, and that the prominent, means of effecting that improved condition of Ireland which it is the object of the Poor Law to accomplish. The noble Lord at the head of the Government and other hon. Members have more than once expressed an opinion that after the passing of the New Poor Law, the cultivation of land in Ireland will improve. I do not mean to say that the noble Lord stated that the Poor Law in itself would be the means of that improvement; but that, taking into consideration the stimulus which the law would give to employment, and the measures which he anticipated would flow from it, the cultivation of the land might naturally be expected to improve. I apprehend that this anticipated improvement cannot take place as long as there exists in Ireland that minute subdivision of property which at present prevails in many parts, I believe I may say in most parts, of that country. I have already shown that more than half the persons rated to the relief of the poor in Ireland pay rents under 4l. a year; but I think I can quote some figures which will still more strongly illustrate this point. The Census Commission of 1841 gives these details respecting Ireland:—

The population 8,174,266
Acres of surface of Ireland 20,808,271
Of these—arable 13,464,300
—waste 6,290,000
Remainder, towns, plantations, and under water. Number of persons holding land 935,448
Of these, persons holding from 1 to 50 acres 834,574
From 1 to 10 acres 505,173
From 1 to 5 acres 317,264
Not more than 1 acre 135,314
That is the general state of Ireland; and although I am unwilling to refer to particular cases, I would wish, if I am not wearying the House, to be permitted to allude to one. The case I mean is referred to in the correspondence on Irish distress, Board of Works series, and contains an analysis of the recognised tenants on the Marquess of Bath's estate in the barony of Farney, in the county of Monaghan. The analysis is as follows: —
Number of Tenants. Number of Tenants.
Rent not exceeding £1 195 Rent not exceeding £20 80
2 223 24 52
3 240 28 22
4 290 40 42
6 443 50 14
8 344 60 4
10 218 70 1
12 136 80 14
16 170
Total 2,488
About 1,000 more persons were found upon the estate who were not recognised as tenants, and who either subsisted on some still more minute subdivision of property than that officially recorded, or else were established there by the agency of that dreadful system called the conacre system. The House will observe, that of the 2,488 recognised tenants, 948, or greatly more than a third, pay from 1l. to 4l. rent; and 1,954, or four-fifths of the whole number, pay less than 10l.; whilst only fourteen pay 50l. I ask the House whether it is possible that, under such a system, any improvement in the cultivation of the soil can take place? Is it possible that the rotation of crops, which everybody knows is essential to good husbandry, can be observed? Is it possible that improvement in stock can be effected? Can we possibly expect that skill and capital will be directed to the cultivation of the soil so long as land shall continue to be held by a tenure such as this? In the course of last autumn, in visiting many parts of Ireland, I availed myself of the opportunity of inspecting an estate belonging to the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs. I assure the House I would not allude to the owner of the estate by name if I were not prepared, by ocular proof, to testify that the estate is managed with the greatest liberality and generosity. If, indeed, there be any error in the management of this estate, it is that too large an amount of money is invested in buildings and other works. The adjoining estate, belonging to Sir Robert Gore Booth—a landlord, who has recently been mentioned in this House in terms of deserved commendation—is also excellently managed. These two estates comprise 16,000 acres, the population is 8,750, and the yearly value 5,235l. Will the House believe, that in such a district, with a surface of 16,000 acres, a population of nearly 9,000, and a yearly value of 5,235l., the number of acres under corn cultivation was only 432? Whilst such a system as this continues, even if it were possible or just to other parts of the United Kingdom to continue grants and loans from the Treasury, would it be rational to hope for any improvement in the state of Ireland, or to expect that any influx of capital could effect the desired object? It has pleased Providence to cause a transition in the food of the Irish people from a low to a higher class; and I apprehend that the necessary consequence must be, if the country is to maintain its population—a transition in husbandly also from a lower to a higher condition. Without that, and without the consolidation of the land, no combination of labour, such as exist8 in England and Scotland, can be hoped for. But the introduction of improved husbandry must necessarily for a time diminish the amount of labour employed in the cultivation of the soil. This is illustrated in the statement which I quoted from the report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Condition of the Irish Poor, in which it is stated that the proportion of labourers employed in Ireland and England was as five to two, although the quantity of land cultivated was less in the former than the latter. I am not unaware of the difficulties as regards the social condition of Ireland, which present themselves to any change of this kind, and I am not unmindful of all the evils attendant upon the clearance system on estates; but the attempt to consolidate farms in Ireland would now meet with less opposition than it would have experienced at any former period, in consequence of the tenacity with which the people have heretofore clung to the possession of land being relaxed. The feeling which has hitherto existed in Ireland with respect to the possession of land, would have rendered it not only impolitic but unjust in the State to interfere in the manner I desire. During my short connection with Ireland, I had opportunities of ascertaining how strong that feeling was; and I will say that I have always, both in public and in private, condemned as unequivocally as any man what is called the clearance system. But a different state of things now exists in Ireland; and, so far from there being an indisposition to abandon small holdings, I believe that in many parts of Ireland landlords find it difficult to induce small tenants to remain on their holdings. I was informed within these few days by an Irish landlord, that he, having afforded to nearly 1,000 persons on his estate the means of leaving their native shores for Canada, upwards of 2,000 persons more pressed him to confer the same been upon them, and he was only prevented from doing so by the enormous expense which he had already incurred, and which disabled him from assisting the others, at least for the present. I denounce as strongly as any man can anything like compulsory emigration; but in the present state of Ireland, I believe that if facilities were afforded for voluntary emigration, it would proceed until the natural limit would be reached in the equalisation of capital and labour in the country. The opinion of Sir R. Kane is frequently quoted to show that Ireland is capable of maintaining a population more than double the amount of that which now exists there. I do not wish to disute the capacity of that fruitful country; I believe that if measures were taken in the first instance to produce a state of things in which the existing population could find subsistence, and then to improve the social condition of the country, eventually by opening mines, by a superior cultivation of the soil, and by the establishment of manufactures and fisheries, the investment of capital necessary to carry out these undertakings would afford such abundant means of employment and subsistence that even the enormous number of persons referred to in Sir R. Kane's calculation might be maintained in Ireland. All I say is that, under existing circumstances, and at the present moment, the population of Ireland is redundant, and that it must be temporarily reduced in order to allow of an object being effected, without which the condition of the country could not be permanently improved. And such a dense population as either that contemplated by Sir Robert Kane, or as that now existing, could not be maintained. I am aware that, on former occasions, when colonisation has been advocated, it has been said, that if you produce a void in a population it would be speedily filled up again. That, I believe, would be the case, if the State should remain contented with sending some persons out of the country, and take no further steps to ameliorate the condition of those who remained; but I have already stated that the object with which I propose colonisation is not final in itself, but in order to introduce measures to give employment to the people, and prevent the recurrence of the same state of things which we now deplore. Again, it has been said, that in adopting a system of colonisation, we should send from the land the sinew and bone, the vigour and the strength of the country, and that those whose condition renders them a burden on the State would be left behind. All I can say is, that I, for one, would not wish the case to be otherwise. It is not my wish to see the landlords of Ireland relieved from the burden of supporting those whose strength has been exhausted in their service. I conceive such persons to be the legitimate recipients of parochial relief in all times and under all circumstances; but I endeavoured to show, by the observations which I addressed to the House at an early period, that there was a redundant able population in Ireland, which the interests of humanity, as well as the material interests of the country, required to be removed and established in another land. I wish now to direct the attention of the House to this fact, that every Commission, and Parliamentary Committee, appointed to consider the social condition of Ireland, and devise remedies for its evils, has more or less strongly advocated colonisation. The Report of the Commission on the Occupation of Land in Ireland states that— Emigration is considered by the Committee of 1830 to be peculiarly applicable as a remedial measure to the present state of Ireland, and of the relations of landlord and tenant there. They recommend that facilities should be afforded by Government to such peasants as were disposed voluntarily to emigrate, and who could, either by themselves or their landlords (it being for the interest of both that farms should be consolidated), provide funds to defray the expense of their passage and location in America. A very different state of things exists in Ireland now from that which prevailed when the Committee of 1830 gave their recommendation of emigration. And what was desirable then has become necessary now. In the Report of the Commissioners appointed to inquire into the Condition of the Poorer Classes in Ireland, I find the following passage:— While we feel that relief should be provided for the impotent, we consider it duo to the whole community, and to the labouring class in particular, that such of the able-bodied as may still be unable to find free and profitable employment in Ireland should be secured support only through emigration, or a preliminary to it. In saying this, we mean that those who desire to emigrate should be furnished with the means of doing so in safety, and with intermediate support when they stand in need of it, at emigration depots. It is thus, and thus only, that the market of labour in Ireland can be relieved from the weight that is now upon it, or the labourer be raised from his present prostrate state. Nor can we hope, in the mean time, to see such a degree of content, or of peace and order, established, as can alone encourage enterprise, or draw the overflowing capital of England to those commercial undertakings in Ireland for which the country in general, if pacified, would afford so wide and so promising a field. I have already quoted too much, but I am anxious to establish the fact that every Committee and Commission have made the same recommendation. I will, therefore, cite one more instance from the Report of the Land Commission known as Lord Devon's:— We should be sorry to see the system of emigration pushed beyond the extent to which it is called for by the population, or forced upon any persons who do not cheerfully look to its adoption as a means of providing for themselves or their families; but, after considering the recommendations thus repeatedly made upon this subject, and the evidence of Mr. Godley, in which the different views of this subject are well given, we desire to express our own conviction that a well-organized system of emigration may be of very great service, as one amongst the measures which the situation of the occupiers of land in Ireland at present calls for. We cannot think that either emigration or the extension of public works, or the reclamation and improvement of land, can singly remove the existing evil. All these remedies must be provided concurrently, and applied according to the circumstances of each case. In this view, and to this extent only, we wish to direct attention to the subject of emigration. I have a single quotation more, and that shall be from the Second Report of the Relief Commissioners, lately appointed by Her Majesty's Government, presented on the 16th of May, only a few days ago. That Commission did not, of course, point out any remedial measure which did not come immediately under their cognizance in the course of the duty devolved on them; still I think this sentence has a most direct bearing on the subject, as pointing to the remedy I am advocating; at any rate it proves, without some such remedy the distress existing in Ireland cannot be relieved by a labour rate, a poor law, or any other plan. The report says— We urge the importance of all proprietors, farmers, and of individuals in general, affording as much employment as may be in their power. It must be confessed, that notwithstanding every effort that can be made, there will still remain a vast multitude of able labourers to be fed without employment, and suggestions have been offered as to the propriety of establishing some useful labour in return for the rations; but they all tend rather to the advantage of effecting that object than to the means by which it could be accomplished; we concur in the principle, but consider that the result can be only very partially attained. I fear I have wearied the House, by entering at this length into details on what I called at the commencement of my observations the Irish portion of the case. I have endeavoured simply to establish a case for inquiry; not certainly an inquiry into colonisation in the abstract; I do not expect there will be any opposing opinion very strongly expressed in the House on that point; the only object of the inquiry I ask will be, how that colonisation can be carried out? Before entering on that part of the case which may be called more particularly the colonial part of it, I wish again to repeat, I consider it essential to any good system of colonisation that not only the benefit of those who go out should be consulted, but that the feelings and interest, nay, even the prejudices of the colonies themselves, should be considered. I have stated before that I have no new crotchet to propose, no new plan to propound to the House; at the same time, I think I should not be fulfilling the task I have undertaken, if I did not allude as shortly as may be to the capabilities of some of those colonies to which the emigrants must proceed; and lastly, to some of the plans of emigration which have been from time to time proposed, without, however, specifically advocating any one of them. The hon. Mem- ber for Gateshead (Mr. Hutt), at an early part of this Session, brought shortly, but clearly, before the House, the subject of colonisation as necessary for the relief of Ireland. In that speech, the hon. Gentleman alluded to the colony of Australia; and, certainly, when we bear in mind that, as a colony, it is only now in the tenth year since its creation—that ten years ago it was a barren wilderness—the hon. Gentleman has a right to refer to it triumphantly as a most cheering example of successful colonisation. I believe at this moment emigration is going on to that colony at the rate of about 300 per month; but, when we consider that labour can only be introduced into that colony, and others similarly circumstanced, by the produce of land sales—that in consequence of a want of interest in individual proprietors it is difficult to introduce labourers from this country, except at the public cost, in the shape of money raised from the sales of the lands—it being a too frequent practice for the colonists to avail themselves of that labour, when it arrives at the cost of a private individual, without paying a proportion of the expense of bringing it there, by inducing them to leave the original employer—seeing that the passage-money at the commencement of the colonisation of the country was 19l. or 20l. a head, that at present it varies from 15l. to 17l.— looking at these circumstances, though there can be no question there is an immense demand for labour in the colony—I believe the hon. Member for Gateshead stated 5,000 miners were wanted alone— and though wages have been as high as 3l. a week, yet I do not think, and I say it with regret, that it is very likely Australia can be rendered available for this particular purpose. At the same time the subject may be fairly inquired into, if any inquiry is granted, and I am far from wishing to prejudice the case as regards Australia. With regard to the colony of New Zealand, the same observations as to labour are applicable; and the same obstacles to a large immigration of Irish to New Zealand exist as in the ease of Australia; the distance is here, as there, an equal objection. But, there is another colony which cannot help thinking has not of late years attracted due attention—it is South Africa; I speak more particularly of the east coast and the province of Natal. I am told there are in that district 6,000,000 acres of fertile land totally uninhabited and uncultivated, besides a very much greater extent obtainable should it eventually become necessary, as there is a willingness on the part of the natives to cede it by treaty. The hon. Under Secretary of the Colonies will not deny that these 6,000,000 acres are available; and to this colony the passage-money of an emigrant may fairly be stated at not above one-third or one-half of that to Australia and New Zealand. I believe the climate is perfectly suited to our countrymen; the fertility of the soil is great; iron and copper exist in abundance; and, what I think ought not to be forgotten, extended colonisation in this direction might have the effect at some future period of spreading civilisation in those regions of Africa at present the most benighted in the world. The Government has recently sent out that eminent man, Sir Henry Pottinger, as Governor of that colony: this fact cannot but give facilities for inquiry in that quarter. But, I need hardly say, my attention has been directed more particularly to the most interesting of all our colonies, that with reference to which nearly all plans of emigration yet proposed have been drawn up—the British North American possessions. They are much the nearest to our own shores, and of course the passage is by far the cheapest; there is there —what there is not in any of the other colonies I have referred to— abundance of food, waiting for the mouths sent to consume it. There are large tracts of unoccupied land. I do not forget the statement of the hon. Judge Advocate (Mr. C. Buller), that those lands, though unoccupied, are not unappropriated; but, at the same time, I do not conceive this would be an insuperable objection to colonisation there, since it is the fact that the individuals in possession of these appropriated lands are in the constant habit, from necessity, of selling them at much lower rates than the price set on the lands in the hands of the Government. But the capabilities of Canada must he familiar to the House; it must have a lively recollection of the two able speeches of the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. C. Buller) to whom I have already referred; and I think it would be bad taste in me to dwell further on this subject, except to point out one or two facts bearing on Canada, and to state a few statistical details, which were not mentioned by the hon. and learned Gentleman, showing the rapid advance of the colony, and how admirable have been the results of colonisation as far as they affect those who have hitherto gone there. In 1820, the population of Canada was only 500,000 souls; in 1845, it had increased to 1,500,000. But in the trade and commerce of the colony, the progress is still more striking and extraordinary than the increase of the population. In 1835—only twelve years ago —the quantity of flour exported from Canada was 96,000 barrels. In 1846, it was 800,000 barrels, besides 500,000 barrels detained in store at Montreal by the sudden freezing of the St. Lawrence. This is not all; the exports have not only increased in an enormous ratio, but the imports from the United Kingdom to the British possessions in North America amount nearly to 9,000,000l. annually. This one fact sufficiently proves the prosperity that exists there; and this has a material bearing on the immigration of Irish labour into that colony. The wages of labour in Canada are from 2s. to 2s. 6d. currency a day, with lodgings found for the labourers; such is the information I have received on this point. I may now, without violating the principle I have laid down to myself, briefly allude to the various plans that have been at different times suggested to this House. First, there is the plan of Mr. E. Gibbon Wakefield, called the self-supporting system; by that, colonisation is to be maintained by the sale of lands at a comparatively high price, and the appropriation of the whole proceeds of such sales to the immigration of labour. I believe I rightly state this to be the intention of that plan; and I think I do no injustice to it when I say it is not exactly suited for the province of Canada. The price of the lands in private hands there is too low to make such a project available; and labourers, when they are imported into that country, have facilities and temptations furnished them to leave the colony and go to the United States: both these reasons make the plan unavailable for Canada. Then there is a plan of Colonel Torrens, contained in a pamphlet lately published by him, but being in many respects a renewal of his former plan, with some peculiar adaptations of it to the existing state of Ireland. That plan may be described as a modification of Mr. E. Gibbon Wakefield's; there certainly is much to commend in it; it proposes a most desirable object—the emigration of capital with labour; he proposes, too, to pay off the expense by way of annuity; but I cannot help fearing this part of the plan will not be adopted on a sufficiently extensive scale for the object in view in any scheme that may be devised having special reference to the relief of Ireland. The next plan is that of the hon. and learned Judge Advocate (Mr. C. Buller) brought forward in 1843; he proposed to obtain for Canada the benefits of Mr. Wakefield's plan by adapting it to that colony. I believe I rightly characterize that plan in describing it as one for the resumption of lands already appropriated to private parties, by compulsory means, not altogether dissimilar from the project of the Government with regard to the waste lands in Ireland; it proposed, also, something like a substitute for Lord Durham's proposition for a wild-land tax. It was an adaptation to Canada of the plan of Mr. Wakefield, heretofore only carried out in a more distant colony. There is another plan, brought forward by Mr. Sullivan, a member of the Executive Council of Canada; it is founded on an original Government outlay, to be repaid by the sale of plots of ground, reserved in, and intermixed with, the locations of the colonists, by which means, he apprehends, such a value will be given to the reserved lots as eventually to pay the expense of colonisation. Then there is the plan lately published by Mr. Godley, and particularly addressed to the noble Lord at the head of the Government; that plan has excited great attention both in this country and in Ireland, and, from information I have recently received, in Canada also. He proposes to give a stimulus to the demand for labour in the colonies of British North America, during the first year of emigration, by enabling the emigrant to work for wages while he is settling on the land; at the expiration of that time, or thereabouts, from the first settlement, he expects to render the settlement attractive by social and civil aids, and by making provision for the moral as well as the material well-being of the emigrant. I know how difficult it is to describe plans including many details in a few words; but I think I have not inaccurately represented it. Then, there is the plan put forward by the noble Earl at the head of the Colonial Department, on the 31st of December, 1846; but which, shortly afterwards, in January last, on more mature inquiry, he found reason to abandon. He proposed to build villages for the emigrants at first by an outlay by the Government, which should send them out at once, and feed them for a time, by what may not unaptly be called a species of commissariat; that, I believe, is a tolerably fair repre- sentation of that plan. I mention these schemes, not with the view of advocating or depreciating any of them, but simply for the purpose of putting them before the House as a proof that a number of such propositions exist, all varying in their details, but all fairly open to consideration and inquiry by any Commission that might have the duty of making such an investigation imposed upon it. But, without violating the principle I have laid down, I may be allowed to mention one plan which has not been made public before, and to which I venture to draw the attention of the Government, simply with the same view with which I have mentioned others. It must be within the knowledge of the hon. Under Secretary for the Colonies, and, notwithstanding the pressure of other affairs, within that of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, that a project has existed for some time for constructing a railroad from Halifax to Quebec. That railway, as projected, commences at Halifax, passes through the centre of the province of Nova Scotia and the heart of New Brunswick. There is this broad distinction between New Brunswick and Canada: there exists in the former a tract of nearly 10,000,000 acres of fertile land, now in the possession of the Government, more than 1,000,000 acres of which he in one compact mass; and this railroad passes through that land, intersects a portion of Lower Canada to a point on the St. Lawrence (Riviere de Loup), and then to Quebec. I hope I am not departing from my object in alluding to this line of road, but it bears materially on the question. It appears to me that this railroad may not only be made of great importance to the colonists, but an object of great national interest, both in a military, a commercial, and many other points of view. As to the commercial considerations, everybody is aware how circuitous is the navigation from England to Quebec by the St. Lawrence; and it is also a most dangerous one. On the coast and in the vicinity of Cape Breton, there are constant shipwrecks; and anything that rendered the route less circuitous, and safer, would benefit the commercial interests both of this country and the colonies. As to its military importance, the road runs nearly parallel with a portion of the boundary settled by the Ashburton Treaty. In consequence of that settlement, military posts have been established; and if a railroad is not made, a military road will have to be constructed. In that country a railroad may be formed at little cost; the land may be had for nothing; and the sleepers of the line can be got for the taking down; and the cuttings, which on this line would be few, can be made at a very cheap rate. In another point, the line is also of very great importance. As long ago as 1791, in the discussions on the Quebec Bill, both Pitt and Burke contemplated measures that might tend to amalgamate the whole of these important provinces, and consolidate them into one British North American possession. Sir, I think, in a material point of view, nothing can tend to effect that object more than the construction of this railroad. If it should be in the contemplation of the Government, after an investigation of this scheme, to sanction it, I cannot help thinking an early decision by which the proceeding with the railway may be facilitated should be given. There is hardly any other way by which this species of colonisation could be more assisted; I believe it is necessary to give a stimulus to labour in the colonies in the first instance, in order that men may begin to earn a subsistence by wages at the same time they are beginning to build their houses, and preparing their land in order to maintain themselves. As I said before, however, I simply throw this out as one of the plans that might be desirable and most worthy of a careful and deliberate inquiry. Now, a most important point is, I know, the question of expense. I feel that I might possibly be justified in evading that question, having, as I said before, brought forward this Motion for an inquiry, without any intention of proposing any plan. But it would not be candid in me if I did not declare that I, for one, so far as I have been able to form an opinion on this subject, do not believe that colonisation, such as that I am advocating, can ever be effected so as to cost nothing. I know that there are others — men to whose opinion I shall always be anxious to defer my own—who, in this respect, think differently from me; but, nevertheless, I should not be satisfied that I was acting correctly or candidly if, in bringing forward a Motion of this kind, I left completely in the dark my own opinions, as far as they go, on this point. I feel, with them, that the greatest ultimate good must result from colonisation; good, not only as regards the increase of our commerce— good, also, as regards our colonial strength, and the amplitude and power of our empire; but, I believe, in the first instance, there must be an outlay, and I am convinced that that outlay must be large. I am not here to advocate Treasury grants or loans for that purpose, though at the same time, I know there must be many advantages, at any rate in the first instance, in a measure of this nature being assisted by loans; and I have before endeavoured to explain to the House, and I now call upon hon. Members who may be inclined to oppose my views on the plea of expense, to consider, what must be the annual cost of the Poor Law for Ireland. Take the largest amount of expenditure likely to be entailed by any system of emigration—say by Mr. Godley's plan, which I believe is considered the most expensive of all—and I ask now, will it not appear small, looked at in the light of capital, as compared with the sum which must be expended in the maintenance of the poor population of Ireland in their own country—a sum which must be looked on in the light of interest? Various calculations have been made as to the probable cost of emigration, and some of them are very discrepant indeed. I have heard the expense of emigration to Canada estimated at 25l. a head; I have heard it stated that it could be easily done for 4l. or 51. a head; and I remember even to have heard it asserted that it could be done for nothing. I think it will be admitted on all hands that Mr. Sullivan is a gentleman whoso opinion on such a question is deserving of some attention. Let us hear what he says:— Mr. Smith O'Brien says, that the settlers under Mr. Peter Robinson cost, for their establishment on land, 22l. a head—I suppose, men, women, and children all round. Deducting the allowance for passage-money, 5l. a head, which is about double what it would he now, at least there is 17l.sterling left for each man, woman, and child. I am not afraid to say that one-fourth of the sum would be sufficient. At the time of Mr. Robinson's settlement, we all know that provisions had to be imported from the United States for the emigrants, at a very high price; and there were many other reasons why the settlement was expensive. Much as it cost, however, I believe the town lots, in the village of Peterborough, would sell for more at this day than the whole cost; without taking into account the immense value of the property, real and personal, now owned by the people whom that settlement was the means of introducing into the rear of the Newcastle district. But, Sir, perhaps I may be told that, if any money is to be spent on behalf of the public, either by grant or loan, it is better it should be spent in Ireland rather than in the colonies. I do not think it necessary to dwell on that topic. Look to the demoralisation which has resulted —necessarily and inevitably resulted—from an attempt on the part of the Government to relieve the people of Ireland at home; and then take into consideration the beneficial effect which any money spent in establishing a system of colonisation will have in tending to the improvement of the condition of the people, and in changing their habits. Looking to all this, and bearing also in mind that the expense of maintaining the poor in Ireland is an expense which will be continually recurring, whereas the expense of establishing them in colonies is an outlay made once for all —I repeat, that, bearing all these things in mind, I cannot help thinking that few hon. Members will be found to deny that if an expenditure of money be requisite, it is very much better that the money should be devoted to the purposes I advocate, than to public works in Ireland. Of course it is understood that by "public works" I desire to refer to "relief works." I have seen it stated—and here again I do not think any one in the House will be found to corroborate the assertion, that an extensive colonisation is impossible, inasmuch as the adequate supply of food could not be found in Canada for a suddenly increased population. Now, I think that the surplus produce of that country may be taken at 2,000,000 barrels of flour in the present season; that is very likely to become greater with the addition of new power of labour, and therefore I may dismiss this objection. If any funds are to be defrayed by the North American Legislation, again we are told that there is a deficiency there; but it appears to me that the example which has been given by the hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. Hutt) with reference to Australia, will very satisfactorily meet any such argument as that. Another point has been put forward in a way which makes it desirable that I should dwell upon it. It is said, although a sufficient amount of freight may be found for the transport of the average number of colonists at present going out, not exceeding 50,000 a year, that it would be impossible to find the necessary freight for any greatly increased number; and that if colonisation were to be attempted to an extent to produce a visible effect in Ireland, the result would be that freights would rise so enormously as very seriously to enhance the ordinary course. I have here a return which I think will refute that position. In the year 1845, 1,505 ships, with 593,116 tons, and in 1846, 1,585 ships, with 605,253 tons, left the ports of Great Britain and Ireland for the ports of British North America in ballast. Now, taking the number in 1846 — 605,253 tons would give accommodation, as provided under the Passengers' Act, which allows three passengers for every five tons, to 363,000 emigrants. I am quite aware that from 605,000 tons some deduction should be made on account of unseaworthy vessels and ships not fitted to emigrants. I will, therefore, deduct 105,000 tons, an enormous deduction, and then we will have left ships that leave this country in ballast sufficient to carry 300,000 emigrant passengers. That is without taking into consideration the accommodation that might have been found in 1081 ships which sailed for North America in the same year with cargoes, all or the greater number of which could carry a certain number of steerage passengers with them; that is also without taking into account the increased number of ships likely to be directed into the North American trade, partly by the demand for ships this year, and partly by the large profits on freights of corn from the other side of the Atlantic; but, leaving all this out of our calculation, I have proved that there will be ample accommodation for at least 300,000 passengers. Now, there is another objection, much relied on, that the Irish always make bad colonists. If the Irish have hitherto been "shovelled," as it has been described, from some estates—and that has up to the present time been the principal cause of the emigration—then, I say, it is no wonder that such men as they were likely to be should have made bad colonists. But I will ask whether in reality that has been the case? I will ask whether the statement has not been refuted by abundant testimony—whether it has not been proved to be false by patent facts, which are perhaps even more valuable than any written declaration or any arguments on such a subject? I think a most gratifying feature, almost the only gratifying feature in the deep distress which has recently prevailed in Ireland, has been seen in the immense remittances that have made from the opposite side of the water for the purpose of bringing over to America the relations and friends of some of those Irish people who had already gone there. I believe there is no Gentleman in this House who, if asked last year to name the probable amount of such remittances, would have ventured to name one-fourth, perhaps even one-twentieth of that sum which we have every reason to believe has come. Is this a proof that the Irish make had emigrants? I think it is a very decided proof that, when removed from their own soil, when placed in a position where they may freely exercise their industry and their talents, they succeed in every respect as well as any of their fellow creatures; they thrive as well and make as good citizens as the people of any other country. Undoubtedly there are circumstances, and circumstances most creditable to the Irish character, which induce many of them to throng to the towns, where they have not an opportunity of becoming possessed of wealth, and where they can only be known as hewers of wood and drawers of water. I allude to the fact that they are unwilling to go into the wilderness, on the ground that they would thus deprive themselves of the means of obtaining religious instruction. I believe that is one of the principal reasons of the congregations of Irish in the large towns of North America. I consider that the character for indolence possessed by many of the Irish in the south and west of Ireland arises from external circumstances, and is not an inherent defect of disposition. I should, indeed, regret to think that there was that difference between the Celt and the Saxon which some persons have been so anxious industriously to maintain. I do not believe that anything of the kind exists. I am not prepared to say there is not a difference of character in races—that, in one respect, the Celt may not be superior, and, in another, the Saxon; but, I am satisfied that as regards those characteristics which enable a people to be honest and active, there is nothing in the blood of the Celt which can incapacitate him from industrious aspirations or orderly habits, be he resident in the colonies, or, if those external circumstances of which I have spoken were removed, in his own country. I might not only refer to remittances from Irish emigrants in America for the confirmation of this opinion—I might appeal to Members of this House acquainted with the Irish character—I would, were he here, appeal to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sunderland (Mr. Hudson), and ask him if it is not frequently found, that of all the labourers employed on railway works the Irish are the most orderly and most useful? I might ask any person who has land which he farms himself, if he has not often seen cause to congratulate himself on the employment of Irish labourers in the time of harvest. I can only say that the view I take is supported by my own experience; but as I have seen the opposite opinion repeatedly put forward in print, I should not be content if I did not further endeavour to show that it has not been supported in those quarters where such a sentiment would be most mischievous to the object I now have at heart, and if I did not make it apparent that that opinion does not exist with regard to Irish colonists in the colonies themselves. I may, I think, trust to the authority of an eminent individual in the colonies, Chief Justice Robinson. In a letter which was published as a pamphlet, in 1833, to Sir R. W. Horton, this gentleman, speaking of the condition of the poorer Irish in Upper Canada, says— I am persuaded, if you could visit some of these persons on their farms, you would find that you had in fact not formed an adequate idea of the degree to which they had been raised in the scale of comfort and independence by their being made the subjects of your experiments in colonisation. Taken as a whole, the resident Irish agricultural population in Upper Canada are a most valuable class of settlers, and have done credit to the country they came from. He also gives an interesting account of their conduct in 1837–8, when, as he demonstrates, thcy acted not only as industrious, but as loyal and orderly subjects:— In the winter of 1837–8, the population, generally, behaved well; there were numerous examples of men of every origin—English, Scotch, and natives of the province, and some who had come from the United States of America—doing everything that could be done by them in defence of their country; but I think it was universally felt throughout the province that the conduct of the Irish, as a body, was pre-eminently good. They seemed not only to acknowledge promptly their obligations to support their Government and the laws, but they discharged their duty with an eager forwardness, and a fine, hearty warmth of feeling, that it was really quite affecting to witness. It makes us feel powerfully that they must, in Ireland, owe their misery and their misconduct (when they do act amiss) to some peculiarly unfortunate circumstances, springing from the past history of their country, or in some way attributable to their condition there; and, if their Government and their fellow-subjects could, by any exertion, rescue them, from their present state of destitution, they are worthy of the effort it would cost, and would be found grateful. In another pamphlet the same valuable authority says— Being anxious to know whether the loyalty of the Irish emigrants of Canada, quoted as above, had continued to the present time, I had a correspondence with Sir Francis Head upon the subject. Sir Francis Head answered me in the af- firmative; he informed me that the settlers to whom I had alluded were among those who, upon a late occasion, marched at once from the Newcastle district, in the depth of winter, nearly 100 miles, to support the Government. For this patriotic gallantry Sir Francis Head thanked them; to which expression of thanks they replied, 'That they were doing well in the world; that they felt grateful to the British Government, and that they had come to fight for the British constitution.' I could quote similar passages from the works of Captain Hall, and would willingly do so were it not that I am afraid of trespassing at greater length upon the patience of the House. Another complaint has been, that colonists from Ireland must be of the lowest class. Now I do not believe, if the colonisation be well organized, that this is at all necessary. Emigration hitherto has been so; but I do not think that a well-organized and systematic colonisation must be so. I should be sorry to suppose that colonisation, in its greater and bettor sense, was a lost art in this country, for, certainly, in former days, this was not the case. I may refer to the colonies founded by W. Penn and Lord Baltimore, to show that once colonisation was more thoroughly understood than it is at this moment. The Under Secretary will correct me if I am wrong, but I understand that there is a project now on foot for colonising Vancouver's Island, by means of gentry and well-educated men proceeding there together with artisans and mechanics. This is to be the spirit of the scheme; and, if so carried out, will dissipate all doubt as to the feasibility of such a mode of colonising. Another and a strong argument, undoubtedly, if true, against extensive emigration is, that the Canadians entertain a strong objection to any such plan; but I do not believe that the objection is warranted by the fact? We have received within the last few hours interesting statements from Canada in reference to the reception Mr. Godley's suggestions have mot with in that colony. The hon. Gentleman probably intends to quote some of those statements; and I can easily imagine that the scissors have been this morning in constant requisition at the Colonial Office with these papers; but I assure the hon. Gentleman that I am not going to force on him the necessity of extracting very largely. I readily admit that the opinions of the Canadian press appear to be divided with regard to Mr. Godley's plan; but they appear to object mainly to the details; and, while they condemn these, they all, so far as I have been able to see, approve of ex- tensive emigration, if properly conducted. The very object of the inquiry I wish for is to ascertain how emigration can be properly conducted; and, if properly conducted, I think the hon. Gentleman will find that those newspapers are in favour of emigration from this country. They do not pledge themselves to any specific plan, but they expatiate distinctly upon the benefits to be derived from an encouragement of colonisation in England. I perceive in the Toronto Globe of May 1st, this declaration, after a statement of objections to some parts of the plan:— We would willingly forget that narrow views form any part of the scheme of which the general principles cannot be too much approved. Two millions is the very number which we have ourselves mentioned. Let them come, millions of acres are waiting their arrival. I will not say whether or not this is extravagance; but I am quoting it, mind, from the writings of those parties supposed to be opposed to emigration. The British Canadian of the same date states:— Active steps are being taken to obtain the assistance 'of Government towards Canadian colonisation from Ireland, and we hope the same will be done in England and Scotland. The plan now proposed should he brought at once under the notice of our Legislature. I will not detain the House by reading other quotations I had prepared from public papers, tending to show the desire which existed on the part of the Canadians so far back as 1837 and 1839 in favour of some stimulus to be applied to emigration; but I will road to the House a passage in an address delivered by the Hon. R. B. Sullivan, President of the Executive Council of Canada, in the hall of the Mechanics' Institute of Toronto. He was not likely, in the position which he occupied, to propound unpalatable views; and I find in his address this sentence:— But settlements need not be confined to this quarter: the greater part of the country between Lake Huron and the Ottawa is vacant—whole regions are without an inhabitant, and millions of men may be sustained by cultivating them. Provisions are abundant and cheap in the country. Upper Canada, with her present products, could sustain a million of additional inhabitants at once. If you bring her 500,000l., she will still be an exporting country; but the best market she can have is at home. I hope that I have now satisfactorily established this part of my case—that there is not that apprehension in British North America of extensive colonisation, provided it be but properly conducted, which has so often been represented to be the case. In- formation is required on the subject; and there is now in this country a gentleman of great ability and on whose authority I am sure the hon. Gentleman (the Under Secretary) will rely with confidence—I mean Mr. Uniacke. I believe he is generally acknowledged to be a most enlightened man, and his opinion entirely coincides with that of Mr. Sullivan; he is deeply interested in those colonies; and he is desirous to see the Government favour an extensive colonisation conducted on sound and recognised principles. I have now very nearly concluded. I hope it is not necessary for me again to assure the House that I have brought forward this Motion totally independent of any party feeling whatever. I hope, Sir, I have kept my promise to the House, and that I have made no allusions whatever that can render it difficult for any one to support the Motion I am about to propose; and that in what I have said I have kept out of view every topic objectionable either to the Government or to any individual Member of this House. If I should be taunted as having proposed no plan, then all I have to say is, that as I have studiously and purposely avoided doing so, I can have no difficulty in pleading guilty to that taunt. My object has been to place before the House the plans of others, with the view of asking for a Commission: a Commission constituted of three or five, or whatever number may be considered most desirable, of the most eminent and practical men whose services can be expected to be devoted to such an investigation. I have asked for a Commission: I hope I need not say a real Commission to be attended with real practical results—such a Commission as was appointed, I think, by Lord Melbourne's Government, for the investigation of the subject of the Poor Law, at the head of which was Archbishop Whateley—a Commission intended to have practical results—a Commission not for the postponement of a subject, but one formed with the full intention of action at as early a period as is possible or practicable. I have brought this subject forward with the earnest hope that the Government will consent to the Motion; and that they will not allow a question of such vital importance as that of colonisation to remain in its present condition till the question, in the words of Lord Bacon, "shall resolve itself." I am not anxious, I can assure the noble Lord and the House, to supersede the Colonial Office or the Commissioners for Emigration in fulfilling those functions that properly devolve upon them. I need not say that I have not brought this Motion forward in any spirit of want of confidence in the Colonial Office; but I conceive that, apart from the duties of the Colonial Office, there are inquiries to be made in Canada and Ireland that would be better conducted by others than by that department. I cannot expect that the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonial Department will tell me that the Colonial Office is the very best place for investigating a subject of this nature, for he must recollect what was stated by Lord Howick on the New Zealand debate in 1845. That noble Lord made the following forcible remarks on this very subject:— From some experience of the Colonial Office, he was persuaded that it was utterly impossible for any man, be his talents and industry what they might, adequately to administer such complicated affairs as those of the British colonies, scattered all over the world. It was totally impossible to remedy this deficiency, as suggested by the hon. Member for Lambeth (Mr. Hawes), by the constitution of a board. I quote that to show that the feeling of the noble Lord then was—and I feel confident is still—that any great increase of the duties of the office he holds must incapacitate him for the proper fulfilment of the various other duties that devolve upon him. I have seen it stated that a measure of this kind will only lead to false expectations; but I cannot help thinking that the reverse will be the case. It must not be forgotten (and I say it in no spirit other than that of approbation) that those who now occupy office in the Government, more especially immediately connected with the Colonial Office, have been, in years gone by, if I may so call them, the apostles of colonisation. They have taught us its principles, and they have attracted a great deal of attention to the subject in the country. The noble Lord at the head of the Government two years ago brought forward a string of resolutions, one of which directly pointed out colonisation as a mode of relieving the distress which oven then was experienced throughout the empire. The noble Lord at the head of the Colonial Office, in the course of various debates, more especially in that brought forward by the hon. Member for Limerick, a few years ago, pointed at colonisation as the means of giving relief to Ireland; and the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies, along with the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. C. Buller), who renders his assistance to the noble Lord and the hon. Gentleman in the Colonial Office, have frequently brought this matter before the House. I say, then, to the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies and to the noble Lord, that I do feel that if it should turn out that the principles they have propounded on this subject are erroneous—if it should turn out that the emigration now going on is of a satisfactory nature—the public will only be convinced by an investigation made by other parties than themselves. I hope the hon. Gentleman fully understands my meaning in making this statement. I moan nothing invidious; but the advent of the hon. Gentleman opposite to power has reasonably raised expectations on those points; and perhaps they have found reason to doubt the propriety of going to the extent to which they were inclined to go when formerly they brought these topics before the House. ["No, no!" from the Treasury bench.] If it is so, then it is desirable that the public mind should be set at rest by such a Commission as I now propose—a Commission not at all superseding the functions of the Colonial Office, but assisting them in making inquiries which, in anything like a reasonable time, it would be impossible for them to accomplish in compatibility with their other duties. I have been told that if the Government accede to my proposition it will stop the emigration now going on; I do not apprehend that such will be the case; but if it will be so, then I freely admit to the House that I would not look upon it as so great an evil as some hon. Gentlemen might think it, for I look to the benefits of colonisation for the future as well as for the present. I greatly fear, not probably from any fault in the Colonial Office or in the Emigration Commissioners, but from some want of an organized plan, that there will not be sufficient care taken of emigration in the present year. Not fewer than 54,000 left these shores in April last alone; and I do apprehend that the result of the continuance of an emigration of this description is likely to he, that when they have arrived in Canada, their situation there may be different from that of former colonists, described in the extracts which I have read, and that in reality they may be left to wander as outcasts in the country, in the midst of starvation and misery, unable to find employment, and of course unable to procure food. If so, I am afraid that the reports they will send to their brethren at home will be very different from those which have hitherto been received from emigrants to that country; and I greatly fear the effect that may be produced on the colonists themselves if emigration is conducted to the extent now voluntarily going on, without arrangement and control—I fear that the event will be to produce that indisposition to further emigration which, at present does not exist, but which must, with such a state of things, arise. I must apologize to the House for the great length to which my observations have extended. I thank them most sincerely for the attention they have given to details which have been necessarily tedious; and now, Sir, I will place this Motion in your hands, with the greatest confidence that the House will adopt it, in the belief that colonisation may, as an auxiliary to other measures, be made the means of saving the property of Ireland from ruin and confiscation; and, what is far more important, rescuing our people from the pressure of their sufferings—from that pestilence and famine which it has pleased Almighty Providence in his wisdom to inflict upon them —by removing them from that soil on which these heavy visitations have fallen upon them to a land which I believe would be to them a happier and a better. The noble Lord concluded by moving an Address to Her Majesty in the terms already given.


said, the noble Lord had brought forward this important subject in so fair a spirit, and in so comprehensive a manner, that he should assuredly fail in his duty if he omitted to imitate him in a spirit so frank and fair as that which that noble Lord had displayed in introducing this subject to the House. He freely admitted that the noble Lord had not in any way given the subject a party aspect; he had brought forward the subject in such a manner, that it might be considered impartially by both sides of the House; and he, for one, was quite disposed to discuss the question in that spirit. He conceived it might be treated as one on which men of all opinions might agree or differ without the usual characteristics of party divisions. But he thought the noble Lord had made a proposal which, perhaps, might not be so conducive to the objects he had in view as at present the noble Lord seemed disposed to think. When the noble Lord proposed this measure as one for the relief of Ireland, and as an auxiliary to the Poor Law, the noble Lord must be aware that the proceedings of the Commission must be slow, and could not have immediate effect; and that with regard to that class of persons who could emigrate, or bear the hardships of a settler's life, it was precisely that class of persons whom they would not be required to relieve at home. Those, to be supported by the Poor Laws, who were most likely to go into the wilderness, were not the aged, the infirm, and the sick, who would be still left at home. The noble Lord had referred to the opinions expressed by him on the subject of colonisation and emigration in past times; it had been his good fortune to act with the more prominent advocates of those views, and however feeble had been the aid rendered by him, still he could say it was cordially given to those measures that from time to time had attracted public attention, and led to extensive colonisation. On this subject he had nothing to retract, and had simply to advocate the views which he had always held. He entirely admitted the general objects and principles of the noble Lord as to emigration and colonisation; but he differed from the noble Lord as to the expediency of the proposed inquiry. He doubted if it were in the power of any Commission to inquire fully, within a reasonable time, into a subject requiring such diversified information from such distant sources. The analogy between that question and the Poor Law Commission he conceived to be entirely unfounded, for the Poor Law Commission was able to get the necessary information on the spot, and in a short period, from most experienced men who gave evidence on the subject; but a very different sort of investigation would be required by a Commission of the kind now proposed. The noble Lord had undoubtedly so far this great advantage—he had adopted no plan —he had suggested no plan—he had gradually drawn their attention to various projects, which in the course of past years had been brought under the public notice; but he had given no opinion—he had not even adopted that plan which he (Mr. Hawes) might suppose to be the origin and foundation of the Motion, namely, the plan of Mr. Godley. He said so, because he understood that the noble Lord was the advocate of that particular plan—he understood that Mr. Godley's plan of emigration, which, though addressed to Lord John Russell, was not adopted by him, but was to be brought forward by the noble Earl. [The Earl of LINCOLN was understood to express dissent.] But, not to dwell upon that point, he must observe that the mode of emigration to the old chartered colonies and that now in operation was very different. The aid of the State, for emigration, was not given to those now emigrating. There were no advances of public money; but it was conducted with great success by the energy and public spirit of the people themselves. It was a remarkable feature in the present day, of all the schemes of colonisation, that they rested entirely on large grants of public money; and, unless Government were prepared to give these grants, they were exposed to the taunt of not being alive to the importance of colonisation. Now, emigration was proceeding at a most enormous rate by the voluntary agency of the emigrants themselves; and he apprehended, notwithstanding all that had been said by the noble Lord, that if Government were to stop forward and commence an inquiry, it would affect to a great extent the emigration at present going on. He hardly thought the House or the noble Lord were aware of all that had been done of late years with reference to the question of colonisation; but it was worth while to reflect on what had been done in this respect, unless they were prepared to base all their future plans on grants of public money. If they did so, let it be with their eyes open, that large advances indeed must be made for the purpose of assisting in this way the working of the Poor Law in Ireland; but they would permit him to say there were other parts of the kingdom in England and Scotland which had an equal right to their consideration, and which, if large grants of money were to be given, must come in for their share. Now, as to what had been done of late years, he would refer the House to evidence to show that neither the Government nor the House had been indifferent to the subject of colonisation; but that the principles of almost every eminent man who had written on the subject had been more or less carried into practice, and that at that moment nothing more remained to be done unless the House was prepared to consent to a grant of money. In 1826, 1827, the experiments of Sir Wilmot Horton were tried, but found too costly, the expense of an emigrant to Canada being 22l. There was also the Commission, at the head of which was the Duke of Richmond, in 1831. Then there was the Waste Lands Commission in 1836; and, in 1842, there was a Committee on the affairs of South Australia. There were all those Committees and inquiries, and men of considerable ability, who had devoted their attention to the subject, had from time to time recommended that certain measures should be adopted, or certain principles should be laid down in reference to colonisation. That would show the House how attentive to the subject the Government had been, and how ready the House had been to attend to it. It was still ready, he was sure, to attend to it. He was convinced he could answer for the head of the Colonial Department, that any plan to promote a well-considered system of colonisation would not be mot with indifference. He would now refer to the recommendations that had been made. In a plan proposed in a Letter from Sydney, by Mr. Wakefield, in 1829, he recommended— That all land shall be sold and principle fixed by Act of Parliament; a tax upon rent for labour fund; land fund applicable to emigration; land for grazing to be allowed; loan on security of land fund; that the supply of labour be proportioned to the demand; that the emigrants be selected; grants to be made in fee-simple; surplus of land fund to be applied to general purposes. The same author in 1831 recommended three objects, viz.— 1. To sell land. 2. To concentrate the settlers (impossible and undesirable in Australia, as since admitted by the author). 3. That young-couples should go. Thus to afford relief to England by diminishing numbers, preventing increase, and creating markets. In a pamphlet by Mr. Senior, in 1831, he recommends— A board of commissioners under the Secretary of State; a plan for pauper emigration; that Government advance money, and parishes repay it in not more than ten years. Emigrants to be conveyed, located, and supplied with tools. The actual settlement of paupers in the colonies has been proved to be too expensive and difficult to succeed. Parishes, however, are now authorized to borrow money on security of the rates for their emigration, and the power is not unfrequently used. The Waste Lands Committee in 1836 recommended— An Act of Parliament to fix principle of sale; central land board under Secretary of State, or Parliament, as thought best; net land fund to emigration. He might ask, net after what? If after surveys, and protection of aborigines, that was virtually done. The supply of labour in proportion to land fund; emigration to be select; loan to set on foot the scheme. Labour the one tiling needful. The latter was a mistake, as proved when numerous labourers were chargeable for relief both at Port Philip and at Adelaide. In every instance, however, their principal recommendations had been carried into practice, and the same remark applied also to the recommendations in the appendix to Lord Durham's report, and all the principal recommendations that formed the substance of that report had been more or less adopted. He mentioned those matters particularly to show that the subject was not one that now needed to be inquired into. They had already four or five Committees of that House; they had a Commission, they had the recommendations of able men devoted to the subject, conferring upon the country the benefits resulting from the diffusion of their opinions; and he was sure the House and succeeding Governments had been ready to approve of everything that was likely to promote this object. The number that had emigrated from this country since the establishment of the Board of Emigration was enormous. In the last ten years nearly 100,000 persons had emigrated to the Australian colonies; and to the North American colonies no loss a number than 740,000. If all this were done by voluntary emigration, it became of serious importance to consider whether they should interfere with the system of emigration going on with as little cost to the country (he held that the abstraction of capital was some cost) as could possibly be. Of the whole number of 100,000 persons, it appeared that 80,000 had emigrated to New South Wales out of the produce of the land sales, and 20,000 at their own expense. The reports of the Emigration Committee contained other similar facts of considerable importance, furnished by persons best competent to collect them; and he believed it would be found that these reports afforded already the best moans of information as to carrying out colonisation. It would be well, too, just to turn and see what had been the advancement of the colonies under the system now adopted. The noble Lord had alluded to Canada particularly; but if they would look to the Australian colonies, they would find that the aggregate population and the aggregate of the imports and the exports of the Australian group of colonies presented the following increase: In the year 1835, the population amounted to 102,942. In 1845, the numbers had increased to 295,926. The imports in 1835 into all the Austra- lian colonies, were valued at 1,749,087. In 1845, they had increased to 1,992,630l. But the exports which in 1835 had amounted to 1,004,000l., were in 1845 2,175,000l. showing thereby that the progress of the colonies in internal resources had been very great, inasmuch as their power of exporting their own produce had more than doubled, whilst their imports from other countries had not kept equal pace. If then they found a stream of voluntary emigration going on to the enormous extent which it had at present reached, and which in this year had exceeded any thing ever heard of before, they should beware of doing anything which might have a tendency to check it. In the first quarter of the present year, the number of persons who had emigrated amounted to 38,000. No less than 400 ships had cleared outwards from the ports at which there were Government emigration agents, with 56,000 emigrants, in the month of April; and in the first half of May, no less than 23,000 more emigrants had gone. All those persons, he should observe, embarked under cognizance of the emigration agents, and so far more immediately under the superintendence of the Government, making a total of 117,000 persons, who, up to the present time, and since the commencement of the year, had emigrated under the superintendence of the Emigration Board. In point of fact, there were rather more, for he spoke from returns that had been made up only to the middle of May. Up to the present time, therefore, between 20,000 and 30,000 people a month had gone, without reckoning the ports at which there were no emigration agents. And all this had been going on under the superintendence and direction of the Government, although the noble Lord seemed to think that emigration had been going on without any system. If he would look to the returns made by the emigration agents of Canada, he would find that the Government had taken a sum of 10,000l., to which was added what was called the emigration tax, which was an impost levied at the other side of the water on all captains of vessels, who paid a tax for every emigrant they landed; and the money so collected formed a fund for the assistance of the destitute emigrants on the other side of the water, and forwarding them on their arrival to those parts of the country where they were likely to meet with employment. This was calculated to increase emigration, since the emigrants would find that every- thing was done that could be done to assist them to distribute them over the surface of the great continent; and direct them, according to the information of the emigration agents, to those parts where their labour was most required. The general estimate for emigration had been raised from 1,000l. to 10,000l. to provide adequately for the exigencies of this important service in the present year. He could, therefore, assure the noble Lord that every means were taken to secure to the emigrants the means of access to those parts where their labour was sought. With regard to the condition of emigrants to the Australian colonies, he scarcely knew of any instance of persons who had gone to New Plymouth, or any place in South Australia, having been more than a week or two unemployed after their arrival. They were regularly distributed over the country, where their labour was required as soon as possible after their landing; so that the noble Lord must not suppose that emigration was going on without the aid or superintendence of the Government—that superintendence which was the most likely to save them from suffering and hardship. The noble Lord had omitted, and perhaps wisely, any allusion to the details of Mr. Godley's plan; but he (Mr. Hawes) could not consent that, upon an occasion like the present, and during such a discussion, that plan should pass without some observation. It had been put forward with a good deal of note of preparation. It was made the subject of a memorial to the First Lord of the Treasury, and its merits had been the subject of much public discussion. The noble Lord (Lord Lincoln) seemed to imagine that he (Mr. Hawes) had been lately trusting to the reading of Canadian newspapers; but he should tell the noble Lord that he had looked to other authorities, and that from the intelligence he had received he was enabled to state, that Mr. Godley's plan had been most unfavourably received throughout all the Canadian colonies. And he (Mr. Hawes) did not wonder at it. It was a plan founded upon very exclusive principles, and it had been put forward as one to be carried out at no cost whatsoever. It was a proposition upon the principle of "no cure no pay," and yet it was to carry with it commercial consequences to a vast extent, and to lead to profit. And when he considered the plan with reference to the present state of Ireland, he was altogether staggered at the proposition that Ireland should be taxed to the amount of 9,000,000l. to send away 2,000,000 of her able-bodied population to our North American colonies. Thus 9,000,000l. of capital was to be at once abstracted from her, and sent away with that number of her people. It appeared to him that what Ireland wanted most of all at the present time was capital. If anything could remedy her evils, develop her resources, and induce the formation of her railways, it was surely capital; and yet the proposition was to take 9,000,000l. of her capital, and 2,000,000 of the flower of her population away, by way of benefiting her! He was not surprised at the noble Lord not bringing the details of that plan before the House; and he should not feel himself justified in occupying the time of the House at any length with the further consideration of them; but that plan had been made the subject of so much observation out of the House, and had excited so much public attention, that he could not help making some allusion to it, for the purpose of pointing out the loose foundation on which it rested. Mr. Godley stated that at least from 10l. to 15l. a head should be spent upon every emigrant sent out to the colonies. If, therefore, they took 2,000,000 emigrants, and exported them to a colony, the cost of sending them to which would be the lesser sum, they must be prepared to expend a sum of 20,000,000l. If the cost should be 15l. a head, it would cost 30,000,000l. He begged hon. Gentlemen to notice what a vast scheme it was which Mr. Godley wanted them to adopt. Mr. Godley required a far larger amount than 16,000,000l., which the noble Lord the Member for Lynn had proposed to be applied to the making of railroads in Ireland, which he (Mr. Hawes) was of opinion would have done more good to Ireland, since it would be expended upon the soil of Ireland. But to send 2,000,000 of men in the prime of life, at a cost of from 10l. to 15l. a head, out to Canada, on the terms before them on the Table, would cause a greater expenditure of capital, which would be, in the first place, taken out of the country; and, after all, those emigrants would most probably find their way into the United States. It was impossible to expect that the country would agree to such a plan, so far as it had been set forth. But how was the capital to be repaid? Was the outlay to be fixed and settled by negotiation, and was the money to be repaid when it had been laid out? Not at all. The Governor General was to give a certificate that all the money had been laid out, not upon the raising of villages, or the building of houses, or the making of farms or roads, but laid out in accomplishing the objects which the Imperial Government had in view when they promised advances of so much money in favour of this object. Now, did any one imagine for one moment that any capitalist would embark his money in such a speculation—a speculation which, more or less, was at the present moment occupying the public attention, and which was, in fact, the plan adopted by the noble Lord, although he had not openly avowed it. Well, then, looking at the progress which the colonies had made—looking at the more extended system of colonisation which had been adopted—looking at the vast stream of emigration which was now going on, slowly, but successfully—he was of opinion that the adoption of such a scheme as had been hinted at by the noble Lord, would, in all probability, materially chock that voluntary stream of emigration — a result which could not fail to be extremely dangerous to the interests of Ireland. And he must be permitted to say, that one large source of pecuniary aid to emigration would, he believed, be dried up, if the noble Lord succeeded in obtaining the appointment of a Committee of Inquiry. Not that the Government objected to inquiry; much interesting information might be gained by that course; but at the same time he thought that an inquiry, conducted by a Commission such as the noble Lord proposed, would be calculated to arrest the public attention, and the voluntary emigration which was now going on in Ireland would be stopped—a result most prejudicial to the interests of Ireland, particularly at the present time. He was apprehensive, if the Government were supposed to be about to interfere in the present movement, if that news spread throughout the country, the people would naturally conclude that if Government assisted the people of one district, they would assist all similarly circumstanced, and private enterprise would be impeded for a time. It would certainly check the large influx of available funds now coming to this country from the colonies in aid of voluntary emigration. Upon this subject he would read a memorandum which had been received at the Colonial Office from the chief emigrant agent in Canada West, the contents of which were important in respect to the point he had just adverted to. It was dated— Montreal, May 7, 1847. I am of opinion that there are thousands of settlers in Canada who would readily undertake to provide for their relations, if they could he brought to them free of expense. The funds placed at the disposal of the emigrant department only authorize relief to the indigent after they land at Quebec. I have been frequently applied to of late years to know whether any Government assistance would be granted in such cases as those mentioned by Mr. Forbes;"— (This was a gentleman who had interested himself in promoting emigration to Canada); —"and offers have been made of small sums, averaging from five to twelve dollars, towards defraying the expense of their transport. But all it was in my power to do was to assure the applicants that if they would exert themselves, and save enough to pay their friends' passages to Quebec, they should be forwarded for the remainder of the journey free of expense. The noble Lord would see that the emigration agents superintended the forwarding the emigrants onward on their journey. There are very few instances of emigrants becoming a burden to the community after they reach Canada, unless they remain in the towns. The sums remitted by settlers in Canada to enable their relations to emigrate, are rapidly increasing in amount. A few years ago, such remittances were rare; they are now becoming almost general. The effect of saving money for such a purpose is highly beneficial, as it acts as a spur to industry, and makes them saving and prudent. I am apprehensive, if once the Government interfered, it would check the present movement. The news would soon spread throughout the province, and the remittances, to a great extent, cease; for they would naturally conclude, that if aid was given to the settlers in the parish of St. Columban to bring out their relations, it could not be withheld from, others similarly circumstanced. Nor does it appear to be fair to confine such assistance to settlers from one part of the United Kingdom, any more than to one section of Canada. I have received repeated applications of the same kind from Scotch settlers of late years. He called the attention of the House to this account, given by a most intelligent emigration agent, and he could show that there had been large sums derived from such sources, not less than 300,000l. or 400,000l. having been remitted by emigrants in the colonies to this country to aid individuals in going out to join their relatives and friends. Then, if this were so, it became a very important question, and he asked the noble Lord to consider whether or not his inquiry would not withdraw and dry up this resource? He would ask the noble Lord whether he did not believe that the appointment of a Commission of Inquiry would not paralyse all efforts now making in Ireland and Scotland with re- ference to emigration—whether it would not, in point of fact, check that voluntary stream of emigration now flowing so freely on? and if he did determine to check it, he would ask the noble Lord what scheme he had to substitute in its place? The noble Lord proposed no plan; he proposed to inquire. How long would his inquiry take? It must necessarily be one conducted under great disadvantages; the information must be obtained from all the colonies. They did not mean to confine their inquiries to one colony. Did they intend the inquiry to be of benefit to Ireland? Then they must bring the results of that inquiry immediately into action. He would ask them what was the House, what was Ireland, or the country to look to while this inquiry was going on? As he had shown, the number of emigrants had been 117,000 in the present year; and those persons had found or were finding their way across the Atlantic, either by their own voluntary exertions or that of their landlords in Ireland and Scotland. That stream was still flowing on. [Mr. M. J. O'CONNELL: Not so fast.] But the noble Lord, without giving any security whatsoever upon the subject—without proposing any definite plan, asked them to check that stream, for that must be the effect of the noble Lord's Motion, if carried. They would have to wait until the report of the Commission which he asked for was laid on the Table of the House. Now, the noble Lord said that he put forth no views or theory of his own. The noble Lord had cautiously abstained from doing so. He sought, therefore, to introduce no system. He agreed with the noble Lord in his general views as to the importance of colonisation, and as to the necessity of giving every facility to emigration. But he contended that there was nothing at this moment which prevented colonisation being carried on upon a largo scale by private individuals. In the present state of the money market it would be most imprudent for the House to entertain any project which would encourage the hope on the part of the public that the Government intended to advance still larger sums for the purposes of emigration and colonisation. To show that the Government had not been indifferent on those points, he might refer to what they had done in New Zealand. In New Zealand assistance had been long asked of Government to settle the conflicting claims of the colonists—that assistance had been given. He would not further enlarge upon the subject than to say, that he trusted the results would be such as to call hereafter for the approbation of the House; and if they should be pleased with the plan that had been adopted, he hoped they would agree with him in the opinion that a constitution should be one of the first things given to a new colony. Hitherto it had been a matter of reproach to the Legislature, especially with regard to the Australian colonies, and more especially New Zealand, that nothing had been done towards extending to them the constitutional liberties enjoyed by England. He might state, as he had stated in that House on a former occasion, that with regard to the Australian colonies he would have submitted to them a Bill which his noble Friend (Earl Grey) had long had under his consideration for giving a representative constitution to those colonies, had it not been for the pressing business of this Session. Colonisation, he wished to observe to the noble Earl, did not consist merely of sending out a number of people in a ship to one of the colonies. [The Earl of LINCOLN: Hear, hear.] Nor did emigration. But the noble Lord did not not go beyond that. But he should repeat, that what was at present being done for emigration, was of vastly greater importance than anything that had ever been done before. More was being done than merely sending men out to find work for themselves. An excellent system had been adopted by that important company to which the country was indebted for the possession of New Zealand; and in the support that had been given by the Government of that colony, they had been carrying out those views of colonial policy which he (Mr. Haves), for one, had always contended for as containing just and sound views of colonial government. But it appeared that the noble Lord, after all, sought rather to discuss the question, for the purpose of discovering whether the Government was devoting its attention to the subject, than for the purpose of bringing forward any particular plan of his own. So far as the Government could collect or did possess information, the House had only to order and to obtain the production of it; but he believed that the emigration at present going on immediately under the superintendence of his noble Friend, was carried to an extent far beyond all former precedent. The noble Lord referred to a Motion that had been made on this subject two or three years ago. That Motion had been brought forward, and argued with singular ability; but it did not result in an inquiry, which was the object of the noble Lord, but in a distinct plan. A plan was proposed by his hon. Friend the Member for Liskeard (Mr. C. Buller); but when it was afterwards discussed in Canada, it was found that insuperable difficulties were in the way of any attempt to carry it into effect. His belief therefore was, that it was not in the power of that House to frame a Commission which could obtain the necessary information in this country. Any plans formed should be sent, before being acted upon, to the Government of the colony affected, and inquiry should also be obtained through the emigration agents, as was now done. That, he believed, to be a far more useful and practicable mode of ascertaining what was the best plan to be adopted in any particular instance, than a general system of inquiry, the effect of which must be to put a stop to the tide of voluntary emigration. He would, therefore, leave it to the noble Lord, whether it would be right to press his Motion to a division, and to insist on the appointment of a Commission? He entirely concurred in the objects which the noble Lord had in view; nor was there any indisposition on the part of Her Majesty's Government to further those objects. No one would be more delighted than the noble Lord at the head of the Colonial Department to have a large fund at his command, to carry out the objects of the noble Lord. There existed no difficulty in finding plenty of fruitful land and plenty of labourers to cultivate it. All the requisites and elements for the establishment of a great system of colonisation, were fully possessed; nothing, at this moment, was required but an adequate fund to put the system into operation. Here existed the great difficulty; and what, under these circumstances, would be the consequence of appointing a Commission? It would create expectations which could not be realized, and excite hopes that must end in disappointment. Speaking on the part of his noble Friend (Earl Grey), he could assure the noble Lord that no one was more anxious to promote the welfare and happiness of the colonies than he, and no one devoted more thought to devising the best scheme of colonisation by which their happiness and welfare might be attained; and it was his own opinion that if the Commission now proposed by the noble Lord were appointed, it would rather interfere with than advance the inquiries which were at this moment going on under the direction of his noble Friend (Earl Grey), with the hope of benefiting the colonies by promoting additional emigration from this country. Not being able, then, to conceive how any advantage could be derived by the adoption of the plan proposed by the noble Lord, but, on the contrary, believing that the appointment of a Commission at this moment would have a prejudicial tendency, he did entreat the noble Lord to pause, especially considering the state of Ireland, before he pressed his Motion. He would not make any direct Motion in opposition to the noble Lord, and he should be most unwilling to give a negative vote to any proposition having in view so desirable an object as that which the noble Lord sought to achieve; but he would again entreat the noble Lord to consider whether, in the present state of Ireland and of Scotland, this was the time to do anything that would check the course of voluntary emigration that was now going on. There was no principle which the noble Lord had enunciated, and no plan which could be proposed, the importance of which Her Majesty's Government were not prepared to take into consideration; and so far as any further inquiry was concerned, they were not only willing but anxious to obtain the very best information that could be procured, and which he believed they had in their power to secure more readily and completely than any Commission could do.


, before replying to the observations of the hon. Gentleman, wished to remark, that this Motion was not conceived on the part of those who advocated it with any unfriendly feeling towards Her Majesty's Government. On the contrary, it was brought forward with the most sincere wish to extricate the Government from a state of embarrassment caused by circumstances over which they certainly had no control. It was therefore with the greatest regret that he had listened to the speech of the hon. Member for Lambeth, inasmuch as he had expressed it to be his intention to meet the Motion with the direct negative. [Mr. HAWES: No, no.] The hon. Gentleman at least expressed a wish that the noble Lord would withdraw his Motion, without at the same time promising that Her Majesty's Government would give that attention to it which, in justice, it was entitled to receive. Things could not go on in the present deplorable manner. The crisis had now fairly arrived, in which palliatives merely could no longer be applied. The time was now come for the adoption of a series of measures, the foremost of which in importance he conceived to be the measure which his noble Friend now proposed. The social condition of Ireland had been entirely broken up by the destruction of the staple food of 6,000,000 of its inhabitants, and it now required the master hand of a great statesman to mould and fashion it in a new and better combination. Colonisation could not effect all they desired; but no other measure which Government might devise could be rendered applicable or beneficial without it. After all, what were the objects they had in view? Were they not to give security to life and property in Ireland, to promote the introduction of capital into that country, raise the Irish peasant to a level with the English agricultural labourer, and to do away with the party feuds and religious animosities which distracted that portion of the United Kingdom? But not one of these things could be accomplished so long as there existed a redundant population there. While the present system of competition for land existed, it was impossible that either life or property could be secure; and if neither life nor property were secure, capital, so far from flowing into that country, would fly away from it. As long as the peasant class in Ireland subsisted upon wages almost inadequate for the support of life, so long would they be in a state of degradation; and so long as they had one class of the people of that country, composed of one religion, in a state of degradation, and another class, composed of another religion, in a comparative state of comfort, so long would the former look with unkindly feelings upon the latter, and strife and ill-will would exist. Therefore, twist and turn it as they would, it must resolve into this point—the inadequacy of capital in Ireland. The noble Lord the Member for Lynn (Lord G. Bentinck) was fully aware of this state of things; and he clearly perceived that there were only two alternatives—the one, to increase the capital to a level with the population; the other, to decrease the population to a level with the capital. His noble Friend chose the former alternative; but the House did not think fit to sanction that proposal. There were financial difficulties in the way; but no such difficulties presented themselves against the adoption of the plan now proposed. Some of the mea- sures which Her Majesty's Government had brought forward this Session, he had supported, but there was one which he had opposed, namely, the Irish Poor Law; but had the noble Lord at the head of the Government made a systematic plan of emigration an adjunct to the Poor Law, he should not have opposed it as he had done, from a conscientious conviction of its utter impracticability. It could not be denied that the proposal for an extended Poor Law had given rise to some wild speculations and ideas, both in England and in Ireland. It had given rise to a notion among the Irish peasantry that henceforth they wore to be supported at the expense of the community; and it had given rise in England to a belief that the effect of the law would be to relieve them from all further intrusion of Irish paupers. At the present moment there was a temporary measure of relief in operation in Ireland; and at the same time the immigration of the people of Ireland into this country was proceeding at the rate of 1,000 per diem; and what prospect had they, from the reports they were daily receiving, as to the probability of work being afforded under the Poor Law to the thousands who were at present supported under the temporary Act? It was perfectly impossible, in the present condition of Ireland, that under any system of Poor Law, work could be given to all the able-bodied. The present proposition, therefore, was not, as the hon. Member for Lambeth had stated it to be, a proposition for sending the able-bodied labourers to Canada, but to send the surplus of those able-bodied labourers for whom at the present moment there was no employment at home. He should like to ask the hon. Gentleman how a Poor Law would remedy this anomalous position in regard to labour in the two countries? In spite of their Bills for the improvement of estates, it was perfectly notorious that whatever means they might take to increase the production of human food, or however much they might increase the breadth of tillage, the same want of employment would exist; for it was a fact, confirmed by reports made to that House, that in proportion as the cultivation of land was improved, the demand for agricultural labour decreased. It appeared by the report of a Commission appointed by the House of Commons a few years ago, that the quantity of food which required the labour of seven individuals in 1831, was capable of being produced by the labour of five individuals in 1841. Thus the very means adopted for improving Ireland, were calculated to increase the number of unemployed able-bodied labourers. He would instance the case of the county of Mayo to show the extent to which this increase was likely to proceed. In that county there were 46,000 farms, 44,000 of which were under fifteen acres. There were 67,000 able-bodied men who had only a sufficient quantity of food to subsist on for one day in four. In former times they might subsist on the conacre system, occasionally emigrating to England in harvest time; but what were they to do now? The potato crop had failed, and how were they to exist? They might, it was true, exist for a time in their own country; but it would only be by the total confiscation of the property upon which they were located. That, however, must come to an end, and then they would have no other alternative than either to die in the ditches, or else increase the pauperism of England by swelling the half-fed Irish population which composed the inhabitants of Whitechapel, in London, filled the cellars in Liverpool, and crowded the closes in Glasgow. With such a prospect before them, did it not become the imperative duty of the Government and of the Legislature to transfer these unfortunate people from their own unhappy homes to regions where health and wealth were before them? After looking over the catalogue of remedies which successive Legislatures had proposed for the evils of Ireland, it appeared to him that colonisation was one which must be ancillary to all the rest. The population on this side of the Atlantic was a population of poverty; on the other it was a population of wealth. Here, population was redundant in relation to capital and labour; on the other side, land was redundant in relation to capital and labour. The Under Secretary of State had said, that the proposed emigration was too expensive, and that if it were adopted it must he extended to England and Scotland; and its friends were prepared for advances to all parts of the country. The hon. Gentleman complained of the proposal of Mr. Godley, as taking 9,000,000l. of capital from Ireland. That was not the proposal; but it did include an income tax of 5,000,000l. to be raised in Ireland; and here he must ask, how much money was now being expended there? The estimates had been increased by 8,000,000l., and yet the Serbonian bog was still open and gaping for more. Taking into consideration, therefore, the large ex- penditure now going on, and the fact that notwithstanding the money, the hone and sinew of the country, was leaving her, he thought that whatever the proposal of his Friend (Mr. Godley) was, it would fall short of the expenditure which was now saddled upon the country. His proposal had reference not only to the country from which the colonists came, but also to the country to which they were to go; and he denied that in the end there would he any abstraction of capital, for it would be returned with interest. They proposed that a certain amount should he expended on public works, where the emigrants would earn the money to settle themselves on the land: they did not propose to shuffle out the paupers to the colonies, or to feed them from the Commissariat; but to take the surplus population from Ireland, and to absorb it in useful and reproductive labour in the colonies. And when the hon. Gentleman expressed apprehensions of so great a scheme of emigration, he wished him to read the despatch of Mr. Burley to Sir John Colebrooke, in which he said, that without bridges and roads the settlers in Canada had nothing to look forward to, except to provide for the daily necessities of their families or for some party of lumberers. There was a far different state of things in the United States; and one great object was to do away with the marked contrast between the two countries; for, whatever might be the settlers' principles of loyalty, they could not be satisfied with seeing on one side activity, and trade, and commerce, and the settler flourishing, and on the other nothing but absolute stagnation. The advocates of the scheme were not met with a denial of its merits or its necessity, but by a recapitulation of what the Government had done; and the hon. Gentleman objected to the inquiry, because considerable improvements had been already made. This was the old mode, and it appeared as if the Colonial Office had a set of stereotype speeches for each new comer, and that a speech used by an hon. Member on one side a year since, was to be used by an hon. Member on the other side the next year. But what had been done since the Motion of the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. C. Buller) in 1843? and if nothing had been done, what reason was there for the credit he then obtained? If that speech came home to them when it was delivered in the midst of unparalleled abundance and prosperity, how much more must it come home to them when they must cling to his re- commendations almost with the pertinacity of a dying man! They had been told that 117,000 emigrants had gone to British America this year; but this had not produced all the good which would flow from an efficient system. At present the emigration was comparatively of little use to British America, whether the stream flowed; to the country from which it flowed, as the condition of Ireland proved; or to the emigrants themselves. It was open to the chief of the objections urged by the hon. Gentleman, that the capital and enterprise of the country was chiefly lost, and that precisely those persons departed who had the greatest inclination to give increased employment. With respect to the objection raised to the great extent of the proposed emigration, he must remind the House that a well-regulated system of emigration was proved by Dr. Chalmers always to recruit its numbers; and yet it stopped imprudent marriages, introduced moral considerations, and prevented the population, when reduced, from increasing its numbers more than the capital and the means of subsistence increased. The hon. Gentleman had thrown in their teeth the experiment tried in 1825, and calculated the expense of settlement at 23l. a head; but he (Mr. Gregory) said, that the only expense was lending money to the colonial Legislatures to be employed in useful public works. If they were simply to feed the emigrants, as the noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies proposed on the 31st of December, 1836, he admitted that the whole expense would be lost, and the system would prove a failure. There was another objection raised in the bitter articles of the leading journal, The Times, on which he must also make some remark. The objection was, that they would reproduce in the new world the vices and the turbulence prevailing in the land which the Irish left; and the objection was so inviting, and attracted so much public attention, that he could not help adverting to it. Were it not even for the examples of a totally opposite character which his noble Friend had read from Judge Robinson's letters, he did not think that such an argument could be used by any gentleman who called himself a liberal politician; for they must recollect the course of legislation and the assertion that the cause of the turbulence in Ireland was the mode of government; and it seemed impossible to say that the vices of Ireland could never be eradicated, or that there was the one black spot which could only be rooted out by the destruction of the whole Celtic race. He did not believe that such an opinion was generally held; but it had attained much weight with the public, and was an objection to any system of emigration in which the Irish largely participated. For himself, he thought that if they gave the Irish a fair participation in the honours and the emoluments of the country in which they dwelt, they would not be less attached to the constitution than any other body of men. Heretofore they had been governed on sectarian principles at home, and had been employed in America in tasks which slaves would scarcely like to perform. But he had heard from Halifax that there were no colonists who did better than the Irish; and it must not be forgotten that in 1798 a body of Irish insurgents seized a vessel, and forced the master to run her on shore in North America; their wives and families afterwards joined them; they were now one of the most peaceful and prosperous colonies in that country; and he did not believe that the Executive and Legislative Councils of Newfoundland, though they were composed principally of Irish, could afford any imputation against their original country. He would only refer to one other objection—that the money should be employed to promote the happiness of the people at home, and the complaint that Canada or the grave was the alternative which the landlords offered the people. This was a false accusation. Providence had afflicted the nation with a pestilence— emigration was advocated as a relief—and he remembered that Mr. W. S. O'Brien, the leader of the Irish Party in 1838, declared he could not agree in any appeal to the patriotism of his countrymen to remain in a country where the supply was insufficient for their wants. It was especially out of regard to the welfare of the people themselves that this appeal was made to Her Majesty's Government, and he regretted that was made in vain.


observed, that the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had alluded to some measures and plans of colonisation; but the great difficulty he felt in speaking on the subject was, that no measure or plan had been proposed by the noble Lord opposite (the Earl of Lincoln). Throughout the whole of his speech the noble Lord seemed to be afraid lest the House should suppose that he suggested any plan. The noble Lord repeatedly said that he had no plan of his own to lay be- fore the House; but he proposed the appointment of an unpaid Commission to consider any plans that might be submitted to them. Although he concurred with the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Hawes) in admitting that the noble Lord had entirely avoided any display of party feeling, he must say that he could not feel much gratitude to the noble Lord for introducing this subject in the manner in which he had brought it under the notice of the House. He thought the course taken by the noble Lord, who had evidently given the subject most careful consideration, in stating that he was not prepared to propose any measure in order to carry out his views, was rather calculated to mislead the public, than to advance the cause of emigration. The noble Lord had entered into the distinction between colonisation and emigration — a distinction which he (Mr. V. Smith) must admit he was unable to understand. It appeared to him that colonisation was what hon. Gentleman opposite talked of, while emigration was the theme of hon. Gentleman on his own side—that colonisation was the Opposition subject, and emigration the Ministerial subject. Hon. Gentleman opposite appeared to be the advocates of colonisation, while hon. Members on his own side of the House were supporters of a little emigration. The right hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. C. Buller) and the hon. Member for Lambeth (Mr. Hawes), when they were in opposition, had talked of nothing but colonisation; but the moment they came over to that (the Ministerial) side of the House, they found colonisation impossible, and a little emigration was all they were prepared to dole out to the public; and it was not until the noble Lord (Lord Lincoln) had gone into opposition that he had suggested to the House a grand scheme of colonisation. Colonisation, in the time of the ancient Greeks, was well understood; enterprising and energetic men set out to acquire territories by conquest or by possessing themselves of unpeopled regions, and they became leaders of parties and governors of States. More recently—almost in our own times— under the pressure of political persecution, or for other reasons, persons had been led to quit this country for distant lands, where they had formed settlements and established States. But no such scheme had been undertaken by the Government. It was true, the New Zealand Company, and other similar associations, had attempted such projects; but they had never been undertaken by the Government. The noble Lord had not proposed any plan of this nature. Indeed, the nearest approach to such a proposition had been made by the right hon. Member for Liskeard, in his memorable speech in 1843. The noble Member for Falkirk, however, had not gone so far; but if that noble Lord intended to adopt as a precedent the course pursued by the right hon. Member for Liskeard, he would, no doubt, withdraw his Motion, for that had been the practice of all hon. Gentlemen who had brought this question under the notice of the House. The noble Lord had commenced his speech by saying that he considered colonisation might be advantageously adopted, with a view to improve the social condition of Ireland; and the noble Lord had referred to the measure proposed by the Government with a view to relieve that country. The Landed Property Bill had been passed; but another Bill to which the noble Lord had referred, the Waste Lands Improvement Bill, had been withdrawn — and why? Simply, he believed, because in the present state of the money market, and in the present state of feeling in this country, the British public would not hear of any other speculations on behalf of Ireland. During the present Session of Parliament the British public had come forward nobly and magnanimously, and had thrown their money down upon the soil of Ireland, that the poor people of that country might pick it up. The measures proposed by the Government had certainly been measures of humanity; but they had been the measures of seamen in a storm—throwing everything overboard in order to save the ship. The people of England, having consented to an enormous outlay for the relief of Ireland, were not prepared to engage in any uncertain schemes of speculative benefit to that country, till they had seen the effect of the Poor Law which had received the sanction of that House. He must say, with reference to that measure, that he could not help feeling great distrust of the Irish people; he could not help feeling that they were incapable of the honest exertion, the prudence, and the integrity, which were characteristics of the poor of this country. He did not think that the success of the experiment about to be made in Ireland would be promoted by adopting, as an necessary to the measures sanctioned by Parliament, an extensive scheme of colonisation; and certainly the adoption of such a scheme would not assist the people of this country in forming a judgment as to the success of the Irish Poor Law. The noble Lord had admitted, as all other hon. Gentlemen who had brought forward proposals on the subject had done, that a large scheme of colonisation would be most expensive. No one doubted that in this country there were too many people, while in the colonies there were too few; but if they attempted to establish a more just proportion in the population of the mother country and of the colonies, the question was, who was to bear the expense? The colonists could not sustain the expense; it must, therefore, be borne by the mother country; and this was one of the great difficulties attending the question. The noble Lord had alluded to certain colonies to which he suggested that colonists might be sent. He (the Earl of Lincoln) had expressed great doubts as to the Australian colonies and New Zealand; but he thought that something might be done in the way of colonisation at the Cape of Good Hope. He (Mr. V. Smith) remembered many years ago, that Sir G. Dampier gave a very unfavourable opinion of the prospects of colonisation at the Cape; and he thought the present circumstances of that colony were not likely to induce many persons to encounter the dangers to which they might be there exposed. He believed that during the last two years not more than 500 persons had emigrated each year to the Cape of Good Hope; and this fact showed that there was no very strong disposition among emigrants to resort to that colony. He considered that many persons fell into a great mistake in supposing that the Irish were bad colonists. He had received a letter from Mrs. Chisholm, a lady residing in Australia, who stated that, so far from being bad colonists, the Irish were the only persons upon whom she could depend for making expeditions into the interior of the country. The noble Lord opposite had proposed the appointment of a Commission to inquire into various plans of colonisation; and he had, in the first instance, referred to the plan of Mr. Wakefield. But that plan the noble Lord disposed of. [The Earl of LINCOLN: I said that it was not applicable to Canada.] Well, but the system had been tried in respect to South Australia: and the Commission to carry it out failed, not from any difficulty in the plan itself, but from the circumstance of great extravagance connected with it. The colony, however, was restored to great prosperity through the instrumentality of the governor who was selected for it, Captain Grey; and this was a proof that one of the most important duties devolving on the Government was the selection of good governors for the colonies. Captain Grey found South Australia bankrupt, and he left it flourishing; and he found New Zealand in a state of great difficulty, and it now promised to be as flourishing as any colony belonging to the British Crown. Mr. Wakefield's plan there would not suit the noble Lord. Then came Colonel Torrens's plan, and that the noble Earl objected to. Then came the plan of the hon. Member for Liskeard, to which the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down stuck with a tenacity greater than that of the hon. Member for Liskeard himself. The last of all these schemes was that of the present Secretary for the Colonies, who on the 31st of December, 1846, proposed the establishment of small villages by colonisation in Canada. That plan, in his opinion, was good; for if there were to be representative assemblies, they must begin by giving municipal institutions. Nothing could be more wise than the opinion of the noble Lord, that, in order to give municipal institutions, they must have classes congregated together in masses; and, therefore, it was the noble Lord's scheme to select places for villages with moderate populations. That scheme was excellent; but the noble Lord who proposed it withdrew it on the 29th of January, 1847, and the scheme was consequently abandoned. Therefore, there was no use for inquiring into that. With respect to Mr. Godley's plan, he thought that there was one part of it which Irish Members would not be glad of, for it included an income tax for Ireland. Thus, the noble Lord's Motion resulted into a demand for a Commission to inquire into plans which had all been declared by various authorities to be inefficient. Then, what was this unpaid Commission to inquire into? If appointed, it must extend its inquiries to the colonies; and he very much feared, as the Under Secretary for the Colonies had stated, that it would tend to prevent the wholesome emigration now going on to the colonies. He thought it was a most unfair description on the part of the noble Lord, when he spoke of emigration as the shovelling of papers from this country. [The Earl of LINCOLN: I borrowed the term.] The term had been so applied. Now, he thought that it was by the information afforded by the Government to emigrants —by the assistance given by the Government to them on their passage—that a bridge, as it were, was built from the mother country to the colonies. He thought that a great deal more might be done in this way; but the mode was not so incomplete as the noble Lord seemed to suppose. It was going on in a course which would be most desirable; and until the noble Lord had some large plan of his own, and could state the sums of money necessary for its execution, and the mode in which the noble Lord would locate the large masses of men to be sent out, he did not think that a safer course could be pursued than that which the Government was now pursuing. He thought that the speech of the noble Lord was calculated to interfere with the progress of this emigration by holding out large hopes to the people, who would otherwise be willing to act on the smaller means afforded them. He did not know whether the noble Lord meant to press his Motion to a division; but if the noble Lord did, he should, for the reasons he had stated, certainly vote against it.


Sir, I think the House may take it for granted, that whatever arguments could be adduced against the proposition of my noble Friend, have been brought forward by the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down. He is a gentleman of great acuteness, great ability, great knowledge of the subject, and great power of stating his views. He has the advantage of having served in the Colonial Office, and becoming acquainted with the details of this subject; and he possesses the other important advantage of retirement from office, thus being possessed of an opportunity of considering the question maturely—an opportunity which those who are engaged in the various details of office cannot command. The right hon. Gentleman having an active mind, official experience, and the inestimable advantage of leisure, has been enabled to consider this subject in all its bearings, and it is therefore to be supposed that he has brought forward against the proposition of my noble Friend the most forcible arguments. I now propose to review the arguments which the right hon. Gentleman adduced; and I take first in order, that which he has urged against those who in opposition take up the subject of colonisation. He says, that those who are in opposition, are always ready to take up the question, and call it colonisation; but the moment they take office, they immediately see many good reasons against colonisation, and the question in their hands dwindles into emigration—that all the grand hopes of colonisation held out by the plans of those in opposition, dwindle into the small realities of emigration when they get into office. What, I ask, is the reason of this? Is not one reason, that the duties of office are now so burdened with details, that it is impossible for those who have to consider those details, to make sufficient inquiries into the subject to enable them to bring forward an efficient measure? The right hon. Gentleman has stated, that Lord Howick proposed one, and that the Judge Advocate proposed another; that all their speeches were in favour of colonisation when they were not in office, but that when they obtained office they abandoned their schemes, and allowed them to dwindle into emigration plans. If that be so, then, I ask, is it not time to adopt some other course? Is it not time to see whether or not some plan might not be adopted which would be practicable, if the magnificent plans of those who are in opposition are found to be impracticable by those in office? If that be so, is it not time that we should adopt some alternative such as my noble Friend suggests, between the large promises of the Opposition, and the small propositions of the Government? The argument of the right hon. Gentleman is, in fact, the strongest argument in favour of the adoption of another and a better system, than that which now prevails. Well, what is his second argument? It is this: He says, that at present we conduct our emigration badly; that we leave it to individuals; that those individuals go without proper concert to other countries; and that they go without any plan such as they formerly had when persons of talent went out, and surrounded themselves with their dependants and friends, and established themselves in different colonies. That, he says, was the plan which was adopted in ancient times; and, if it were so, does it not establish a sufficient ground for an inquiry, whether we should not adopt a plan for the establishment of a better constituted system of emigration? The right hon. Gentleman says, that there are many grievances connected with our present system, and that we failed, not because of the lapse of time, since a more successful system was adopted; not because of the change of circumstances—for he states, that a neighbouring country, within a short sail of this, conducts its plan of colonisation, not emigration, on a principle of which he approves—a principle something similar to that which was adopted in Pennsylvania, namely, taking out spiritual conductors with the emigrants, and providing that they shall go in an aggregate and social character. His next argument was this—that if the noble Lord will withdraw his Motion, he will just be pursuing the course which has always been pursued on former occasions. He says, "A Gentleman brings forward a Motion, disturbs the public mind, makes a very long speech, shows himself to be a perfect master of the subject, leads the public to believe that really we are foregoing great advantages, which by a little attention we might realize; but he withdraws his Motion in despair, in consequence of discouragement on the part of the Government;" and he says, that if my noble Friend follows that course, he will be following in the beaten and unprofitable track. I must confess, I never heard a more inconclusive reason why a Motion should be withdrawn; and yet, that was his third argument, for the right hon. Gentleman proceeded, like a great orator, from one position to another, reserving his climax to the last. I think, if he had left the argument there, it would have been conclusive. But not so; so determined was he that there should not be a loophole of escape from him, that he went on to review the course which other projectors of plans of emigration had taken. He said, first of all, there was the scheme of the Judge Advocate, who laid down general principles of emigration; but then, he said, the Government were wise enough to challenge that right hon. Gentleman to propose his particular scheme, and he was unwise enough to fall into that trap, and propose a plan of emigration which was referred to the Colonial Office; and the Colonial Office having a good deal of official experience, contrived to damage the plan in all its details; and having proved that this was the cause of the failure of the Judge Advocate, the right hon. Gentleman blames my noble Friend for taking warning by that example, and not being prepared with the plan which the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary (Mr. Hawes) expected—which he was greatly disappointed at not receiving—and which, not having, he was obliged to say, towards the middle of his speech, "A deputation waited upon some Member of the Government and suggested a plan, which I should be too happy on the present occasion to have the opportunity of attributing to the noble Lord, and then disposing of it," But my noble Friend took warning by that example, though still believing that there is a strong impression on the part of the public, that a plan might be devised, and that you need not have a long roving commission; for you will find very able men, now in the colonies, I apprehend, who will be able to give you a good deal of information with respect to the feeling of the colonies upon the subject—more, perhaps, than the hon. Gentleman is aware of— and only on this account, that the hon. Gentleman is so overwhelmed by having the charge of the practical details of some thirty or forty colonies, that he really has not the opportunity of making those inquiries which are necessary. Then, as to the reflection upon the Government, I do think, all our discussions with reference to the state of Ireland, have been conducted with an absence of party feeling, which must have convinced the Government that we would not pander to any such disposition. There has been a full recognition of the difficulties under which the Government labour: even if they fail, every disposition has been shown to impute their failure, not to negligence or want of ability, but to the force of circumstances which no human ingenuity could control; and it is not likely, that at the close of the Session, a Motion would be brought forward implying censure upon them. With respect to the noble Lord at the head of the Colonial Department, I will say that for experience and ability to form a judgment upon a matter of this kind, I know no person who ever held that office upon whom in that respect I should be more unwilling to pass or to imply a reflection. But really the reason why we have not addressed ourselves practically to this matter is, that it is almost impossible for the Government to make those full inquiries which are absolutely necessary. But I was diverted from following the right hon. Gentleman: after he had done with the Judge Advocate, he came to Earl Grey. Now, if he had said, "Earl Grey has been a most successful proposer of plans: he is in office, he has proposed plans that are now in operation, and will probably be crowned with success;" then I could have understood the reason why a Commission should not be appointed: but, says the right hon. Gentleman, "the Earl Grey, the Secretary for the Colonies, absolutely proposed a plan in December last which he found it necessary to abandon in January." Why, if the Secretary of State himself, with all his access to official information, with the command and with the facilities which his office give, proposed a plan of emigration within a short period after his accession to power which he found it necessary to give up, surely that, though no reason why we should abandon the consideration of the question of colonisation, is a decisive proof of the difficulty of practically dealing with the subject. Then the right hon. Gentleman turns to the Irish Members, and he says there will be 9,000,000l. wanted for the perfection of Mr. Godley's plan. I do not think it at all likely they will be called upon for 9,000,000l. to carry out Mr. Godley's or any other plan; but this is of importance to us, that the Irish Members have said in discussion, "We expect such benefits will result from opening to Irishmen an access to other countries, that we are willing to take upon us the charge of that experiment." The right hon. Gentleman says, that in the present state of incumbrances upon landed property, in consequence of the relief rate for the public works, he doubts if the Irish will be able to pay that 9,000,000l. They may not be able to pay that sum; but still it may be possible to realize some advantage. Even if you open an avenue to the departure of 300,000 persons, instead of 2,000,000, and locate them in a position of which they shall be able to report favourably, you are doing ten times more for the advantage of Ireland than if you had sent out 2,000,000 at once. In my opinion, any sudden transport or emigration of 2,000,000 from Ireland, we being uncertain of the issue of that experiment, would do little good. But if you begin with even 40,000; if you overcome prejudices; if you settle a small number in a remote country where they are enabled to make a favourable report; and if thus you open a permanent and constantly progressing outlet for the population in Ireland, then you will in my opinion not only be laying a foundation for the cure of evils prevailing in that country, but establishing new bonds of connexion between this empire and those colonies. It is most gratifying, I think, that such remittances have been made from Irishmen settled in Canada and the United States, for the purpose of aiding their distressed countrymen at home. I think it is most honourable to their character, and I feel that it is most encouraging to colonisation. It is showing that Irishmen are not inferior to the men of any other country. Why we have been told to-night, that the lady said, they must get Paddy to lead the way in Australia. And if you can enable the people of Ireland in periods of distress to draw upon their fellow-countrymen in distant lands, and prevail upon those countrymen to invite them there, I say nothing can be more encouraging to emigration. I must here also say, I think the conduct of citizens of the United States, in remitting the contributions which they sent across the Atlantic, does entitle them to the expression of our approbation and our thanks. It is not the amount of money that has been sent over—this country might have contributed the money; what I prize is the charitable and friendly motive from which it has been done. It is a proof that there is a sympathy between the Anglo-Saxon race on this side of the water, and on the other. There may be some persons who have done it for less praiseworthy ends; persons may have come over here, and made parade of bringing sums of money, but that is not to prejudice us against the rest. This, I know, that there have been remitted unostentatiously, and purely from charitable motives and feelings, to members of the Society of Friends, sitting in Dublin on a relief committee, remitted from parties who never expected their names to be mentioned, supplies of food to the value of 57,000l. I was so informed by a gentleman, whose name I will mention, Mr. Jonathan Pym, who has been making great exertions for the relief of the distress in Ireland; and who stated to me that to that body sitting in Dublin, consisting, so far as its management is concerned, though not so far as contributions are concerned, of members of the Society of Friends, not less than 57,000l. had been sent by citizens of the United States, probably a great many of them members of the Society of Friends, for the relief of that distress; and, as I have said, from no other motive whatever except the dictates of humanity. Now, I do hope that the noble Lord will bear in mind the conduct which we have pursued with respect to him and his Government upon these questions; and if he thinks there is really a ground for doubt upon this subject, that he will give the benefit of that doubt to a proposal for inquiry, which is suggested for the purpose of facilitating the adoption of some plan upon this subject. It is not for the purpose of any triumph over a Government which is placed in difficulties with regard to Ireland; but I entreat the noble Lord to consider what is the evidence we have of the state of that country—what a prospect there is of the failure of the potato crop; and even if not of that, yet of such a heavy demand upon property for the purpose of supporting poverty in Ireland, that the Government of the noble Lord will be perplexed with a choice between two lines of conduct, either strictly to enforce the law, or to abandon all claim to that which is due. I do think that the abandonment of that claim will involve greater evil than the mere loss of the money; I should not half so much regret the loss of the money as I should fear the consequences of teaching the people to draw largely upon the fund placed within their reach in the expectation that when the pinching time of payment comes, the claim will he remitted. It is not fair towards this country. I believe that our best plan would have been, if we could have foreseen all that has taken place, for this country to make up its mind what sum it should absolutely give—to say, "Of the 8,000,000l. we are ready to give 5,000,000l. for England towards the relief of your distress; provide the other 3,000,000l., nut we will not place England in the relation of a creditor towards Ireland." I deprecate that position—for this country to have a very heavy claim upon Ireland for the repayment of money. I would much rather that a sum had been absolutely given ab initio, than there should be any sort of secret understanding that it was not to be repaid, or any expectation on the part of the Irish people that they might deal very liberally with these funds, because the time of repayment might never come. We have had experience enough to make us dread the periodical spectacle of 1,000,000 or 1,500,000 of people absolutely starving; a spectacle so disgraceful, and its consequences so replete with danger and insecurity of life and property, that we are bound to provide that the people shall not be left to starve; but, believing it to be absolutely necessary to give some new stimulus, and feeling that we must look to placing the landowner and occupier there in a new position, I cannot help thinking that the mass of destitution will be so great for some time to come, that if any means can be devised for facilitating the operation of the measures which have had the assent of this House, those means should be carefully adopted. Is not this subject, at any rate, worth inquiring into? It is proved that there are 2,000,000 of people for whom there is not now profitable employment, and who must for some time to come continue to be a heavy burden; it is known at the same time that you have magnificent colonies on the other side of the water—6,000,000 of unoccupied acres in one district. Now, put these facts together—that in Ireland, the nearest part of your dominions to America, you have this mass of unemployed population, and that on the other side of the Atlantic you have magnificent provinces imperfectly peopled. If you can add to their population by measures grateful to the colonies, you will be materially adding to the strength of these provinces of the British Crown. It is admitted that the Government will have forthwith to devise some satisfactory plan of emigration; and it is not too much to ask that the Government will consent to this resolution. It is from no want of confidence in the Government that I support it, because the resolution leaves in their own hands the appointment of the Commissioners, who would merely inquire into the subject, and report whether some progress had not been made, and should not further be made, to relieve Ireland, and at the same time strengthen our colonies, by sending thither the redundant population of Ireland. We want the adoption of no scheme, but only that the subject should be inquired into. It is truly said in the report of your Emigration Commissioners, that, connected with Australia, one peculiarity is, that emigration to that colony entirely originated with the Government. You have here a colony four times the distance that Canada is from the mother country, and hear what those Commissioners say of the result:— Of the emigration to Australia, one peculiarity has been that it entirely originated with Government. Usually the part of the Government, for obvious reasons, has been to follow in the course of private enterprise, and supply any amount of direction or control which circumstances may require. But no one ever thought it worth while to provide accommodation to Australia for emigrants of the humblest class; all seemed to feel that even on the most economical scale, persons of that description were never likely to be able to pay the expense of their own conveyance to the furthest settlement on the globe. It was only after the Government had resolved in 1831 to try the experiment of disposing of its lands in Australia by sale, and applying the proceeds to emigration, that shipowners were induced by communications from the Government to make the experiment of providing steerage passages of the cheapest description. The price, which had never before been less than from 35l. to 40l., was then at once reduced to 20l. And we may mention here, that in the course of subsequent experience, it has sometimes been reduced, when a large emigration was in progress, to 15l. to New South Wales, and even so low, under peculiar circumstances, as 12l. and 13l. to Western Australia and South Australia.… In order to show how far the attention bestowed on Australian emigration led to improvements in the art of conveying the people successfully, we may be permitted so far to enter into detail as to mention, that in the Government emigration which falls within our own knowledge, there has been a progressive and unceasing diminution in the rate of mortality; and that this rate, which in 1838 was so high as 4.84 per cent, was in 1839 reduced to 2.71 per cent; and in a small emigration last year to South Australia was no more than .62 per cent. In 641 souls, the only deaths were of three children and one infant. We believe that the passage to Australia may now be made by large bodies of the labouring classes with less risk of death by disease, than amongst the same number of persons living on shore in England. Why, give me three respectable gentlemen who shall be in the entire confidence of the Government, such men as Colonel Torrens and Mr. Hutt, who have watched the progress of emigration to South Australia, and who know the difficulties it experienced, and let them say whether it is not possible for you to conduct an emigration upon the same principle to Canada and Nova Scotia as to the other colonies where it has succeeded. If they show that this is possible, then let the Government proceed to take the necessary steps to carry it into effect. The right hon. Gentleman says that emigration to South Australia failed at first, but that you sent out a good governor; that through Captain Grey all difficulties had been overcome; and that by his energy he had converted what had been a colony of despairing paupers into a colony which boasted an affluent and prosperous population. Well, why can you not have a good governor in Canada also? You have sent Captain Grey to New Zealand, and I have no doubt he will make it prosper as well as South Australia. Be it so. Then, the original difficulty to the success of emigration has been inherent in the character of the governors of our colonies, rather than in the plan of colonisation. I am convinced that there are no difficulties that resolution and good sense will not overcome. Surely, then, you can find other Governor Greys in the Queen's dominions who might conduct an experiment in Canada upon the principle that has succeeded in South Australia. You have one now in Canada who will no doubt show equal intelligence, equal energy and resolution, to Captain Grey. You may devise a scheme which will enable you to look forward to the willing consent of our fellow-subjects in the colonies; and under Lord Elgin there is no reason why emigration to Canada should not be as prosperous as to South Australia. There are many causes in its favour. The passage is cheaper, the facilities for the passage are greater, and the feeling of common association is quite as strong. I am convinced that the addition to the prosperity of the colony will be at least as great; but if, as I believe will be the case, you infuse a loyal and grateful population into the Canadas by this means, then my confidence in the permanence of the connection of the Canadas with this country will be not only increased, but will be so confirmed that I believe it will be perpetual. You should take measures for a continually fresh infusion of colonists, who should be received into the nucleus of the older colonists, and live in relations of affection with them. I say nothing as to the past opinion which hon. Gentlemen may have expressed upon colonisation. I trust that the noble Lord will defer to what is, I think, the general sense of the House, and enable us to try whether, after repeated failures, we cannot devise some plan in the present imminent crisis of Ireland which will relieve her of her redundant population, and transfer to our distant colonies a people grateful for their escape from present danger, and attached to their Queen and constitution.


I am afraid that the course I am about to take will give some confirmation to the suspicions and remonstrances of my right hon. Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. V. Smith). I regret that they should be so confirmed; but after the opportunities I have had of considering the difficulties of the subject, and of being acquainted with the information received by the Government during the last few months, I do feel bound to make this statement, even after the modifications made by the noble Lord with regard to the principles of colonisation. I will not enter into such portions of the statement of the noble Lord as referred to the number of destitute poor in Ireland, but go at once to that part of his subject more immediately connected with the present Motion. The noble Lord, I think, took a view not altogether just, either to the Government to which he belonged, or to the Government that followed it. Be- cause by both Governments this subject of emigration and colonisation has not been left so entirely neglected and unsupported as might have been supposed from the noble Lord's speech. We have not left ourselves merely to the throwing out of these destitute poor upon the colonies without the means of subsistence; and it has not been reserved to this day to take measures to facilitate and render useful the removal of a redundant population from the shores of the United Kingdom to the shores of our colonial possessions. In the first place, we have an Emigration Commission, to the three gentlemen composing which, and to whose intelligence, the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has paid so just a compliment. These three gentlemen, then, have been employed in the public service watching that emigration under the Secretary of State, and taking care that it is conducted as usefully as possible to those who have the means to emigrate. The law also provides, that the vessels conveying emigrants shall be of certain dimensions; that the supply of provisions shall be sufficient; and that the vessels shall be seaworthy, in order that the lives of the emigrants may not be unnecessarily exposed. All this has been provided by law. The Emigration Commissioners have agents in different parts of the United Kingdom, who give every possible aid and protection to emigrants proceeding either to South Australia or to Canada; and not only is this the case, but the number of agents has been considerably increased during the present year, and since the present Government came into office. Not less than twenty cases have occurred in which accidents having happened to vessels before they cleared the port, emigrants have had the means afforded them by these agents of going to some other port, and by exciting the charity of the affluent they have been enabled to proceed to their destination. So far with regard to the care taken of emigrants leaving this country. But when they arrive in Canada, there are means taken, as originally proposed by me when Secretary of State for the Colonies, and a tax imposed in the province, so that those who are sick shall be taken care of in hospitals till they are able to proceed to their destination. Those able to proceed are forwarded on their journey to those parts of Canada where their labour is required, and where they are immediately able to earn ample means of subsistence. It is not true, therefore, that the whole question of emigration has been neglected by the Government or the Parliament of this country. And let us consider how means are provided in regard to other parts of the expenses attending emigration, for which the Government and the Legislature have not appropriated funds. Many go at their own charges, and many also go from parts of England and Scotland, as well as of Ireland, who are furnished by their landlords with a sum of money sufficient to carry them to their destination. This year many large sums have been applied to that purpose. Many, again, proceed to the colonies, aided with sums from relations and friends who have already emigrated; and I believe that this year 200,000l. have been remitted for that purpose. In the course of the present year no less than 120,000 persons have been provided with the means of emigrating from the shores of the United Kingdom to the United States and Canada alone. That of itself is a very considerable emigration. But while it is so, let it be considered that it is not an emigration which is viewed with entire satisfaction on the other side of the Atlantic. I mention that, because when we come to discuss the particular Motion of the noble Lord, and the view I take of that Motion, we shall have to bear in mind that it is often of the very greatest importance —perhaps it is a matter of the greatest importance of all—that we should not follow a course likely to indispose other countries, whether our own provinces or not, to receive our emigrants by suggesting the idea that we want to get rid of the rubbish of our population; that, besides those whom we would gladly retain, there are others whom we would not gladly retain, as in mind and body fit to benefit their country. We know that in the United States measures have been taken—and the noble Lord (the Member for Lynn) put some questions to me on the subject—requiring the masters and owners of vessels carrying emigrants to give certain guarantees that they should not become a burden on the State when they landed; whereby a considerable check was placed upon immigration into the United States. These precautions are taken both at Boston and New York, and they may be taken in other States of the Union. In a private letter from the Governor General of Canada to my noble Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies, that noble Lord states that the people of Canada, knowing the sense and shrewdness of their neighbours in the United States, seemed to think that if the latter had taken precautions in reference to emigrants, it would be wise to take similar precautions in Canada—that there must be danger in a great amount of emigration, such as was anticipated—and the question was raised whether they ought not to take precautions, and impose checks and restrictions upon the transfer of their soil of emigrants, of the same class as that against which the regulations adopted in the United States were directed. The Governor of Nova Scotia, in a letter dated April 1, said— Extreme privation and misery awaited those who might come to the colony, nor could they be assisted by their friends who preceded them, for they were found to labour under as great necessity. The Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick writes a despatch, in which he gives an account of the views entertained by the Legislature of New Brunswick, stating, that a Bill had been brought in relative to waste lands, and providing for the location of settlers; but, with every favourable disposition on the part of the Legislature to entertain the views of the Government, the design had been abandoned, and a Committee appointed to make inquiries on the subject. It was considered that distress and failure would follow the location of inexperienced emigrants; and the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick added that he had no expectation that any considerable number of emigrants could be employed in the province. You have the fact that the emigration has already been unusually large. May and June being the months in which the greater proportion of emigrants proceed to the colonies, we find that up to the middle of May the number who have left amounted to 120,0000; and we have reason to believe that the whole emigration for the year will not fall short of 200,000 persons. We have the testimony of the Governor of Nova Scotia, the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick, and the Governor General of Canada, that while there is a disposition to receive those emigrants, there is at the same time an apprehension that their number may be too great for the labour in the province, and a doubt whether any facilities ought to be given for their introduction. In these particular circumstances I should be very sorry to do what might countenance the idea that we are disposed to take measures which would have the effect of throwing vast numbers of emigrants, not upon the shores of the United States— for they have taken care to provide against the difficulty—hut upon the shores of the British provinces of America, which have not yet made laws to prevent their hospitality being abused. Whatever resolution the House may pass, it would he most unwise, and it would obstruct the object of the noble Lord, if we countenanced the opinion that we were about to give effect to some very extensive scheme, founded chiefly on our desire not to be burdened with numbers of persons without subsistence in this country, instead of the desire to make provision for those persons, combined with views to the advantage of the colonies. I must remind the House that the plan of Mr. Godley, which has been recommended to me for consideration, not, I must say, for adoption, and which I was told was to be the foundation of the noble Lord's Motion, though the noble Lord, with great discretion, refused to follow it, is accompanied by the statement of its author, that little permanent good would accrue to Ireland, unless in the course of two years 2,000,000 people emigrated. Now only imagine the effect of a large emigration from this country, to be followed by an emigration to the extent of 2,000,000 in the course of the next two years. It is evident there would be no employment for them; they are destitute at home, and there would be no humanity, no policy, in sending them destitute to the other side of the Atlantic. There is a consideration connected with this subject which is very well stated in a despatch, dated April the 1st, from my noble Friend the Earl of Elgin. He refers to the interesting and numerous accounts which have been published as to settlers in the backwoods, and the hardships they have undergone. He speaks of the want of means for rendering the resources of the country available. "We hear," he says, "of bread being scarce where corn is cheap and abundant;" and the reason assigned is the difficulties arising from the scarcity of the mills and the badness of the roads. Are not those difficulties which remain to be remedied? It would be impossible for the Government of this country duly to provide for so many emigrants in the remote districts of Canada, and equally so for the provincial Government of the colony. The gradual progress of civilization, assisted by the application of the resources of this country, would effect the object as well as, under the circumstances, it would be possible to effect it; as well as it has been effected in the remote districts of the United States during the last twenty years. But when it is said, here are 2,000,000 people in Ireland, who ought to be provided for in the colonies—Jet them be conveyed to a distant hemisphere; the person who makes such a proposition does not consider that, during the three or four years that would be occupied in effecting the object, practical difficulties would arise which could not be overcome—difficulties of how to provide those people with the means of living, and of carrying on even the most ordinary trades, or the pursuits of agriculture. I think, Sir, this is a reason, not why we should desist from the consideration of further means of colonisation, but why any of us who are connected with the Government of the country, or any of those who take a leading part in the debates in this House, should not hold out expectations anything like those which some of these writers have held out—that while we might state our desire to promote colonisation—while we might look to it in conjunction with the Poor Law and other measures as likely to supply substantial assistance—we should at the same time say to the people of this country or of Ireland—"Do not suppose that the Government can at once give you ships to cross the Atlantic;" and that we should not say to our faithful fellow-subjects in North America, or even to our friends and allies the citizens of the United States, who have behaved so nobly towards us, that because there is a superabundance of population in this country, we are therefore determined to transfer our burden to them, regardless altogether of the mischiefs we might inflict on them. With regard to the Motion of the noble Lord, I have one remark to make, founded on that very despatch (which will be given to this House), written by my noble Friend at the head of the Colonial Department, and dated on the 1st of April, 1847, and which imposes on him, or would rather impose on me, if it were in my inclination to oppose the address of the noble Lord, a very great difficulty. My noble Friend says in that despatch— I have only to add, that Her Majesty's Government share in the strong desire which has been so generally expressed, to promote the adoption of some well-considered and systematic plan of colonisation in British America, believing that this would be attended with great benefit both to the colonies and to the mother country. The noble Earl's Motion is— That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty praying that She will take into Her most gracious consideration the means by which Colonisation may be made subsidiary to other measures for the improvement of the social condition of Ireland; and by which, consistently with full regard to the interests of the colonies themselves, the comfort and prosperity of those who emigrate may be effectually promoted. Now, the Government having declared, through my noble Friend, their wish and desire to promote the adoption of a systematic and well-considered plan of colonisation, I certainly could not resist a Motion such as that of the noble Lord, which professes only to express on the part of the House the same desire. But the noble Earl has not affixed that interpretation to his Motion; and if I do not vote against that Motion, I must at the same time tell the noble Earl candidly that I do not agree in the interpretation which he has put upon it, and which seemed to be adopted by the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir R. Peel), though not quite to the extent implied by the noble Earl. The noble Earl proposed that a Commission should be appointed to inquire further as to the means to be adopted for a systematic colonisation. Now, with regard to a great portion of the facts of the question, as to the destitution existing in Ireland, for instance, it is quite unnecessary that any Commission should be appointed; we have had Commissions in former years, and with regard to the facts of the present year, abundant information has been laid before the House. As to information relating to colonisation, I should conceive that the best information that could be obtained, and that remains now to be obtained, is to be got from our British American colonies. I remember that one gentleman (I think it is Mr. Godley himself) suggests that the Members of the unpaid Commission proposed should go over Canada and hold public meetings in different parts of the colony, explaining to the people their plans of colonisation, and speaking for the assent of those meetings. Now, it seems to me that nothing could be much more unsatisfactory than such a course—that persons should be called together by the town crier to assemble and hear plans of colonisation, not being told that any tax would be imposed on them, having none of the duty or responsibility of legislators as regards the execution of such plans. Of course, such meetings would come to resolutions in favour of those plans, as public meetings generally do after having heard speeches in favour of any particular project; and you would have some forty or fifty of such meetings approving of the plan or plans proposed, but without having properly considered the details. If you want to get valuable opinions, you should take, first, the opinion of the Governor General and Council; and, as we have talked of the merits of other governors, I am bound to say that no man could be more capable than Lord Elgin of laying before the Government and this House a distinct view, whether of the general policy of such a measure of colonisation, or of its details, or of the measures that would be required to carry it out effectively. I think next it would be desirable to have the opinion of experienced persons in the Executive Council, as well as that also of the Provincial Assembly. They should be called on for their opinion. How could that be done? Not by the new Commission proposed. What authority would they have? What power to call either on the Executive Council or the Legislative Assembly of Canada to give such opinions? They could have no connexion or transactions with them whatever. It would be necessary that such an inquiry should come from the Crown, and through those organs of the Crown in the province who are accustomed to transact business with those executive and legislative bodies. Therefore I think a separate Commission would not be necessary or useful in this respect. Well, would it answer the purpose of inquiry in this country? I think it would be unnecessary, because, as the right hon. Gentleman truly said, you have three gentlemen of considerable experience who have devoted themselves year after year to this subject, who are in possession of all ordinary information upon it, and who can call before them any person in this country whose opinions would be of practical weight, such as persons connected with the different companies and land societies, and other persons connected with Canada, who will give them all the information they want. Therefore in this respect there is no necessity for the new Commission. There is also another objection to it. The noble Lord has referred to several plans. His reference to them I do not consider supplies him with very encouraging precedents; for he says they were framed most of them by men of considerable talent; yet, when they were examined by men of practical authority, they were shown to be unfitted for the object of sound colonisation. A better speech, too, on the subject of colonisation than that made by my right hon. Friend the Judge Advocate, when he sat on the other side of the House, I never heard in my life. But when the plan he proposed was sent out to Canada, it was examined and revised by Lord Metcalfe, who gave reasons which satisfied Lord Stanley and his Colleagues that such a plan ought not to be adopted. Again, my noble Friend at the head of the Colonial Department, when he came into office, sent for several persons connected with the colonies, and explained to them his plan. They pointed out faults in detail in his plan of establishing villages, which showed him that it would not succeed; and he at once abandoned the plan without asking the Government to proceed further with it. Mr. Godley's plan also is generally condemned here, and universally condemned in Canada. Yet these which I have enumerated, were three of the plans which the noble Earl mentioned. But if you had the separate Commission proposed, and they were to go through these plans, I cannot help thinking, that, having been specially appointed for the purpose of furthering some plan of colonisation, and not having on their shoulders the necessity of asking Parliament for the financial resources necessary to carry it out, and having the highest opinion of their own wisdom, they might frame perhaps a very fine paper plan, which it would cost some millions to carry out, leaving it to the Government of the day to bear the onus either of presenting it to Parliament at such a cost, or of being open to the imputation of neglecting the recommendations of the Commission. For these reasons, therefore, I think it far better, that if the principle involved in this resolution be adopted at once, the plan, for the present, at least, should be left entirely in the hands of the Executive Government. I am quite ready to say, as my noble Friend has already said in his despatch, that we wish "to promote the adoption of some well-considered and systematic plan of colonisation in British America." I should say that we are quite ready to direct the Governors of each of our British American provinces to consult the legislative bodies and the executive bodies as to those plans which are most likely to be useful to the colonies, and to which they will most readily lend an ear. I believe that without their aid and assistance—that unless we have their hearty feeling and co-operation —no plan can hope to be successful. I am quite ready to say, that we shall lay the whole result of these recommendations on the Table of the House; at the same time giving the opinion of the Government upon them in another Session of Parliament. I suppose the noble Lord does not expect—I am sure he is far too able and discreet to suppose—that any plan can be adopted in the course of the present Session of Parliament, or that we should attempt to check the stream of emigration which is so plentifully flowing into our American and other colonies. Until after communication with those colonies, no full information can be obtained. Of all the plans that have been under consideration, that which appears to me to be the most practical, is that of aiding and assisting public works in those provinces to which emigration is likely to be directed; but I do not think that the adoption of such a plan depends merely upon general maxims, or upon abstract policy on the subject of emigration. I think at this time, with the difficulties in the money market—with the immense absorption of capital in the construction of railroads in the United Kingdom—to ask the House for a fresh drain of money and a large diversion of capital, in order to aid public works in British North America, would be an inopportune and an unsuitable proposal for Government to make. I, therefore, think it is not a proposal which we ought to adopt merely because of its abstract wisdom or justice, if it is not suited to the particular time at which it is made; but that it is far better than any of those plans for making villages and collecting emigrants into small communities, I am fully persuaded. I am persuaded of it, not from any reasoning in my own mind on the subject, but because I understand it to be the unanimous testimony of all who are acquainted with the progress of our colonies in North America. They say, that if you send out able-bodied men who can obtain wages whether in farm labour or on roads and public works, and who, by earning good wages, may come in time to be possessed of little properties, those men will do well, and they may finally become useful settlers and good subjects, and promote the colonisation of the colony; but if you send out men whose habits in the United Kingdom unfit them for such a life, to form small communities in the back woods of Canada, you will find that your settlements will fail. Their want of experience, their want of knowledge—those deficiencies to which my noble Friend has alluded in his despatch—the difficulty of having a plough or a spade mended, or their corn ground—all these difficulties occurring in a new settlement would dispirit them in the beginning of their career. Such being the case, while I fully agree in the opinion which has been stated by my noble Friend in his despatch, I agree likewise in the sentiment which follows it, where, speaking of a certain measure, he says— But, great as are the advantages of such a measure, still we must look to the evils which must flow from the hasty adoption of an ill-matured or impracticable scheme; nor do I think it possible to adopt any scheme without the hearty concurrence of the provincial assemblies. That contains fully my opinion on this point. I am quite ready to assent to an Address nearly in the words of my noble Friend's despatch; but I am not ready— I must tell the noble Lord freely—to advise the Crown to appoint a Commission for this special object. It would give rise to extravagant expectations on this side of the Atlantic, and equally extravagant apprehensions on the other; and I think the result would be, that a Commission would lay before us a plan, which, however specious in appearance, would hardly bear the sifting which a full consideration by practical men of business would give to it. I think, therefore, it would be far better that the subject should be left in the hands of the Executive Government; fully agreeing with the noble Lord in the object he has in view—fully admitting the ability, the temper, the moderation of the speech with which he introduced his Motion; giving him the fullest credit for a wish not in any mode to embarrass the Government, or put any party obstacles in their way; and also giving him the fullest credit for wishing to aid and release the country from the difficulties which surround it.


wished to be allowed to state in a few words the reasons why he supported the Motion of the noble Lord, without laying himself open to the imputations which were involved in the speech of the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. V. Smith). The noble Lord who had just sat down, had stated, that his opinions on this subject had been modified by the practical difficulties which surrounded the subject. He knew from experience, however, that such a change of opinion, when announced by persons who had acceded to office, were generally supposed to be forced upon them by the circumstances of their position, and not to arise from an unbiassed consideration of the circumstances of the case. It was on this ground merely, that he wished to see the appointment of an impartial Commission, the authority of which would give weight to its opinion, and which could have no interest in shrinking from the discharge of the onerous duty, and no preconceived opinions to abandon. The noble Lord had also said, and he believed with perfect truth, that if his noble Friend (the Earl of Lincoln) considered that nothing had been done on the subject of emigration by the present and preceding Governments, he did them great injustice. He was glad to hear that argument from the noble Lord; he took it as an acknowledgment of what was due to that noble Lord (Lord Stanley), under whom he (Mr. Hope) had served, for the pains that noble Lord had taken in the matter. It had been said, that any great scheme of emigration would speedily put an end to voluntary emigration. It certainly was not his opinion that the appointment of a Commission would have the effect of arresting the progress of voluntary emigration—he believed, that nothing of the sort would stop the emigration now proceeding. Every one disposed to emigrate from Ireland, would, if able to do so, not lose a moment in quitting that country. Every one who had means of his own with which to emigrate, would now use those means for that purpose. It was no answer to the proposition of his noble Friend to say, that the effect of it would be to land great numbers upon the shores of America, in a condition of want and beggary, because it would produce no such results. With respect to granting land to the poorer order of emigrants, he must be allowed to say, that he thought that would be much better done by the authority of a Commission, than by anything that the Executive Government could accomplish. The decision by an impartial Commission, upon questions relating to emigration, would always have more weight than any order or regulation that the Executive Government might make. The hon. Gentleman opposite, the Under Secretary for the Colonies, referred to the probable expense which an extensive system of emigration might occasion. He was not prepared to say, that an extensive plan of emigration would not be attended with expense; but he must beg to remind the House, that the process of emigration was one, which, when well regulated, could not fail to operate healthfully upon the whole community; and he therefore thought that the expense ought to be regarded as a secondary consideration. It would he impossible to found colonies without considerable expense; but it was an expense extremely well bestowed. In supporting the Motion of his noble Friend, he did by no means wish it to be understood that he regarded it as one leading to no expense. The existing condition of Ireland had already led to very great expense; the question, therefore, was one of comparative cost; but the language which he always held, was, that with the usual expense, colonies would be generally successful. Amongst the questions which the present discussions brought under their notice, that of comparative expense was one. They might ask themselves, would the comparative benefit to Ireland justify the proposed expenditure? He thought it would; and upon that ground he was prepared to support the Motion of his noble Friend. He should not go through all the topics which had been referred to, in the course of the speech which the House had heard from the hon. Member for Lambeth; but he thought himself justified in hoping—upon the grounds now laid before them—that they might safely and advantageously give their assent to the Motion of his noble Friend; and he ventured to express this opinion with the more confidence when he recollected that the noble Earl now at the head of the Colonial Department had intimated an intention of proposing, and, if possible, of carrying out a large scheme of emigration. If the noble Earl should act upon that intention, it might be productive of considerable good; but at all events it must have the effect of exciting much hope, and of unsettling men's minds. Trusting that some plan of colonisation might be adopted, he, without any hesitation, gave the support of his vote to the Motion of his noble Friend.


was of opinion that, during the whole discussion, the question had been confined within too narrow limits. It had been treated as a question affecting Ireland alone, whilst, in fact, it was one which equally concerned England and Scotland. The whole of our colonial system required revision; and, if the noble Lord had purposed to extend his investigation so as to embrace an inquiry into the mode and effects of colonial government generally, the propo- sition would have received his (Mr. Hume's) cordial support. The misgovernment of the colonies was the cause of the limitation of emigration. He had that day received a file of papers from Prince Edward's Island, containing the intelligence that on the 6th of March the House of Assembly of that colony had, by a vote of 16 to 3, condemned the conduct of the Governor, and prayed the Colonial Office to grant them a representative government. A system of wholesale emigration would be more injurious to those who were the objects of it, than if they were allowed to remain at home. It was vain to hope that emigration would be attended with beneficial results until the Government of each colony should be brought to act in unison with the Home Government.


begged to offer his thanks to the noble Lord for the manner in which he had brought the question before the House. It was gratifying to perceive indications that the opinion in favour of colonisation was acquiring consistency and force. The Under Secretary for the Colonies had spoken approvingly of the emigration at present going on from Ireland; but he believed, that if emigration were to continue in the course in which it had gone on for the last six months, the result would be disastrous to Ireland. The men who emigrated now were those whom it was desirable to retain at home—men with 50l. or 100l. in their pockets. If he were to consult his feelings alone, he should desire that none of the people of Ireland should be obliged to leave the land of their birth; but, it being impossible that that wish could be realized, he desired to see those who were compelled to emigrate located in other parts of the British dominions, where they might form prosperous communities without losing the national feelings and associations which endeared their original home to them. The hon. Member for Southampton had spoken as if the project of Mr. Godley was proposed as a substitute for a Poor Law in Ireland; but it was no such thing, and it was only justice to that Gentleman to say that he had long been an advocate for the introduction of such a law.


said, that there was one observation which fell from the noble Lord respecting Mr. Godley which he felt bound to notice. The noble Lord said that Mr. Godley's plan would have the effect of throwing 2,000,000 of miserable Irish persons on the shores of America and our own provinces entirely destitute, and without the means of obtaining their livelihood by employment. He knew that Mr. Godley was in the position of a gentleman who, by force of argument and reason, had brought the Government to consider a question which they had long been disinclined to take up; but from the moment he had brought forward his plan, they had never said or written one word which would allow of such an inference as that the noble Lord had drawn. The charge of the noble Lord was completely unfounded, and he (Lord J. Manners) could not allow it to pass unnoticed.


said, he did not quite collect whether the noble Lord intended any special inquiries to be made beyond those ordinarily made through the governors of colonies.


said, there would be special inquiries upon this subject, but not by the appointment of a Commission.


said, he thought that after many hon. Gentlemen had for months directed their energies to this subject, they had a right to demand an impartial inquiry into it, and he therefore regretted the course taken by the noble Lord.


only wished to allude to two points that had arisen during the debate, on which he thought the observations had been unjust, and not founded on fact. The hon. Member for Northamptonshire (Mr. V. Smith) had spoken of Mr. E. G. Wakefield's scheme of colonisation as a failure both in Australia and New Zealand; but in neither case had it had fair play; it was met with opposition from the authorities, and it was attempted to crush it in the bud; but it would yet be triumphant. He believed they would see it as a system of self-supporting colonisation, working without any expense to the country. He was confident a good scheme of emigration, in harmony with the Government, and under its superintendence, could be carried on by spirited individuals without a farthing of expense to the nation.


replied: Had the debate remained in the position in which it was left by the hon. Under Secretary of the Colonies, I should have thought it necessary to explain why I could not accede to his request that I would withdraw my Motion. But as the noble Lord at the head of the Government, instead of calling on me to accede to that request, has acceded to mine, and consented to the Motion, it is unnecessary for me to trouble the House with any observations except one. The noble Lord has stated, in acceding to the letter of the Motion, that it is his intention—I do not use the word in an offensive sense—to evade the spirit in which it was introduced. Of course, it is not in my power to interfere with the mode in which the noble Lord may tender his advice to the Sovereign as Minister, when the Motion is carried. If the noble Lord is pleased to advise Her Majesty that this inquiry should not be made through the instrumentality of a Commission, I can no more interfere with his decision than, if he had appointed a Commission, I could interfere with the names placed on it. All I can say is, I adhere to the views I explained in the early part of the evening; I still believe the inquiry would be much more efficiently and beneficially conducted by such a Commission as I propose; and should certainly expect more favourable results from it, if the spirit as well as the letter of the resolution had been carried out. At the same time, I am not without hope that even this discussion may lead to some good, and that the Government may be induced by it to turn more deliberate attention to this subject than they would otherwise have done.

Motion agreed to.