HC Deb 15 June 1891 vol 354 cc396-7
MR. HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade if he can state by what number the 29,885 aliens, shown by Parliamentary paper, No. 147, to have arrived in the United Kingdom during 1890 from Continental emigrant ports, and declared not to be en route for America, have been augmented in the first five months of this year; and if, having regard to the fact that 218,116 natives of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland emigrated during the period of this influx, and that over 152,000 of these placed themselves under a Foreign flag accepting only those calculated to make useful citizens, Her Majesty's Government have considered if the period contemplated by the Select Committee, presided over by the Judge Advocate General, in 1889, has arrived, when— Legislation has become necessary, in view of the crowded condition of our great towns, the extreme pressure for existence among the poorer part of the population, and the tendency of destitute Foreigners to reduce still lower the social and material condition of our poor.


We have a record of 11,609 aliens arriving up to the end of May this year, who are not stated to have been en route to America; but, of course, this number must not, any more than the 29,885 quoted by the hon. Member, be taken as the net foreign immigration for the purposes of settlement in this country, which is very much less. As compared with last year, there was an increase of arrivals at London and Hull (the only ports with which a comparison is possible) during the first four months of 1891 of 885, but for the month of May the figures show a decrease of 331, making a net increase of 554 in the five months. The extent of British and Irish emigration referred to by my hon. Friend seems to me an argument against the legislation be seems to desire. At present the laws on this subject of the United States and the Australasian Colonies are directed only against immigrants likely to become a public charge, and do not exclude such immigrants as the Russian Jews. To exclude them you would require a law basing the exclusion on the ground of poverty. If such a law were passed here and imitated by the United States and other countries to which our people go, our own emigrants would suffer from it more than those of any other country, because there are more of them.