HC Deb 26 February 1849 vol 102 cc1216-8

rose to put a question to the Under Secretary for the Colonies. It had been distinctly understood—he used the very words of Mr. Merivale—that the Australian emigrants should be taken from each part of the United Kingdom in proportion to the population. But it now appeared, on the authority of Mrs. Chisholnme, than in 1848 there were 13,993 emigrants from England, 2,739 from Scotland, and only 1,879 from Ireland, which included the orphans taken from the workhouses in Ireland. He wished to ask the hon. Under Secretary if this was correct; and, if so, how the conduct of the Colonial Office was to be reconciled with its professions?


would state exactly the numbers that had been sent out during the years 1847 and 1848. From England there had been 15,676 emigrants sent out; from Scotland, 2,863; and from Ireland, 3,534; making a total of 22,074. According to the proportion of population, the numbers of Irish, according to this return, fell short by about 4,000; but, when it was considered that under the head of English emigrants going from England, a large number of Irish emigrants, superior emigrants, were included, he doubted if the disproportion would be found to be so great. He had no desire to alter the statements with respect to the proportion of emigrants, and he thought he had shown to the House that the disproportion which had taken place would not be very large, if the number of Irishmen who had gone out among the English emigrants could be ascertained.


begged attention to this fact, that 16,000 emigrants had gone out from England, and only 4,000 from Ireland; and he begged to ask, further, whether, among the papers sent to the different emigration agents, instructions had not been sent from the Colonial Office that they should not send Irishmen?


begged the House to bear in mind that the Emigration Commissioners were entrusted entirely with colonial funds for colonial purposes. They were not British or imperial funds, and, therefore, the colonists had a distinct right to decide upon the character and quality of the emigration; and he believed they had given an opinion that they did prefer English to Irish emigrants.


asked whether, as a large proportion of the Irish emigrants consisted of young persons, any provision was made for their being educated, in the colony, in the religion of their parents?


said it was true that a great number of Irish orphans had been sent out, and, in reference to the South Australian colony in particular, he could state that a Committee composed of Roman Catholics had been formed to superintend their settlement in the colony, and he took it for granted that their religious education would not be overlooked.


asked if it was not true that in the Australian colonies these unfortunate questions of Catholic and Protestant were rarely, if ever, heard of?


could certainly not quite concur in that statement.