HL Deb 10 August 1848 vol 101 cc1-50

* My Lords, pursuant to the notice which I have given, I beg to lay on the table certain papers connected with emigration to the Australian colonies, in continuation of those which, at an early period of the Session, I had the honour of presenting to Parliament by command of Her Majesty. In laying these papers on the table, I trust that the interest which is now so generally felt on the subject of emigration, will be a sufficient excuse for my briefly stating some of the principal facts which are to be collected from these * From a corrected report published by Ridgway. papers, and from those which have been already presented; and will also justify me in making a very few remarks upon them. Without attempting to discuss the question whether there really is in this country that excess of population which is supposed by some persons to exist, or whether there are still means in its undeveloped resources of affording employment to our increasing population, I think, at all events, that even those who hold the strongest opinions as to the excess of population in this country, must agree with me that, when we compare the cost of emigration to Australia with the number of persons who now go annually from our shores, it is hardly possible to expect that emigration to that quarter can ever be carried to such an extent as to produce any very perceptible effect upon our population here. The cost of conveying an emigrant to Australia may be taken, in round numbers, at somewhere about 20l., including the passage of the emigrant, and the expensive outfit which is necessary for his health. And if the present number of emigrants were to be materially increased this cost would be augmented, as the rate of freight which is now paid would undoubtedly rise if many more ships were wanted for this service.

But the average number of emigrants who left this country during the last seven years has been no less than 122,000; and in the last year the number of emigrants was not less than 258,000. If, then, this great stream of emigration were to be increased by sending to Australia a number of persons equal even to the average emigration of the last seven years, or 122,000 persons a year, the annual expense of this addition to the existing emigration would not amount to less than 2,500,000l. Now, when your Lordships remember that even the large emigration of last year, together with the great mortality from famine and disease that took place in Ireland, have failed to produce any marked effect on those symptoms of excessive population which are alleged to exist, it is obviously impossible, looking to our Australian colonies, that any such great number of emigrants can be sent thither as would exercise any perceptible influence upon the population at home. But although this is the case, it is not the less true that Australian emigration is of the greatest possible advantage to the empire in general, as affording a field of enterprise to the more ardent spirits of the mother country, who, in the present peaceful times, cannot find a suitable career at home; and, also, as creating and increasing thriving communities in that part of the world, with which our manufacturers carry on a large and lucrative trade. Our trade with the Australian colonies is one of the most important we possess. The labouring population, whom we send out to Australia, are chiefly employed in producing raw materials, which we use in our manufactures, and especially in that very important department of them, the woollen trade. In return for their produce they take British manufactures, and in the same manner they pay indirectly for various commodities, and more particularly for the tea and sugar which they consume, thus creating an additional trade between this country and China, since it is well known that the consumption of British manufactures in China is limited only by the means of payment which the Chinese possess, and that the very large quantity of tea consumed in Australia, is paid for by British manufactures, for which the return is received by us principally in wool. The consequence is, that those who go to Aus- tralia do undoubtedly contribute largely to furnish additional employment for our people at home. The emigration to these distant colonies is also of very great service in affording additional employment to our shipping. It is, therefore, an object of the greatest interest to the empire that emigration to Australia should be promoted and encouraged to the utmost possible extent.

Viewed in this light, and as the means of obtaining the advantages I have now described, rather than of effecting a great diminution of a population supposed to be excessive, emigration to Australia is a subject which, during the last twenty years, has certainly not been neglected by any of the successive Administrations which have in that time existed. It seems to me that, in the eagerness to extend emigration—a feeling which I share—many persons overlook how much has been accomplished; and I am, therefore, anxious to call your Lordships' attention to a comparison of what our Australian colonies were in the year 1828, with what they are at the present time. In looking back to this comparatively short period of only twenty years, it is really not a little surprising to see how great a change has been effected by the enterprise, the activity, and the energy of the people of this country, settling in those distant regions. In the year 1828, the only colonies we occupied in that quarter of the globe, were New South Wales, and Van Diemen's Land. New South Wales was then confined to what were called the Nineteen Counties. These counties occupied an extent of about 300 miles in length, along the coast, with an average breadth of about 200 miles. In Van Diemen's Land, the extent of our settlements was very small. The whole population of both these colonies, in 1828, was estimated at 53,000, of whom 23,000 were convicts, still in a state of servitude; a very large proportion of the free inhabitants having originally proceeded to the colonies as convicts. New South Wales, including Moreton Bay and Port Philip, now extends 1,000 miles in length, by 300 miles in breadth. Much of this territory is occupied only pastorally; but still it is occupied, and advantageously, the whole area it includes being about three and a half times as large as the area of Great Britain. The coast line from Moreton Bay to South Australia, is 1,500 miles long, being about the length of the coast line from Calais to the northern frontier of Portugal. In Southern and Western Australia, and the valuable islands of New Zealand, entirely new and most of them thriving settlements have been formed; and in Van Diemen's Land, the population has greatly increased. The whole British population, (excluding, of course, the natives,) or, rather, the whole population of European origin, in the different Australian Colonies, now amounts to near 300,000 persons. But, while in the space of twenty years the population has increased five or six-fold, the wealth of these colonies has increased still more rapidly. The best test I can apply to ascertain the wealth of a rising colony, is the amount of its exports; we can judge less by the imports, because a considerable importation into a colony may be occasioned by a large expenditure by the Government of the mother country, whereas the exports must be created by the successful industry of the colonists. I find that in 1828, the whole amount of exports from these colonies was 185,000l.; and in 1845, the last year for which the returns are complete, the exports had risen to 2,189,000l.; being an increase of twelve-fold in seventeen years. This is a striking result; but it will be still more so if your Lordships will permit me to go a little further into particulars.

In the year 1830, when I first knew anything officially about these colonies, no facilities whatever existed for the emigration of the labouring classes to New South Wales. The ships which went there afforded accommodation only for cabin passengers, or for those who required what are now called intermediate passages. The expense of emigration to Australia, with the description of accommodation which was at that time alone provided, was much larger than could be afforded by a labouring man; so that, practically, there were no means of emigration for that class of society. In the course of the year 1830, my noble Friend, Lord Ripon, who was then Secretary of State for the Colonies, established the system of alienating the Crown lands by sale only, instead of by grants, as had previously been the practice in Australia; and at the same time the principle was laid down that the revenue realised by the sale of land should be applied in carrying out emigrants to the colonies. A Commission was appointed, over which my noble Friend the Duke of Richmond presided, and of which I had the honour of being also a Member, to inquire into the best means of promoting emigration. The first measure of that Commission was, to endeavour to prevail upon shipowners to furnish passages to Australia at a cheaper rate, and with humbler accommodation, suitable to the means of the labouring class. They consented to make this experiment, and the system then began; but the funds applicable to emigration were at that time exceedingly small; and for the first few years the progress of emigration thus carried on was so slow that it seemed little likely to become of much consequence. But the measure itself being founded on a sound principle, its operation gradually increased, until the results became very important. In 1837, the extent of emigration had so far increased, that my noble Friend, Lord Glenelg, who then held the office of Secretary of State for the Colonies, appointed a separate office for the management of that business; and hence the origin of the Land and Emigration Commission; and in creating that hoard, and in the selection of those whom he named for that important duty, I consider that my noble Friend adopted a measure of incalculable importance and benefit, both to this country and to the colonies.

At that time the population of New South Wales was only 77,000l.; but in the course of ten years the population was almost doubled, emigration having added to it no less than 62,000 persons. Those persons were sent out under the superintendence of the Commissioners, and the greatest possible advantage has been the result of that course of proceeding. During the same period, the Commissioners for South Australia sent to that colony about 10,000 persons; the New Zealand Company also sent out about 7,000 persons; altogether, in the course of those ten years, there were sent between 90,000 and 100,000 emigrants, of whom no less than 80,000 were provided with a passage out of the sums derived from the sale of the colonial lands. After this statement of the general result of the working of the system, I will now advert, for a moment, to the cases of one or two individual settlements, by which the result of the system will appear still more remarkable. The importance of the district of Port Philip, in the territory still forming part of New South Wales, and the colony of South Australia, were the creation of a period not exceeding ten years. In 1836, ten years prior to the date of the last census, there were in Port Philip only a few scattered inhabitants, estimated to number between 200 and 300. In March, 1846, when that census was made, the population of this district was found to have increased to 32,800, including the town of Melbourne, which then contained a population of between 8,000 and 10,000 inhabitants. The imports into that district, in 1845, were to the value of 205,000l; and the exports to the value of 343,000l.; the general revenue of the district, in 1847, was no less than 68,000l.; and the territorial revenue, derived principally from the sale of land, was 70,000l.; making altogether a revenue of 138,000l. collected in this district, which only ten or twelve years ago had been occupied by 200 or 300 persons.

In South Australia the results have been almost equally remarkable. But I will not trouble your Lordships with the arithmetical details, as they will be found in the evidence taken before the Colonisation Committee, and in the papers I am about to lay on the table. It is, however, important to observe, that in the Port Philip district, this now thriving community, has been established without one shilling of expense to the mother country; and even South Australia, although it has had temporary difficulties to encounter, and though unintentional errors were committed in its earlier days, and it has cost, in consequence, comparatively a considerable sum, yet from the time its management was taken out of the hands of the Commissioners, to whom it was originally entrusted, in order that it might be placed directly under the charge of the Government, it has emerged from its difficulties, and has continued steadily to advance in prosperity, till a large revenue has been obtained, more than equal to its expenditure, and funds have been realised, applicable to the conveyance thither of a very considerable number of emigrants. Neither can it be said that this success of South Australia is owing to the great mineral wealth which has been discovered there; because the difficulties of the colony, which were at their height in 1840, had, in 1845, been completely overcome, and it was steadily advancing in prosperity before the mines had been opened to an extent of any importance.

My Lords, I think it is also of importance that I should remark, in order to correct a very prevalent error, that it is entirely a mistake to suppose that these colonies have been formed by merely one class of society, or by the emigration of labourers only. So far is this from being the case, that there are to be found settled in these colonies, retired officers of the Army and Navy—gentlemen who have taken high degrees and honours at the Universities, and many other persons of education and intelligence. Indeed, both in South Australia, and in New South Wales, there is a very large population of men of superior education and intelligence. I must therefore say, that looking at these facts, it is impossible to admit the truth of what has been sometimes very confidently asserted—that colonisation is a lost art. On the contrary, I believe that colonisation never has, in the history of the world, made such rapid progress as in the instances I have stated to your Lordships. I would remind your Lordships of the very interesting evidence given last year by Mr. Elliot, then at the head of the Emigration Board, in which capacity I believe most of your Lordships are aware how valuable were his services, and who has now duties of still greater importance, which he performs with equal ability, as Assistant Under Secretary of State for the Colonial Department: Mr. Elliot, in the evidence to which I refer, drew a comparison between the progress made by our Australian colonies, and the old colonies which now constitute the United States of America. The comparison is most curious, and singularly favourable to our new colonies. The rate of progress of the Australian colonies, as compared with that of our old American colonies, is really marvellous.

For example, I find that the population of Sydney in 1836 was 19,000; that in ten years the population had actually doubled, and in 1846 was 38,000. Comparing this with the old American colonies, I find that the population of the important town of Boston, in 1790 (170 years after its foundation), was 18,000. The population of the city of New York, in 1773 (immediately before the breaking out of the war of independence), was only 21,896, having then been founded a very much longer period than Sydney has now, but containing a population 17,000 less than Sydney does at the present day. The population of Philadelphia in 1790 was 28,528. But what is still more remarkable, is the wealth of our present colonies, and the advantage which they have been to the trade of this country, as compared with the wealth and trade of our old American colonies at the time of the breaking out of the war. The whole population of our old American colonies, in 1773, was about 2,300,000; and the population of the Australian colonies in 1845, Was only 283,873. Yet the imports of all descriptions into our old American colonies in 1773, amounted to something more than 1,000,000l. sterling: while the imports into our Australian colonies in 1845, amounted to 2,070,000l. The exports from our old American colonies, in 1773, amounted to something short of 2,000,000l., while the exports from our Australian colonies, in 1845, were 2,185,000l. Or, if we contrast the comparative extent of the trade of the two classes of colonies according to its value, per head, of their respective populations, it appears that the imports, per head, into the old American colonies, at the breaking out of the war, were to the amount of 8s. 9d. per head of their then population; while the imports of our Australian colonies are at the rate of 7l. 5s. 10d. per head. The exports from America, at the breaking out of the war, were at the rate of 16s. 8d. per head of the population; and the exports from the Australian colonies are at the rate of 7l. 14s. 3d. per head.

Such has been the extraordinary progress of these colonies; and I think your Lordships will agree with me, that these facts sufficiently refute the common notion that the art of colonisation is a lost one; that the population of this country are less enterprising and adventurous than the population of former days; and that they are less capable of carrying on such enterprises with advantage. On the contrary, if your Lordships consider the progress of these colonies—a progress almost without a check—and their steady, uniform current of prosperity, without the interruption of any great disaster, and contrast their history with the extreme difficulties and fearful calamities which, in earlier days, were experienced by the old American colonies, the result is, indeed, most remarkable—a result, I beg to repeat, which is owing entirely to the enterprising and persevering spirit of the population of this country, aided, as they have been, by all the improvements of modern science, and of modern navigation. And when, above all, your Lordships consider the length and the difficulties of the voyage to Australia, as compared with the passage to North America, the result becomes still more striking. But, great as this progress has been, I am far from saying it is not the duty of Parliament, and of the Government, to use all such means as are in their power for giving a still increased impetus to this system of emigration; and I wish to show your Lordships that this has not been overlooked. In 1845, for want of funds, emigration to Australia was very nearly suspended. But in 1846, the revenues of South Australia were again in a condition to allow of emigration to be renewed; and in that year about 2,000 persons were sent to that colony. Since then, the stream of emigration to South Australia has steadily and constantly been flowing. Last year, the Governor of New South Wales reported that the debt which had been incurred for previous emigration, and charged upon the Crown revenues, was nearly paid off; and he believed that he might safely venture to recommend the resumption of emigration to that colony also. I had full confidence in the reasons assigned by Sir Charles Fitzroy in support of that opinion, and I accordingly directed the Land and Emigration Commissioners immediately to resume sending emigrants to New South Wales; and towards the close of last year, the first ships of the renewed emigration to New South Wales were despatched. The first ship sailed about the month of October or November last. Since then successive accounts from New South Wales have arrived, showing that the funds applicable for this purpose have more than kept pace with the expectations entertained respecting them; and accordingly I have given directions, from time to time, to the Land and Emigration Commissioners, to accelerate the rate at which ships were despatched, and in pursuance of those directions the number of emigrants has been rapidly increasing in amount. By a return which I hold in my hand, of the operations of the Commissioners in each month (with the details of which I will not trouble your Lordships) it appears, that in the present year there have already sailed to New South Wales twenty-three emigrant ships, carrying 5,323 emigrants; and that there have sailed eleven emigrant ships to South Australia, carrying 2,736 emigrants, making a total of 8,059 persons sent out this year. For the remainder of this year, ships are to be despatched at the increased rate of six in every month to South Wales, and a proportionate number to South Australia; and it is calculated that the number that will be sent out from this time to the close of the present year will be forty ships carrying 10,000 persons. So that since the close of the year 1847, by the measures that are now actually in progress, there will be added in the course of the present year, to the population of these two colonies, of New South Wales and South Australia, not less than 18,059 persons, which will be an increase of between 8 and 9 per cent upon their whole previous population. In South Australia, the population at the commencement of 1846, was 22,390. There have since been already despatched to that colony by the Land and Emigration Commissioners, nearly 8,000 emigrants, or more than one-third of the then existing population. In New South Wales, according to a report dated September 1847, of a Committee of the Legislative Council, the number of hired servants throughout the colony did not exceed 30,000; but the number of emigrants to be despatched in 1848 will be nearly 13,000.

So much as to the extent to which emigration has been carried on. I now wish to call the attention of your Lordships to the manner in which this service has been performed by the Land and Emigration Commissioners, and to the satisfactory results which have been obtained by the zeal and ability they have shown in the discharge of their arduous duties. I hold in my hand a paper, being an inclosure in a recent despatch received from the Governor of South Australia. It is a report of the Colonial Secretary in South Australia to the Governor of that colony, with respect to the condition of the emigrants. The Secretary says— The healthy condition in which the immigrants were landed from the several vessels which have arrived in this colony, during the past quarter, and the total absence of any complaints, either from the passengers, or on the part of those under whose direction they were placed during the voyage, are facts which of themselves speak most favourably for the arrangements made in England, in connexion with this service. The emigrants were generally well selected, and suited to the wants of this country. The superintendents appear, without exception, faithfully to have discharged the duties entrusted to them; and although some few alterations in the minor details of the arrangements have been recommended by them in their daily journals, still the circumstances abovementioned, concurring as they do to show the efficiency of the measures adopted to promote the varied interests at stake, cannot but be satisfactory to the Commissioners, on whom so much responsibility is devolved. The vessels employed in the emigration service make quicker passages than those engaged only in the conveyance of merchandise. I should explain, that these quick passages are accounted for, by the fact, that none but first-class vessels are taken up for this service; and that from the number of emigrants on board, the captains are enabled to carry on sail in doubtful weather much longer than merchant vessels, because by the assistance of the emigrants they can reduce sail when bad weather is coming on, more rapidly than ships which cannot command equal strength. The report then goes on to say, that— Of those vessels which arrived in the colony during the last three months, the longest on the voyage was 106, the shortest 89 days, making an average in the whole of 94⅓ days. It may not be foreign to the present report here to remark, that the young unmarried females who immigrate to this colony, without friends or relations on board, are, on their arrival here, at once removed from on board the vessels in which they were brought, to a house in Adelaide, where every necessary comfort is in readiness for their reception. They are placed under the immediate control of a matron, and a committee of ladies have benevolently undertaken to assist them in finding suitable employment."* I will now proceed to state to your Lordships some of the measures which have been adopted for increasing and extending emigration to these colonies. In the first place, I must remark, that the expense must be mainly provided for by the colonies themselves. The voyage is so much longer and so much more expensive than the voyage to America, that unless the colonies should pay a very large portion of the expense, the emigrants would in nearly all cases prefer going to America; either to our own colonies there, or to the United States. But a considerable proportion of the expense is actually paid from private sources in this country. For so long a voyage, being about three months to South Australia, and somewhat more to New South Wales, it is absolutely necessary for emigrants to have what may be considered a very expensive outfit, more especially as they require clothes suitable both for cold and very hot weather, as they are necessarily exposed to great vicissitudes of climate, at whatever time of the year they may go. This necessary outfit is an expense of importance to a labouring * Vide Parliamentary Paper, August, 1848, Emigration to the Australian Colonies, p. 78. man, and is calculated, with the expense of going to the port of embarkation and other charges, altogether to cost the emigrant somewhere about 5l.; certainly not a less sum; and I believe this amount rather exceeds that for which emigrants can obtain their passage to America. Of course, therefore, if a much greater sum than this were demanded of them, the current of emigration would be diverted from Australia, and directed towards America. The instructions which I have given to the Land and Emigration Commissioners on this head are these:—that they are to consider themselves in the light of trustees for the colonies; and that their object should be to make the money raised by the sale of land, and applicable to emigration, productive of the largest amount of benefit it is possible to render to the colonies. In consequence of this view of their duty, they are instructed to watch carefully the demands for passages to Australia, and, whenever they find they can do so with advantage, they are to raise the amount which is to be contributed by individuals themselves. But the demand for passages from the class of individuals most suited to the wants of the colonies varies very much. Only about a year ago, up to the last harvest, before employment on railways had been checked in this country, there was some difficulty in obtaining the full number of properly qualified emigrants, in the proper proportions, from different parts of the united kingdom, for Australia. But now, on the contrary, from the unfortunate depression of trade, and the diminution of employment, there is a great demand for passages to Australia. In consequence of this demand, the agents of the Land and Emigration Commissioners have thought they might venture, as an experiment (though with some doubt as to whether it will succeed), to require an additional pound to be contributed by the emigrants themselves towards the cost of their passage; thus making, to that extent, the amount available from the colonies sufficient for carrying out a larger number of emigrants.

In some cases, larger contributions are raised from individuals, owing to peculiar circumstances, when, for instance, a person applies for a passage who is not strictly qualified to be an emigrant, according to the rules, as not being of the class best adapted to the wants of the colonies, the Commissioners have been directed, in con- sideration of an additional payment, from some other source than the funds at their disposal, to accept an emigrant who would not otherwise have been taken. I may mention to your Lordships a recent instance—an instance, indeed, which is stated in the papers that I have just laid upon the table. In consequence of the late revolution in France, a large number of English workmen, as your Lordships are aware, were compelled to leave that country. Those were persons principally engaged in manufactures, and were not used to agricultural labour. They were, therefore, not considered the most eligible class for emigration. But it being doubtful whether they would be able to obtain employment at home, and as they were anxious to proceed to the colonies, I was willing to afford them every facility for doing so. After consulting with Lord Ashley on the subject, who greatly interested himself in this matter, as in every other plan of benevolence, it was at last arranged, that by private subscription a sum equal to 4l. a head should be contributed towards the expense of the adults, and the sum of 2l. for each child; and upon that condition they were sent out to the colonies. I have reason to believe they will prove a most valuable class of emigrants. There was no mode in which the same amount of private subscriptions could have been applied so as to give the same extent of relief to the individuals; whilst, on the other hand, the colonies have received, at a considerable reduction of the ordinary cost to them, a number of persons who, though not used to agriculture, will be an industrious and active body of inhabitants. Other arrangements, of a similar description, have been made, with which I will not trouble your Lordships, as they will be found fully detailed in the papers. But I will call your Lordships' attention to another measure which has been adopted, and from which I feel inclined to expect very valuable results. Those who have attended to the subject of emigration, may be aware that emigration to a very great extent takes place to Canada and the United States, more especially from Ireland, a large portion of which is provided for by means of funds remitted from America to their friends in this country and in Ireland, by those who have gone out before. It is very frequently arranged, that one or two individuals of a family should go out, in the first instance, to the United States or to Canada, and that having saved some money there, they should remit it home for the purpose of affording their relations whom they have left behind, the means of joining them on the other side of the Atlantic.

This is an emigration of the very best description, because the emigrants find their own friends upon their arrival, who are ready to direct their energies, and the recollection of whose kindness, and the goodness of whose example, at once stimulate them to industry, that they may repay the money thus advanced, and be able, in their turn, to give assistance to the friends and relations whom they have left behind. Now, from Canada and the United States, there exist great facilities for making these remittances, through private channels; but from Australia no such facilities exist. I have accordingly entered into an arrangement with the Treasury for the purpose of affording these facilities; and, by that arrangement, it will now be in the power of any settler in Australia, by paying money, through agents who are to be appointed for that purpose in the different districts, to the commissariat officer in the colony, to have it remitted to this country, and applied by the Land and Emigration Commissioners, in sending out any person or persons in whose favour the money may have been deposited, and the remittance made. I anticipate from this arrangement the most satisfactory results, because wages in Australia being much higher than in Canada, continuing during the whole year, without the drawback of a long winter of almost arctic severity, when labour is to a great degree suspended, the means of accumulation are much greater in the former than in the latter. Hence, considering how large a sum is annually remitted from America, I indulge the hope that these facilities will soon be made use of to a large extent. I am even willing to believe that parties of working men in this country will club together, to enable one or two of their number to emigrate, in the first instance, under an agreement that those who do should afterwards remit back money to assist their friends in joining them. Such, my Lords, is the general statement I am able to make of what has been done, and of the measures which are in progress to stimulate and promote emigration to the Australian colonies. I will not at present trouble your Lordships with further details; nor will I do more than merely advert to the promising field for emigration which is offered by New Zealand and the Cape; because, with respect to those two colonies, nothing of sufficient importance to be detailed to your Lordships has of late been effected. I will, therefore, only say that in these colonies there does, in my opinion, exist a most valuable field for emigration; and from the measures that are now in progress, or in contemplation, I have the most sanguine hopes that both to New Zealand and to the Cape a very large number of emigrants will ultimately proceed.

Upon the whole subject, I will in conclusion observe, that what has been done may, no doubt, fall very short of the sanguine expectations of many persons as to what is to be attained by emigration; at the same time I think the measures I have mentioned, and their results, are of very considerable importance. The amount of expenditure incurred is already very large. In the present year 18,000 persons, at an expense considerably exceeding a quarter of a million sterling, will be sent to New South Wales and South Australia. The effect of this large emigration one year will be to make a still larger emigration in the following years; because nothing is more clearly ascertained than that those who go out as labourers to these thriving colonies, in the course of a very short time, become themselves employers of labour and purchasers of land, thus adding both to the funds available for carrying on emigration, and also to the means of giving employment to future emigrants.

I confine these observations to the Australian colonies, because the papers which I have now to lay upon the table chiefly refer to those colonies, and also, because emigration to our American colonies must be considered, in many respects, in a different light, so that very different measures are applicable to them. Emigration to North America is, I am aware, in some respects, more important than emigration to Australia; much more so as affording relief, by effecting a diminution of the population in those parts of the united kingdom where there exists a local excess. In that respect, undoubtedly, North American emigration affords far more valuable resources than emigration to Australia. But feeling that I could 'not now, with advantage, enter upon the discussion of so large a subject, I will, for the present, content myself with assuring your Lordships that, with regard to North America, the continued and anxious attention, both of Her Majesty's Government, and of the provincial authorities, is directed towards devising the means which can he adopted with most success, in order to promote emigration to that quarter, and to facilitate the settlement of the wide regions of fertile land which the British empire possesses in that part of the world.

I am certainly sanguine in the expectation that hereafter it will he in my power to show your Lordships what practical measures have been adopted to promote those objects. For the present, hewever, I confine my observations to Australia. I have now to lay before your Lordships these papers; and the extreme interest of the subject, not only to this country, but to the colonies in general, and particularly to the Australian colonies, which at this moment are making such rapid progress, must he my excuse for having so long occupied the attention of your Lordships. Before I sit down, however, I must supply an omission, which, I perceive, I have made, by stating (as I had intended to have done ah earlier period) one fact, as it seems to me, of great interest, which I have learned only within the last few days, from a document which did not arrive in time to he included among the papers I am about to present—a fact, which seems to me almost more striking than anything I have yet mentioned, as showing the rapid progress of these colonies. I hold in my hand a copy of the speech of Sir Charles Fitzroy, addressed to the Legislative Council of New South Wales, at the opening of the session on the 24th of March in the present year. In this speech there is the following statement, with reference to the increased production of wool in New South Wales. He says— It is consolatory to reflect that, notwithstanding the commercial depression which prevails to so great an extent in the mother country, and the consequent low prices of colonial produce in that market, the chief resources of this colony have continue to increase in a manner alike rapid and surprising. The exports of wool—its main staple—reached in the past year the large quantity of upwards of 22,000,000lb., of the official value of 1,260,000l., being an increase on the previous year exceeding 5,700,000lb. in weight, or equal to the whole export of that article in the year 1838. I think this is indeed a remarkable increase in one year; the mere increase in the export of wool in 1847, as compared to 1846, being equal to the total export in 1838, or only nine years before. Sir C. Fitzroy goes on to say— The export of tallow in 1847 was 69,000 cwt., of the official value of 107,000l., being an increase on the previous year of 49,000 cwt. This also is another striking proof of the rapid increase which these colonies have been making in all that concerns their industrial and commercial interests; and the statement I have just read is well worthy your Lordships' earnest attention. With these observations I beg to lay the papers on your Lordships' table.


said, that while he had heard from his noble Friend somewhat that was consolatory, as affirming the principles on which emigration should he conducted, principles which he (Lord Monteagle) had long advocated, he must confess that he had also heard with a disappointment, or he might even say with a dismay difficult for him to describe, the small promises, or rather the no promises at all, held out by his noble Friend with respect to the mode and extent to which he proposed to apply those principles. He also deeply regretted the very narrow conception which his noble Friend entertained of the duties attached to the office which he himself filled, and to the department over which he presided. He was persuaded that the word "dismay" was not too strong for the occasion, and that his feelings would he participated in by the great hulk of the people of this country, who had turned their attention to this subject. The question of emigration was now better understood, and was therefore more justly appreciated. The pressing necessity of the case could no longer he disguised from the public, but had become apparent to all—not only to the higher classes, who viewed it as a matter of political and philosophical interest, but to the lower classes, who had begun to feel how closely it was united to their material interests, and indeed he might say with their very existence. It had become of late too much the fashion of some reasoners to treat our colonial interests as a mere question of pounds, shillings, and pence. Into this mistake, however, his noble Friend was too well informed to fall. Yet, even if colonial policy were to be discussed on this narrower ground, it could easily he demonstrated how essential were our colonies to our national greatness. The following account would exhibit the rapid progress made by the colonial possessions of the Crown, even within the last five years:—

Colonies. Population. Imports into U. K. Official Value. Declared value of Exports from U. K. Shipping Inwards and Outwards.
1842. 1847. 1842. 1847. 1842. 1847. 1842. 1847.
£ £ £ £ Tons. Tons.
N. America. 1,621,000 1,993,000 1,391,000 2,188,000 2,280,000 3,490,000
W. Indies 901,000 926,000 6,015,000 6,428,000 2,591,000 2,789,000
Other Colonies 2,152,000 2,570,000 3,087,000 13,077,000 3,198,000 9,984,000
Total 4,674,000 5,490,000 10,495,000 21,694,009 8,070,000 16,263,000 1,771,000 2,990,000

NOTE.—The totals include the broken sums omitted in the detached account.

These facts had been pressed upon his consideration by the functions he had been called on to perform as Chairman of one of their Lordships' Committees. He had devoted his best attention during the last two years to the Committee on Emigration which their Lordships had been pleased to appoint. Of the report of that Committee he regarded the speech of his noble Friend as being in some degree, and in somewhat an unusual manner, an attempted anticipation. He considered, therefore, that his noble Friend, by the course he had taken, had compelled him to enter into the question more fully than he would otherwise have done. It was right that the public should know that there were at least some persons who believed that there existed means of doing more than those nothings which his noble Friend the Colonial Secretary had announced as the scope and end of his policy. Great as would have been his regret at so miserable an announcement if coming from any ordinary statesman, his disappointment was greater still when these shortcomings were attributable to his noble Friend. He had thought that his noble Friend would have been the very last man to have discusssed the question of emigration as one which only involved the case of a few vessels freighted with emigrants, instead of treating it as a great and comprehensive measure alike essential to colonial interests, and to the prosperity of the mother country. If ever there was an individual who might have been considered as pledged to take up the question of colonisation on a large and comprehensive scale, the noble Lord was assuredly that individual. He could not forget that this question was the very first that had been taken up by his noble Friend on entering into official life under the Administration of his noble Father. When the Commission over which the Duke of Richmond presided was appointed, in 1831, his noble Friend recommended the question of emigration to the consideration of Parliament, not as the small and miserable scheme which now seemed to satisfy his desires, but as a large and comprehensive measure; and in order to show the views which the noble Lord then entertained on the subject, more especially in its application to Ireland, he would trouble their Lordships with an extract from the speech he delivered on that occasion:— Before any measure could be introduced for the permanent relief of the poor in Ireland, it would be absolutely necessary to relieve that country from its superabundance of population. The transfer of a part of our superabundant labourers to the colonies would be equally beneficial to all parties—to the labourers, by diminishing the overwhelming competition under which they now suffer; to the settler, by affording him the means of cultivating his land; and both to this country and the colony, by relieving much of the distress now existing in the former, and by adding to the productive industry of the latter. His noble Friend had not been as timid and limited in his views in former, he might say in better, times, as he now unfortunately appeared to be. On the contrary, he was then as full of hope, as of energy. He did not shrink from assuring Parliament that— In the United States, Canada, and Australia, there were large tracts of land available which enabled the labourer emigrating to them, for a payment next to nothing, to obtain the means of earning a subsistence, while in this country the labourer possessed no such facilities. Such were his noble Friend's opinions in 1845, confirming those he expressed in 1831; and in the debate on Mr. C. Buller's Motion he went on to state— His opinion was strongly fixed that we were, it was true, on the right road, but that we had not made all the progress that was desirable. He thought it of the greatest importance that emigration should be encouraged to a much greater extent than at present, and he believed it was in the power of Her Majesty's Ministers to take measures that would give much greater extension to the system than it now possessed. He would ask their Lordships, was there in the scheme now proposed by his noble Friend any thing like an approach to the systematic and enlarged plan of emigration which the noble Earl had there foreshadowed? But though nothing effectual had been done, or had even been attempted, the noble Lord, even amidst the sufferings attendant on last year's emigration, had still repeated his belief in the true faith, which he seemed disposed this night to forswear. In his despatch of the 29th January, he informs the Governor of Canada, Lord Elgin— I will not abandon the hope that hereafter the practical difficulties which stand in the way may be overcome, and means may be discovered for accomplishing that more systematic colonisation of the still unoccupied territory of British North America, by which I am persuaded that the welfare of emigrants would be best assured, and the prosperity of these fine colonies would be carried to a far higher point than it can otherwise attain. But it is not merely by speeches and despatches that my noble Friend has committed himself on this subject. He has given still stronger pledges—pledges from which, even with all his intrepidity, he cannot extricate himself. His noble Friend could not deny the engagements he had entered into, in the name of his Sovereign, and had entered into in the Queen's name with Parliament itself. Perhaps his defence might be an admission of the incompetency of the Colonial Office to perform those engagements. For this argument, he could not deny that his noble Friend had laid some ground. If this were so, the engagement should not have been made. He recollected well an important debate in the year 1845, in the other House of Parliament, in the course of which his noble Friend began his speech by stating that— From some experience which he had of the Colonial Office, he had come to the conclusion that it was impossible for any man, let his talents be what they might, to administer the British colonies efficiently, scattered as they were over every part of the world. Will a renewal of these statements be his noble Friend's justification, and will he appeal to his own experience and example as Secretary of State, to confirm the evidence he gave as a Member of the Opposition? But he would now proceed to substantiate the serious charge which he deliberately made against his noble Friend—a charge no less than that of having left unfulfilled the engagement entered into with the House of Commons in the last Session. On the 1st of June, 1847, as he perceived from the Votes of the House of Commons, an Address to Her Majesty was unanimously adopted— Praying that Her Majesty 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. On that occasion it had been distinctly promised, on the part of the Government, that a special inquiry should take place, not into the expediency of colonisation—for that was conceded—but upon the means of carrying colonisation into effect. All that was then at issue was whether such inquiry was to be carried on through the agency of a Parliamentary Commission, Her Majesty's reply to that address was as follows:— I have taken into my consideration the Address of my faithful Commons. I am deeply sensible of the advantage which may be derived from the adoption of further measures for the promotion of colonisation, and I will direct such inquiries to be made as may enable Parliament to adopt a course free from those evils which any precipitate legislation on this subject might cause both to the emigrants and to the colonies. Such was the engagement solemnly entered into by the Government and the Crown with the House of Commons; and he would now ask his noble Friend whether any one step had been taken by Her Majesty's Government in pursuance of the promise there given? What "inquiries" had been made to guide Parliament in considering "those further measures of colonisation" of the advantages of which Her Majesty declared herself "deeply sensible?" No such inquiries appear to have been made to any one governor—at least he could not trace them in the papers on the table. If his noble Friend could contradict him, he would then ask him why did he not produce his despatches? If the noble Earl had any despatches on this subject to produce, he ought to have laid them before the House—but he had not done so. He had either withheld information which Parliament had a right to have laid before them, or his compact with the House of Commons was broken. Until that information were given, he (Lord Monteagle) had a right to say, and he now, therefore, asserted, in his place in Parliament, that the Government had entered into an engagement, ratified by the reply of Her Majesty, pledging the word of the Sovereign that a special inquiry should be made for the purpose of procuring information, and yet, that so far as Parliament was informed, no inquiry whatever had been made in pursuance of that promise. Or, if the noble Lord preferred the other alternative, and if the promised inquiries had been made, he (Lord Monteagle) called on the Minister who had engaged to procure this information for Parliament, to justify himself for having withheld all information on the subject up to the present hour. This was a serious charge, and ought to be seriously met. The conduct of the Colonial Office on this subject, he confessed, created great mistrust in his mind, because it showed that speeches might be made and Motions might be acquiesced in for the purpose of escaping an inconvenient discussion, and averting an impending defeat—but with an intention of escaping from those obligations which ought to have imposed a sense of the promise made on a well-regulated mind impressed with a due feeling of moral and political responsibility. His noble Friend had sedulously, and for his purposes prudently too, abstained from alluding to the question of emigration to the North American colonies. If their Lordships inferred from that silence that nothing had been done with regard to emigration to these colonies, they would be greatly in error. Something had been done in that matter; but most unfortunately that something was only calculated to obstruct and to check emigration to British North America. This had been done, too, at the suggestion of his noble Friend himself, to the deep disappointment of those who had interested themselves on the subject. The present Secretary of State himself had done much to discourage emigration to a British colony; he had done nothing whatever to promote it. It was unfortunately too notorious that in consequence of the famine and disease prevalent in Ireland during the last year, the emigration from that country to British North America had been attended with very calamitous results. The mortality had been most formidable from certain ports. But this partial suffering proved that the case was exceptional only, and should have been dealt with as such. The colonists justly and naturally complained, in many cases, when the weak, and infirm, and sickly, had been sent over to them without adequate protection, and when fever had thus been propagated through all parts of the provinces. Now, he admitted that if the noble Earl had no other alternative but either to allow this state of suffering to continue, by permitting emigration to remain unassisted and unsystematic as before, or to interfere in the mode and to the extent he had done, such a state of facts would have furnished an unanswerable reply to whatever objection might be urged against him. But this supposition would be a most erroneous view to take of the case. It was right to do all that humanity and justice required; but to do more, and to convert such necessary measures of precaution into burdensome restraints, if not into actual prohibitions, of the emigration of British subjects into British colonies, was as impolitic as it was unjust; impolitic to the colony, unjust to the emigrant. He (Lord Monteagle) had himself willingly concurred with his noble Friend under this special, but, he believed, temporary, exigency, in the proposition made to Parliament for amending the Passengers' Act; nor would he have objected to the imposition of any moderate colonial tax, proved necessary for the support of sick and destitute emigrants on their arrival in the colony. But he considered that much more than this had been recommended by his noble Friend; and most unquestionably much more had been done by the colonial legislatures, greatly to their own loss and future detriment, as he would presently demonstrate. He held in his hand an account showing the scale of taxation which his noble Friend had recommended for adoption in the colony, and which he had accompanied with some very just remarks as to the necessity of confining this charge to a moderate rate. Nor did he omit adding some very intelligible hints, that if an unreasonable and exaggerated rate of taxation were imposed, the assent of the Crown might very possibly be withheld. Their Lordships would scarcely believe, under these circumstances, that the tax imposed by the colonists, and afterwards sanctioned by the Colonial Office, was actually double the amount that the noble Lord had himself recommended. The Chairman of the Emigration Commissioners had laid before the Committee above stairs the following table proving the fact:—

As proposed by Lord Grey. As enacted in the Colony.
£ s. d. £ s. d.
Tax on each Emigrant 0 5 0 0 10 0
Do. after Sept. 10 0 10 0 1 0 0
Do. after Oct. 1 0 15 0 1 10 0
Do. when vessel is placed in Quarantine 10s. to 20s. 2s. 6d. every 3 days, not to exceed 20s.
Do. on Emigrants considered liable to become chargeable Security of £20 for one year, or 10s. Security of £20 for one year, or 20s.
Thus it will be seen that these colonial imposts were more than twice the amount considered to he adequate by the Secretary of State. An extra charge, amounting to from 10s. to 20s. a head, on the number of emigrants proceeding to British North America is an enormous burden, and operates as a peculiar discouragement to emigration from Ireland. The increased charge, which a most intelligent writer (Mr. Carter) has stated to be about 1l. a head, tells much more heavily on ships from Ireland than on those from London, as the rate of passage from Ireland is much lower. On the Irish emigrant it is an increase of at least 20s. on 50s. or 60s., whilst in London it is 20s. on 100s. Nor is there wanting proof that this most oppressive tax is wholly disproportioned to the necessity of the case. The United States, it may be assumed, are equally interested with our own colonies in guarding against the dangers of dangerous or unprofitable emigration. Fever and pauperism must be equally calamitous in the city of New York and in that of Quebec. Yet the taxation imposed by the foreign State, on aliens, is much lighter than the taxation for analogous purposes imposed by a British colony on British fellow-subjects. This surely is unjust. It is unwise also. The consequence has been, that by the adoption of the plan originating in the suggestion of the noble Earl, the tide of emigration is driven from the British colonies to the united States. This fact is apparent from a comparison of the following figures:—
Total Emigration from the United Kingdom for Three Months ending March 31.
Years. No. of Emigrants.
1846 14,972
1847 38,347
1848 38,232
Total Emigration for the Month ending April 30.
1846 29,293
1847 53,348
1848 36,497
Total Emigration for the Month of May.
1846 21,334
1847 50,328
1848 28,281
It is on a closer analysis that the effect of the increased charge on emigrants into our own territory is made more apparent. The emigration to the British colonies for the months of April and May, in the same years, stands as follows:—
No. of Emigrants.
April, 1846 14,422
April, 1847 30,631
April, 1848 8,980
May, 1846 7,760
May, 1847 31,188
May, 1848 3,866
Now, the United States Emigration for the same period exhibits wholly opposite results, and is as follows:—
April, 1846 14,278
April, 1847 22,202
April, 1848 25,705
May, 1846 13,254
May, 1847 18,029
May, 1848 22,672
The same facts are proved by the evidence of Mr. Carter, who stated that the number of emigrants conveyed in four of his own ships had fallen off, between the years 1847 and 1848, from 551 to 384; but he added— In order to show the effect of the new law passed in England and Canada, it is necessary to state the number of emigrants in each ship separately. The first ship this year, before the new laws took effect, carried 198 passengers, as compared with 140 in the corresponding ship last year; while the three ships this year, to which the altered state of the law applied, averaged only 186, as compared with 411, by the corresponding ships in 1847. The charge in New York, the same writer states, "has been recently reduced, whilst our own in Canada has been materially increased." Such was the effect of his noble Friend's interposition in relation to British North America; and it was not surprising, under such circumstances, that he judged it more prudent on the present occasion to eschew the subject altogether. He might here state that, in some material respects, both in the laws passed for the protection of the emigrants, and in the hospital accommodation provided at New York, that foreign State was in advance of our own colonies. Whilst thus increasing the difficulties of the emigration of British settlers to British colonies, he must admit that the noble Lord had shown himself more generous and more liberal to foreign emigrants. He would be able to show a most extraordinary, and, in his judgment, a most indefensible, step taken by the Colonial Office, in which, so far from imposing any new burden on foreign emigrants, colonial revenues were actually applied to assist the emigration of 400 Silesian emigrants to Port Philip. This most extraordinary fact is stated in the eighth report of the Emigration Commissioners (page 9), and would be almost incredible except on such conclusive authority. The Commissioners inform us that 31 applications had been made to import 119 German labourers and their families, being exclusively vine dressers, wine makers, and wine coopers; the rest of this immigration being assisted by a colonial bounty. To this measure no possible objection could be raised. With the existing prospects of a more extended cultivation of the grape, and a greatly improved manufacture of wine, this introduction of skilled labour was eminently politic. It rested likewise on the previously ascertained success of Mr. Macarthur's experiment. But the noble Lord has gone farther. The Commissioners add— That they are also engaged in negotiating, under instructions from your Lordship, for the transmission to Port Philip of about 400 Silesian emigrants, containing a considerable portion of persons of the same classes, and on terms which we hope will prove advantageous to the colony. Now, against this misapplication of Government aid, and of colonial resources, he (Lord Monteagle) would altogether protest. The notion of seeking vine cultivators in Silesia was an absurdity. He was happy to think that the "scheme," as it is justly called, is likely to fail. This failure—not, however, arising from the application by the Secretary of State of the obvious rule that would secure a preference to the subjects of Her Majesty over Silesians, or any other foreigners, but from the warlike propensities of that most aggressive monarch the King of Prussia, who, in order to carry on hostilities against his unoffending neighbours, had required the service of some of the intended emigrants in his newly-raised landwehr. He (Lord Monteagle) was the more astonished that this course should have been pursued by his noble Friend, because, in his correspondence with the Governor of the Cape of Good Hope—in reply to Sir Henry Pottinger, who had expressed wishes that German emigrants should be encouraged to proceed to the Cape—his noble Friend had laid down the principle absolutely that all the means of emigration at the disposal of Government should be exclusively reserved for the Queen's subjects. But he must be permitted to return to the question of British North America, from which he had been diverted by the question of Silesian emigration. In so doing, he must, once for all, guard himself against the supposition of being disposed to recommend, or to support, any plan of emigration which was not likely to promote colonial as well as European interests, and which was not in entire accordance with colonial feelings likewise. The North American colonists, he fully admitted, had to endure much suffering in the last year. But that suffering was entirely connected with the state of disease existing in particular districts, and at that particular time, and was not incidental to emigration generally. On the contrary, all former experience told the other way. What was the opinion of the Commissioners themselves? They inform the Secretary of State that— At no earlier period of five years had so many people emigrated, as in the five years ending with 1846; and yet the whole of this emigration was effected healthily and prosperously. The deaths on the voyage did not exceed ½ per cent, or five in the 1,000; and the deaths in quarantine did not exceed 1½ on every 1,000 embarked. The people found no difficulty in getting employment, and were readily absorbed in the mass of the population. The Government, therefore, at the commencement of the year 1847 were in possession of this fact, that in the preceding five years a greater number of persons had emigrated to North America than had ever done so before, and had emigrated under existing arrangements without sickness or serious difficulty or disaster. And even the Canadian authorities, when suffering most severely from the fever of last year, guarded themselves carefully against the suspicion of seeking to throw any discouragement upon emigration generally. Such was the language of the legislature, of their municipal councils, and of the grand juries, who had expressed their views in the most unqualified manner. Therefore, while the Canadians condemned the ill-regulated and unsystematic emigration carried on from certain districts in Ireland, abounding in disease and pro- pagating it, they did not, even in the time of their greatest suffering, condemn emigration generally. On the contrary, in the Address from the Parliament of Canada to the Queen, he found the following passage:— We feel bound to declare to Your Majesty that, while we believe that this House and the people of the province are most desirous to welcome to this colony all those of their fellow-subjects who may think proper to emigrate from the parent country to settle among them, we are convinced that a continued emigration of a similar character to that which is now tailing place, is calculated to produce a most injurious effect upon our prosperity, unless conducted upon some more systematic principle. Nor did his noble Friend appear to differ in any respect from these opinions, for in a despatch addressed to the Earl of Elgin, he had stated his conviction that an enlarged and systematic system of emigration would greatly benefit the North American colonies, as well as the emigrants themselves. Why, then, did not the noble Lord suggest, for our adoption, some practical mode of fulfilling the duty which he thus freely admitted was one capable of being discharged, and which, as responsible to the Sovereign, to the British people, and to the colonies, with whose government he was entrusted, he was therefore bound to discharge? His noble Friend, in his despatch to Lord Elgin, of the 1st of December, 1847, stated that— There is nothing in the situation of Canada which renders it impossible, by judicious regulations, to provide for the occupation of her vacant territory in a regular and systematic manner, instead of leaving this to be effected, as heretofore, by the desultory, and, too often, ill-directed efforts of individuals. The saving of labour and capital which would result from such a system would cause the increase of the numbers of her inhabitants by emigration to be the means of advancing the province yet more rapidly in wealth and in civilisation. Were these good resolutions—were all these enunciations of sound principle—to lead to nothing? Was every thing to end in empty profession? Even at the eleventh hour, and after hearing the noble Lord's careful and elaborate speech, he would ask their Lordships whether he had brought forward any practical proposition whatever? Where, he would ask, was the noble Lord's scheme for the regular and systematic emigration which he described to Lord Elgin as being practicable and necessary, and which it was therefore his duty as Colonial Minister to have submitted to Parliament? All seemed to be left a profitless blank; and both to the colonies and the British public, disappointment and dismay would be the necessary consequences. The noble Lord appeared to rely exclusively upon his Australian emigration. On this he seemed to rest his claim on public confidence; and here he seemed to think that he had realised all the true principles of colonisation. It was far indeed from his (Lord Monteagle's) intention to speak in disparagement of our prospering Australian colonies. He was the very last person who was disposed to do so. On the contrary, whilst he rejoiced in their success, in common with all lovers of his country, he felt an additional and a personal gratification in marking their progress both in civilisation and in wealth. He could not forget that the formation of the Port Philip settlement was attributable to one of his oldest and most valued friends, a gallant officer, Sir Richard Bourke, whose salutary reforms and wise administration would long be remembered in New South Wales. And he might be permitted to add, that few acts in his own political life were more gratifying to him than having as Colonial Secretary in 1834 introduced into the House of Commons the Act which led to the settlement of South Australia. But because these colonies, as well as the Sydney province, were prospering, it would be wholly erroneous to suppose that all that was required had been done, or that much that was an impediment to colonisation was not now in mischievous activity. It is true that the noble Lord had gone greater lengths in Australia than elsewhere in applying his principles. He had even done so in a manner which to some would appear to involve startling and original doctrines. For not only did he willingly acquiesce in Sir C. Fitzroy's proposal to borrow a sum of 100,000l. for emigration purposes, but he also recommends the creation of a larger debt for similar purposes; and at last, possibly excited by the subject, he goes further, and undertakes that a national debt is in itself a national benefit. The following is an extract from the despatch of the Colonial Office of 18th December, 1847:—


"18th December, 1847.

"When I authorised you to raise 100,000l. for defraying the expense of 5,000 adult emigrants, I was much induced to believe that a larger sum than you have had suggested might with great advantage be raised for the purposes of emigration; and the further accounts which have since reached me as to the urgency of the want of labour in New South Wales, have removed any doubts I enter- tained, and have convinced me that in order effectually to supply this want, the expenditure you contemplated ought to be very considerably increased."

His noble Friend then proceeds to recommend a more extended system of borrowing on the security of the colony; and he then proceeds to reason in a manner most consolatory to an old financier:— This is a practice no doubt exceedingly liable to abuse; but when the object for which money is raised is not unproductive but productive, the danger of abuse is very greatly diminished; and in the present instance there can be no reasonable doubt that an addition to the population of New South Wales, of the kind which is contemplated, by affording an additional supply of labour which is so urgently wanted, would immediately increase the productive power and wealth of the community. The Commissioners of Colonisation inform me, however, that the supply of really eligible emigrants is limited; and with the demand for emigrants which is now increasing, not only for the Australian colonies, but for the Cape of Good Hope and New Zealand, it is doubtful whether the necessary number can be obtainable. His noble Friend justly remarked on the enormous increase of the wool exported from New South Wales. It was natural and most important to consider this augmenting source of wealth; but why did his noble Friend omit to mention the fact that the wool was rotting, diminished in quantity and deteriorated in quality for want of shepherds, and that between 800,000 and 900,000 sheep had been boiled down in the last year to be converted into tallow, there being no labour to enable the owners to turn them to greater profit. Thus the capital of the colony was sacrificed. What the colonies wanted was labour. It was labour with which the noble Earl should supply them. The capacity of the Australian colonies to absorb labour, and the consequences that must ensue if that labour is not supplied, have never been stated more authoritatively than in the able report made by the Select Committee of Immigration made to the Legislative Council of New South Wales, and now on the table of the House:— The Committee can anticipate no difficulty in the way of any number of persons that the colony may require being found willing to emigrate from different parts of the United Kingdom. Such is the statement of those who from their position in the colony and from their local knowledge, are entitled to speak with authority. But Mr. Cowper's able report sums up the whole argument in the following impressive language:— Your Committee wish to conclude their report by reiterating their solemn conviction that the question of immigration is not one that is to be regarded as affecting the mere prospective interests of the colony, or those of a particular class. It involves the consideration of the all but immediate ruin of every employer of labour, and the ultimate annihilation of those sources of profitable industry and enterprise upon the due exercise and development of which the prosperity of the colony depends. The Australian colonies contribute one-third of the whole of the wool imported into Britain. Those who now produce that commodity must cease to do so when the wages of labour exceed all profits derivable from the pursuit in which they are engaged. It may be alleged that the evil here deprecated may only amount to a mere change of ownership from the master to the servant, and that the ruin of the one will be coincident with the improved condition of the other; and that, in point of fact, such an exchange of the relative position of master and servant is already exemplified to a considerable extent. It can require no argument with your honourable House, and it is hoped none with Her Majesty's Government, to show that such an inversion of all social relations as that here depicted must be fatal to the welfare of the community. Before, however, such a crisis arrives, the real elements of the present as well as future wealth of the country will, to a great extent, be annihilated, the cattle and sheep will be boiled down for their hides and tallow, and capital and skill will be permanently withdrawn from a country where they have ceased to be profitable. The same evidence was given last year by Mr. Jackson, who had been twenty years a resident in the colony. He stated before the Committee— 2334. I believe that in one year upwards of 20,000 emigrants went to New South Wales alone, and were readily absorbed; and looking at the extent of available land, and the number of sheep and cattle, I can see no season why there should not be 30,000, 40,000, or 50,000, absorbed on a well-digested scheme of emigration. Indeed it is almost impossible to hazard a statement as to the number; but I believe if you began with 30,000 this year, the probability would be that in the next year or eighteen months the colonies would absorb 50,000 more, and the year after 100,000, because sheep increase so wonderfully fast. And in the new discoveries, much of the country is a country most eligible for agriculture. If such are the crying wants of the colony, it may be asked what impediments exist to check emigration? He was inclined to trace those impediments (to a very considerable extent at least) to the injurious regulation adopted with regard to the sale of land. The plan of fixing the minimum price at a certain given sum, namely 20s. an acre, was indefensible. In the year 1840, when the price was fixed at 5s. an acre, the sum received for lands sold was 324,000l. But when the price was raised to 20s., the sum received in subsequent years rapidly fell off. These facts are strikingly exemplified in the following ex- tract from Mr. Low's most able report to the Legislative Council of New South Wales:— The declaration of Parliament that land shall not be sold till it realise 1l. an acre, is a declaration that land shall not be sold till it will

Year. CROWN LANDS SOLD AT Special Surveys. Total Sold. Total Amount for Lands Sold.
5s. per Acre. 12s. per Acre. 20s. per Acre. Upwards of 20s. per Acre.
Country. Country. Country. Town. Country.
A. R. P. Acres. A. R. P. A. R. P. A. R. P. Acres. A. R. P. £ s. d.
1837 368,483 0 6 212 2 36 368,695 3 2 121,962 12 5
1838 315,059 2 10 228 2 26 30 0 0 315,318 0 36 128,865 6 5
*1839 249,896 3 18 30,218 2,664 0 36 2,785 1 38 351 1 8 285,915 3 20 166,713 11 4
1840 68,873 3 13 111,720 2,058 1 8 5,525 0 1 1,291 1 34 189,468 2 16 324,072 3 1
†1841 16,430 3,310 0 0 248 2 34 153 1 16 66,199 86,341 0 10 92,636 10 9
‡1842 4,898 1,340 2 4 170 0 7 471 3 34 15,023 21,903 2 5 18,312 13 2
§1843 616 3,205 2 31 157 1 39 717 2 0 121 4,817 2 30 12,205 14 8
1844 3,822 2 16 245 3 20 190 3 15 4,259 1 11 9,174 15 3
1845 127 0 0 4,440 1 33 1,754 3 20 945 1 5 7,267 2 18 18,025 15 6
1846 103 2,841 2 0 228 2 31½ 3,791 1 2 7,018 1 33½ 27,700 8 7
Totals 1,002,440 1 7 163,985 23,683 1 8 11,611 2 12½ 7,942 3 34 81,343 1,291,006 0 21½ 919,669 11 2
NOTE.—In the year 1831 Lord Ripon's regulations for the abolition of free grants, and the sale by auction of all Crown lands, were first promulgated in the colony.
* 1839.—In this year the minimum price was raised from 5s. to 12s. an acre, but did not extend to lands previously advertised at the former rate, of which there was a very large quantity at the time.
† 1841.—In this year the system of sale at a fixed price of 1l. per acre was introduced into the district of Port Philip.
‡ 1842.—In this year the system of sale by auction was resumed throughout the colony at a minimum upset price of 13s. per acre for country lands, with liberty to select portions not bid for at the upset price.
§ 1843.—In this year the minimum price was raised to 1l. per acre by the Act of the Imperial Parliament, 5th and 6th Viet. cap. 36, with liberty to select, at the upset price, country portions put up to auction and not bid for, or on which the deposit had been forfeited.

"From this table it will appear that the sum realised by sales of land in 1816 is less by 3,000l. than one-fourth of the sum realised from the same source in 1837. It will also be observed that in the five years which have elapsed since the raising of the minimum price to 1l. an acre, the whole sum realised by land sales is not quite 80,000l., or two-thirds of the sum realised in the single average year 1837, and the whole number of acres sold about 45,000, or less than one-eighth of the number sold in 1837. The result is more striking when it is observed that in 1837 the population of the colony amounted to 85,000 persons, while in 1846 the population amounted to upwards of 196,000. Thus by unwise legislation has the permanent settlement been retarded in proportion as the demand for it has increased; and thus the fallacy that land can be made saleable at this price by the introduction of population is practically refuted."

These arguments would he much strengthened if he were at liberty to enter at length into the system of the grant of licenses for pasture land, or what is called the squatting system, irreconcileable as that system is either with a high price for land sold, or with any enlarged and effectual system of emigration. Land cannot be sold at a high price when, without purchase, it can be profitably occupied at a low one; the land fund applicable to emigration must consequently fall off. Nor is this all. The progress of agri

realise more than it is worth; in other words, that, except under very particular circumstances, land shall not be sold at all. That such has been the practical effect of the measure will be evident from the following table of the sums realised from the sale of land since the year 1837:—

culture, the concentration of the population, the creation of a middle class of proprietors, occupying and farming their own estates, are checked, if not absolutely prohibited, and all those elements which tend to the creation of a sound social system are sacrificed or postponed.

On the subject of the want of labour in New South Wales, the colony where the noble Earl conceived that his measures had been so pre-eminently successful, he would only trouble the House with one further piece of evidence. It was contained in a letter from Mr. Nicolson, the Speaker of the Legislature:— I address this letter to you from Lake George. The country is generally looking beautiful, and is covered with a carpet of the richest and blackest turf. On the farms where cultivation is carried on, there are abundant crops, and the trees in the orchards are bent with fruit. All these gifts are in a great measure valueless for want of men to enjoy and partake of them. Farmers will not grow wheat for want of a market; and in an orchard in Goulburn I was told that the choicest and most luxuriant crops would not be plucked, as they were not worth the labour of pulling. All this redundancy of the necessaries and luxuries of life is rendered valueless from the great and increasing scarcity of labour. So great is the alarm felt on the subject, that efforts have been made to induce the Home Government to renew transportation to this colony. The proposition has met with great opposition on the part of the labouring classes, and many influential persons, including the ministers of religion, who deprecate the idea of again converting the colony into a receptacle for the crime of Great Britain. The reply is that the want of labour is so irresistible that, unless procured in that way, we must have recourse to the systematic introduction of expired convicts from Van Diemen's Land and Norfolk Island—characters who are found, after the schooling they have had in those places, infinitely more immoral than convicts sent direct from England; for the fact is, we must have labour in some shape or other—free labour if we can get it, if not, then prison labour, and, failing either, Coolie labour. We wish to receive emigrants; we are willing to pay for them. There are millions among you dying of hunger; let us have those starving crowds; here they will find a superabundance of the necessaries of life. Instead of importing Indian corn to the starving peasant, export the peasant and his family to where the Indian corn grows. The mother country will thus be relieved of a load which is increasing annually, and pressing on her resources in the most fearful manner. The same evidence of progress and of want of labour is given in relation to the other Australian colonies. "Though South Australia dates somewhat more than ten years," observes Mr. Elliot, "its prosperity has occurred in five." This progress is evident from the following table—

1840 1845
Total population 14,610 22,390
Town population 8,489 7,413
Country population 6,112 14,977
No. of public-houses 107 85
Convictions for Crime 47 22
Cultivated Acres 2,503 26,000
Exp Colonial Produce 15,650l. 131,800l.
Revenue 30,199l. 32,099l.
Expenditure 169,966l. 36,182l.
But still, it was stated by Mr. Morphett, a member of the legislative council— There are hundreds of thousands of acres still unoccupied, very good in quality, and perfectly fit for agricultural purposes. The progress of Port Philip is even more rapid; yet the want of labour is strongly felt. The consequences are well described in the following evidence of Mr. A. Cuningham:— The want of labour is a very great obstacle; so great a one, that, unless I saw a prospect of emigration being placed on a satisfactory footing, I should not invest further capital there. I propose returning to the colony and to take with me a considerable amount of capital if I find matters satisfactorily arranged in reference to emigration. It is almost impossible to get labour at all. The wool is worse got up—sheep are running in flocks nearly double the size they should be. There is a want of men to take the wool from the sheep's backs. The wool in Port Philip alone has been deteriorated 40,000l. in the last clip. It should be remembered that the prosperity of these colonies, as stated by his noble Friend, had been the result not of unassisted or unregulated emigration, such as that on which some were now disposed to rely, but was the result of the nearest approach to systematised colonisation which had yet been adopted, and which is only unsatisfactory because it is not as yet boldly carried out to its furthest development. But, if he (Lord Monteagle) wished to show that the laissez faire system of his noble Friend was an absurdity, he need only refer to the condition of the eastern province of the Cape, and to the success which had attended the application of a sum of 50,000l., voted in 1822 for the encouragement of emigrants to that colony. This emigration, too, was connected with many difficulties and mistakes at the outset, and without any fair application of a sound principle. But even under unfavourable circumstances the result of the settlement has been an immense increase in the value of the produce of the revenue, and of the exports, traceable, as he believed, to the interposition of the Crown, and to the Parliamentary grant in 1823. The population is now stated by Sir H. Young to amount to 70,000, of whom one-half are English and Dutch; 35,000 acres of land are in cultivation. In 1830 the value of wool exported was but 220l.; it now amounts to 143,000l The annual agricultural produce of the eastern district is valued at 269,000l.; the live stock at 2,297,000l, and the fixed property at 2,136,000l. He would ask, in reference to Southern Africa, had that power of successful settlement ceased? Was it incapable of further extension? He should reply by referring to the new but promising settlement of Natal. This colony, though but of a few years' growth, already gives evidence of great future development. The area is estimated at 13,000 square miles; the climate and soil in all respects are most favourable; it is well watered. Cotton is there perennial, and the indigo plant is indigenous. The imports already exceed 32,000l., and the direct export is to the value of 10,000l. Sir P. Maitland has expressed the following opinion on the adaptation of Natal for the reception of European emigrants:— I submit to your Lordships that it would be highly desirable to promote the emigration to Natal of Europeans possessed of some amount of capital. The district has far greater agricultural capabilities than the Cape—a better supply of water—richer soil. Unless something of the kind he effected, the settlement will degenerate into little more than a colony of natives. This opinion was expressed some years hack; but the evidence of the gallant officer, Sir Harry Smith, who now governs the colony—evidence given after a personal visit—is even more important and more conclusive:— In this vast district (Natal) there is space for a population of 2,000,000. The land is in many places rich and fertile beyond description; capable of producing cotton, tobacco, and, I think, indigo, as the latter in its wild state abounds; well watered and possessing rich coal mines The treasury for the present requires assistance, for no settlement has ever yet jumped into maturity. Exertion must be used to increase its white population. He (Lord Monteagle) would pray Her Majesty's Government, as well as the Secretary of State, to weigh these facts well. They deserved the most serious attention. Did not his noble Friend observe the signs of the times? Did he not appreciate the altered state of opinion? And did he think the people of this country would be satisfied with the meagre plan he had developed? He advised his noble Friend to look to the manner in which the question of emigration was now viewed and discussed in the other House of Parliament—he advised him to weigh well the interest which it excited in the press of the country. A few years ago there was no subject less understood by the people or the press. It was then considered as if it could only be regarded or recommended on narrow and selfish grounds. It was believed that in Ireland and Scotland emigration was sought to be promoted solely for the purpose of relieving the landlord's estates; in England its object was supposed to be a reduction of the parochial rates. It was now better understood. It was now looked upon as a question above all selfish interest. It was justly viewed as a great imperial question. He (Lord Monteagle) contemplated no system of emigration that would not be advantageous to the emigrant, acceptable to the colonies, and beneficial to the mother country. No error could be greater than to consider these interests as conflicting; on the contrary, they were inseparably united. He considered that, to avoid any glut of labour, European emigration might be combined most advantageously with the execution of great and useful works in the colonies. Take as an example an object recommended by all suc- cessive Governments as a great measure of colonial safety and State policy—the execution of a railroad from Halifax to Quebec; made all the more necessary from the opening of the line from Montreal to Portland in the United States, which rendered British North America, to a certain degree, dependent on and tributary to a foreign Power. He could multiply instances of the same kind in many of our colonial possessions, where useful public works might be made auxiliary to emigration, in all cases where doubts existed of an adequate demand for labour. But he confessed that he had heard nothing from his noble Friend which gave him the slightest hopes that the question was considered by the Government in the point of view it required to be placed in. On the contrary, he was reluctantly bound to add that no one part of the noble Lord's statement showed that he was prepared to recommend any plan of systematic colonisation, to which he ought that very night to have pledged himself, and pledged his Colleagues. Nor was there any one expression which would lead the House to entertain the remotest expectation that either by his noble Friend, or through his agents, any possible relief would be effected either for the suffering people of this country, or for the suffering colonists. Viewing this debate in the effect it was likely to produce in the minds of the thinking and reading public, he could not but anticipate that the statement of his noble Friend would be felt by the country to be feeble, inconclusive, and unsatisfactory.


I did not expect that my noble Friend who has just sat down would have taken this opportunity of making upon me so elaborate an attack, putting the worst construction on every despatch I have written, and on every measure I have adopted on the subject of emigration. I regret that he has done so, because it imposes upon me the necessity of again trespassing upon your Lordships, for though I am conscious that I have already taken up more of your time than I could have wished, I am sure your Lordships will perceive that it is impossible for me to pass by the speech of my noble Friend without some remarks.

I must, in the first place, call your Lordships' attention to that which is comparatively of very little importance—my noble Friend's attack upon myself personally. My noble Friend has imputed to me great inconsistency, for having formerly, when out of office, recommended measures of very extensive colonisation, entirely of a different character from those which now, with the responsibility of office upon me, I have adopted; and in support of that charge my noble friend has referred to a speech which I made in the House of Commons in support of Mr. Charles Buller's Motion on systematic colonisation. I confess I heard this with some surprise, because it so happens that in that very speech I expressed opinions as to the real advantages of colonisation, precisely the same with those which I have already addressed to your Lordships. Since my noble Friend spoke I have referred to the speech which I made on the occasion adverted to, and I will read only one short extract from it. I am reported to have used the following expressions:— He confessed that the chief advantage to which he looked, from measures of the kind advocated by his hon. and learned Friend, was not that of obtaining immediate relief by diminishing the want of employment now so much felt and complained of. It was to measures of a different character to which they must chiefly look to attain that object; but as subsidiary to measures of this kind, according to his hon. and learned Friend's statement, he thought colonisation was particularly important. And I then proceeded to describe almost in the very words I have already used to your Lordships this evening, the political advantages, and the advantages from the erection of new markets for our trade, which I conceive to result from emigration. My Lords, I have always held, that it was not as a mode of effecting a positive reduction in the numbers of the population of this country that emigration is of real value. I have never believed that there existed in this country any real or permanent excess of population. I am convinced, that taking the country as a whole, its still undeveloped resources afford ample means for the profitable employment of our increasing population; and that now that the shackles are removed from industry, and that the right of every man to turn his labour to the best account has been practically restored, all who are able and willing to work will in general find the means of doing so. I do not mean that there will not be partial and temporary difficulties arising from the occasional misdirection of industry, and from those calamities with which Providence may sometimes visit us, and from which no human society can expect to be always exempt; but I do assert that there is no ground whatever for believing that in this country industry will not in general meet with its due reward. I have also always maintained that those who look to emigration for relief from the distress to which the industrious classes are occasionally exposed, have not sufficiently adverted to the fact that any diminution of the population by artificial means would necessarily and inevitably be followed by an acceleration in the rate of increase of the population, which would more than meet the vacuum so occasioned. It is well known that in cases where the population of any country has been thinned by pestilence, by famine, or by war, the diminution of numbers thus created has invariably been supplied with a rapidity almost inconceivable. Mr. Malthus and all the most eminent writers upon these subjects have agreed that such is the uniform course of events. I always maintained this opinion; but at the same time I have admitted, that there is in some parts of the united kingdom, and more especially in Ireland, a sort of local congestion of population, and that practical difficulties, as much of a political as of an economical nature, prevent the surplus labour of particular districts from being productively applied at home; so that for their relief emigration might be of great advantage. These were formerly, and these continue to be my opinions upon this subject; but the great difference between my noble Friend and myself seems to be that he thinks that there ought to be some enormous grant of several millions of the public money for the advancement of emigration, while I, on the other hand, doubt whether such large grants taken out of the taxes of this country would have any other effect except that of conferring a benefit on the individuals sent out, whilst they would add to the heavy pressure of taxation on those who remained behind. My noble Friend thinks, that by means of these large grants, the State should carry out and settle emigrants upon the vacant land of our colonies; I, on the other hand, am of opinion that the State should only interfere to assist and direct the emigrant, leaving him to act for himself.

My noble Friend, in illustration of the advantages which he thinks would arise from his scheme of planting emigrants in our colonies, has referred to the eastern division of the Cape of Good Hope. Now, my Lords, if I had wanted to prove the great superiority of spontaneous colonisation over that artificial system which he has recommended, it would be impossible for me to have selected a better illustration of it than that afforded by a comparison of this settlement at the Cape with those formed on an opposite principle. Take the facts as they have been stated by my noble Friend. He tells us, that this settlement was formed in the year 1822, that a grant of 50,000l. was voted by Parliament for the purpose, and we are told by my noble Friend, as a proof of the success of this settlement, that it is now a thriving community; and last year exported two millions of lbs. weight of wool. Now, my Lords, as I have already mentioned, the district of Port Philip was colonised not in 1822 but in 1836–7; that is, it has been established about twelve years, instead of twenty-six. Instead of costing 50,000l., it has cost this country nothing. Yet, taking my noble Friend's own test of its prosperity—the export of wool—I find that instead of the gross export of two millions of lbs., of which he boasts so much, the mere increase on the export of wool from the Port Philip district of 1847, as compared to 1846, was four millions of lbs., or twice the total produce of the settlement referred to with so much satisfaction by my noble Friend. If I were to compare the revenue, or the progress in population of the two districts, the result would be equally striking in favour of Port Philip.

My Lords, this reference to Port Philip reminds me of the objections urged by my noble Friend to the system of selling land at a pound an acre. My noble Friend has condemned that system as absurd and mischievous. Allow me to remind him, that when the system of selling land at 5s. an acre was established in 1831, the objections to this were not less general, or less loud, than to the higher price which Parliament has now established, and that the real principle of both measures, and the grounds upon which both have been objected to, are in fact the same. Nor is it true, as my noble Friend has alleged, that this price is a uniform price, applying equally to land of every different quality and value. On the contrary, it is the minimum price, and as all land offered for sale is in the first instance put up to auction, that of a superior quality naturally realises a higher price; and, if I remember right, the average price of agricultural land in South Australia, realised by auction, has been 23s. or 24s. an acre, instead of the minimum of a pound. My Lords, this is not an occasion on which it is possible for me to enter into a full examination of the policy of imposing the price which Parliament has fixed on waste land in Australia; but I cannot forbear, after what has been said by my noble Friend, calling for attention to the effects of that policy, as shown by experience, when contrasted with the former system. Compare, my Lords, the progress of Southern and of Western Australia. Western Australia was founded some years earlier than the other. In Western Australia large grants of land were made to capitalists, in proportion to the means they were supposed to possess. In South Australia, on the other hand, from the first, land has never been alienated at a lower price than a pound an acre. I speak from memory; but I am sure I am not greatly mistaken, when I say there is no great difference in the total cost to this country of these two settlements. South Australia, owing to extravagance and mismanagement at the outset, has required assistance to the extent of something more than 230,000l. Western Australia has never required any one grant to so large an amount; but having been from the first dependent upon the annual votes of Parliament for the maintenance of its civil establishment, the total amount granted to it is now five or six thousand pounds more than has been given to South Australia. Thus far there is no great difference; but now Western Australia has a population not yet exceeding 5,000, and is still unable to defray its own expenses, while South Australia has a population which, by this time must exceed 30,000, and is rapidly increasing from the large funds it possesses applicable to emigration. It has also a surplus revenue more than equal to all its expenditure. The one is languishing, and only now showing some symptoms of emerging from its long period of stagnation; the other is making rapid progress in a course of almost unexampled prosperity. I must add that these opposite results are to be accounted for entirely by the opposite policy pursued in the two cases, on this subject of land.

My noble Friend, after condemning the system of land sales which is in force in Australia, proceeded to express a still stronger objection to the regulations for the occupation of pastoral land (commonly called squatting), established by Her Majesty's Order in Council, under the authority of the Act of Parliament of 1846. My Lords, I admit to my noble Friend, that it would perhaps have been better if the colo- nists could have been induced to abstain from occupying so vast an extent of territory as that actually ranged over by their flocks and herds. This system, however, has grown up, not by the encouragement of the Government, but the reverse, and it rose to its present importance from causes over which he had no control, while Lord Stanley was Secretary of State. Whatever then might be thought of the advantages or disadvantages of the system, when it had thus established itself, all that remained was to endeavour to make such regulations as should render it productive of as little evil and of as much advantage as possible. Such was the object of the regulations which, on my advice, Her Majesty enacted by Her Order in Council; and when my noble Friend was so severe upon the ignorance of local circumstances which he conceives those regulations to have evinced, he can hardly have been aware that in framing those regulations I did not trust to my own local knowledge (which of course would have been entirely insufficient), but I had the assistance of one of the best and ablest public servants ever employed in our colonies, I allude to the late Sir George Gipps. I am happy also to inform my noble Friend that instead of being so unsuitable, as he supposes, to the wants of the colony, it appears by the latest accounts, that those regulations are likely to work with very great success; that the boundaries between the different descriptions of land have been upon the whole very correctly drawn; and that a question of singular difficulty and importance has received the best solution of which it was capable, by providing new facilities for the profitable occupation of the territory used for pastoral purposes; while at the same time enough, and more than enough, land to meet the wants of more permanent settlers, has been retained at the disposal of the Government.

My Lords, I fear that in following my noble Friend, my observations are necessarily somewhat desultory; but this is unavoidable, as I wish to touch, as shortly as I can, only on the principal topics which he mentioned. The next point to which he adverted was the improper abstraction, which he accused me of having sanctioned, of funds which ought to have been reserved exclusively for British emigration, to the conveyance of foreigners to Australia. He referred to a statement, which he has found in the report of the Emigration Commissioners, of a negotiation entered into for carrying 400 Silesian emigrants to Australia, and he has asked me, how I could have been guilty of so gross an injustice to the many British subjects anxious to be conveyed to our colonies, by entertaining this proposal; when I had myself, in a despatch to Sir Henry Pottinger, on the subject of a projected emigration of Germans to Natal, expressed my opinion that funds applicable to emigration, derived from the sale of colonial lands, ought to be devoted only to the conveyance of British subjects. Subject to one qualification, I hold that opinion, and I have uniformly and steadily acted upon it, and I have refused to sanction the application of any portion of the territorial revenue of the colonies, set apart for emigration, to the conveyance either of Germans from Hamburgh, or of Coolies from India, or of Chinese from Singapore, to our colonies. I have invariably maintained the principle, that as these colonies have been established and are defended at the cost of the empire, their vacant lands must be considered as the inheritance of British subjects. I have said that there is one exception to this principle. The climate of the Australian colonies is adapted to some kinds of cultivation, of which in these islands we have no experience. The vine and the olive both flourish in those colonies, and therefore it is greatly for their advantage and that of the empire at large, that there should be introduced into them a limited number of the natives of those parts of Europe in which these branches of industry are successfully prosecuted. With this view, regulations have been established by the colonial governments, and sanctioned, I believe, by Lord Stanley (and which, if not already sanctioned by him, undoubtedly would have been so by myself), permitting the application of funds derived from the sale of land, to the introduction of a few emigrants of this description.

Now, my Lords, with regard to the projected emigration from Silesia, my explanation is simply this, that except some few who would have come within the rule I have mentioned, these foreigners were to have been carried to Australia, not by Australian but by Silesian money. No part of the land fund of Australia, except that contributed by Silesian land proprietors, with the view to this emigration, would have been allowed to be thus applied; no British emigrant, therefore, would have lost the means of conveyance which he would otherwise have enjoyed, and the colony would have gained by the introduction not only of labourers, but of capitalists from Silesia. The scheme, however, as has been explained by the Commissioners in their report, was rendered abortive, or at any rate suspended by the political convulsions of Germany.*

But, my Lords, the severest censure pronounced upon me, by my noble Friend, was for having entirely neglected the subject of emigration to North America, and more especially for not having done anything to fulfil the promise made on behalf of the Government, on the occasion of the Address voted last year by the House of Commons—to cause an inquiry to be instituted in the colonies into the best mode of extending and promoting emigration. It is true, my Lords, that I did not in a formal despatch send a copy of the Address of the House of Commons to the governors of the colonies, and direct them to institute the contemplated inquiry into the means of * In making this statement I spoke from memory as to the effect of a correspondence which took place several months ago, and of which I find, upon referring to it, that my recollection was not quite accurate. It appears that in this case the purchase of land by some of the intended emigrants formed no part of the plan, and that its object was to obtain for the colony, at a very cheap rate, a party of emigrant labourers, including some skilled in the cultivation of the vine; a farther object being to establish a connexion between the district of Port Philip and a part of Germany, whence a large number of settlers might be expected to follow at their own cost. With these views it was proposed by a gentleman connected with the colony that a party of about two hundred Moravians of Lower Silesia, described as "comprising vine-dressers and agricultural and pastoral labourers, with a few mechanics, and accompanied by one or two principals or educated persons," should be allowed a bounty of 5l. for each person, to assist them in emigrating to Port Philip. This was afterwards changed to a proposal to send four hundred people at 2l. 10s. It was represented that from their occupations many of the party would have been qualified by the existing regulations to have demanded the high bounty of 18l. each, if they had gone out in consequence of orders for foreign labourers, specially transmitted from employers in the colony, and that a very much larger sum would thus have been paid for a portion of those labourers than was asked for the whole party. The arrangement would therefore have obviously been highly beneficial to the colony, as in addition to the labourers skilled in a peculiar branch of industry who were required, it would have obtained several more very useful settlers at a cost in all considerably less than that which it would have been considered worth while to incur for the former alone. The small sum of 1,000l. intended to have been thus applied, was not to have been taken from the moiety of the land fund set apart by law for immigration. extending emigration; but both before and after that Address was voted, I had been in correspondence with the colonial governors upon this most important subject; and if your Lordships will refer to the papers which have from time to time been laid upon your table, you will see that the means of promoting an extended emigration and the settlement of the lands of Canada and New Bruswick, have constantly occupied the attention of the governors, and no less so my own.

My noble Friend, indeed, has himself quoted from my despatches, instructions given by me upon this subject, which would show how little it has been neglected; and he has actually made it a matter of charge against me, that while I have written so strongly in favour of a more regular and systematic occupation of the territory of Canada, no measures of the kind I have recommended have been adopted. My Lords, the reason why no such measures have been carried into effect is, that I still retain the opinion which my noble Friend has taunted me with having expressed in 1845, that it is impossible to administer from Downing Street the local affairs of all the colonial dependencies of the British Crown. I entertain, and I act upon that opinion, and that is the reason why I have not attempted to enforce my own views, though I still continue to believe that if the price of land were raised in Canada—the produce of the sale being devoted to the construction of roads and other works necessary for the profitable occupation of the soil—the purchasers of land would obtain it in reality cheaper than at present, while the settlement of the territory, instead of proceeding in the desultory manner it now does, would be carried forward with regularity, and civilised society would, as it were, be gradually pushed forward into the forests. Though I have seen no reason to alter my views upon this subject, I certainly am not prepared to press for the adoption of this policy, contrary to the opinion of all who have most local knowledge and experience—against the judgment of Lord Sydenham, of Sir C. Bagot, of Lord Metcalfe, of Lord Elgin, of their different Executive Councils, of the Provincial Parliament, and of the various land companies, who have all considered and agreed in rejecting as impracticable the various plans which have been proposed for the more regular settlement of large bodies of emigrants. My Lords, this is a subject upon which the Canadians have a right to demand that their views and their judgment, not those of the British Government, should prevail.

But my noble Friend has complained that, instead of promoting, we have checked emigration to our North American colonies; and he has reverted to the subject he has more than once previously mentioned, of the laws for regulating emigration which the legislatures of those colonies have lately passed. I have already had occasion to explain to your Lordships the reasons which rendered the passing of some such laws absolutely necessary; and I confess I heard with great regret the invidious contrast between the conduct of Canada and of the State of New York towards the Irish emigrants, which has been drawn; a contrast more unjust than even the rest of the speech which my noble Friend has made this evening. My noble Friend says, that while Canada levies a much heavier tax upon emigrants than New York, she does far less for them. Nothing can be more contrary to the fact. It may be true that, by the recent law, the tax charged upon emigrants may be somewhat higher in Canada; but, in return for that tax, Canada provides not only hospital accommodation, but gratuitous conveyance to the distant parts of the province, where they proceed in search of employment, for the emigrants that come to the St. Lawrence. The hospitals provided in New York may be larger and better; but when the relative means of the two countries are compared, the efforts made by Canada are certainly not the least. It is only within these few days that I have received the full details of the sufferings endured by themselves, and occasioned to the colony by the emigrants who last year resorted to Canada; and I earnestly recommend to your Lordships' attention the report upon this subject of Dr. Douglas, the superintendent of the quarantine establishment in the St. Lawrence, which is included in the papers I have just presented. When you have read that report, I think you will agree with me that it is equally ungrateful and unjust in my noble Friend, to censure the Canadian authorities for their conduct towards the Irish emigrants, when, on the contrary, they are entitled to the very highest praise. It is true that last year great calamities occurred. The extent of emigration, and the amount of sickness, far exceeded what either Her Majesty's Government or the provincial authorities could possibly have anticipated. A large and sickly emigration was expected, and, accordingly, provision was made for assisting more than double the number of sick that had, in any former year, been thrown at once upon the hands of the Government; but, as by the laws last year in force in Canada, and the United States respectively, emigrants were allowed to proceed to the former with far worse accommodation than to the latter, and, consequently, at a cheaper rate, all the poorest and most destitute flocked to Canada, whilst those who were better off, avoiding contact with such wretched objects, went to the United States. The consequence was, that almost as soon as the navigation opened, such crowds of sufferers accumulated at Grosse Isle, that the accommodation provided proved utterly insufficient, and the numbers who continued to arrive, sick and dying, were so overwhelming that no exertions that could be made could keep pace with the still increasing demands for aid under such appalling difficulties. But no possible exertions were omitted. The energy and the judgment displayed, from the Governor General to the most subordinate officers, in carrying into effect, with the utmost promptitude, every arrangement which could be made for the mitigation of the evil, deserve the greatest credit. Above all, our highest admiration is due to the self-devotion with which the clergy, of all persuasions, and the medical officers, exposed themselves to the greatest dangers; and, I deeply regret to say, in too many cases to death, in the discharge of duties the most painful and the most disgusting. After so fearful an experience of the necessity of stringent regulations, my noble Friend has no right to complain of the law which the Canadian Legislature has passed; I trust, however, that in some respects the law will be relaxed; but, even as it stands, the information which has been received shows that it has proved very beneficial. I have been informed, within these two days, by a member of the provincial legislature now in England, that it has effected a marked improvement in the description of emigrants who have proceeded to Canada.

My noble Friend has urged, that emigration should not be allowed to proceed without regulation, and at random, but that the emigrants should be directed and assisted by the Government. My Lords, this is what the Government endeavours to do, and—I will add—has done. Arrangements are made, and most effectively made, for receiving and directing to the quarters where they can obtain employment, the emigrants who proceed to our North American colonies. But my noble Friend wants something more. He wants the Government to undertake the task of selecting and carrying out those who are to emigrate. My Lords, I am convinced that the attempt to do so would be the greatest blow that could be inflicted upon emigration. How, let me ask, is it possible that any machinery of Government officers for selecting and conveying such a multitude as a quarter of a million of emigrants, could do otherwise than prove a failure; while, if such a task were undertaken, those who were sent out would consider the Government responsible for providing for them, and we should have a repetition of all those abuses, and those evils, which arose from the Irish relief works of last year. I repeat that the proper functions of a Government in this matter are not to supersede the efforts of individuals, but rather to guide and assist individual exertion.

But my noble Friend thinks we should go still further, and, if I rightly understand him, he contends that Parliament ought to be called upon for a large grant of money for public works to be undertaken in the North American provinces, to give employment to the emigrants.

My Lords, upon this subject I think it only necessary now to say, that the question of a large advance of money, taken from the produce of our taxes, for public works on the other side of the Atlantic, is one which, in the present state of our finances, is at least full of difficulty. But when my noble Friend refers to the projected railway from Quebec to Halifax as one which we ought to have considered, I beg to assure him that we have not omitted to do so. The construction of that railway, I agree with him in regarding as an object, not only of colonial, but of imperial interest. It has been viewed in this light by the preceding Administration as well as by ourselves; and officers of the Royal Engineers, under the directions of the Board of Ordnance, have accordingly, for more than two years, been employed in making the survey which is necessary before such a work could be decided upon. The final report of that survey has not yet been received, but it is expected almost immediately. In the meantime the provincial authorities are occupied in collecting infor- mation as to the traffic to be expected, and in considering what arrangements might he made for undertaking this great work. When the means of forming a judgment shall thus be placed within our reach, Her Majesty's Government will not lose a day in deliberating on the measures it may be expedient to adopt.

In conclusion, my Lords, I have only to add that my noble Friend has altogether misunderstood what I said, when he has represented me as having expressed an opinion that we ought to rest satisfied with what has already been accomplished in the way of emigration. On the contrary, my argument was, that though we should proceed upon the same principle as heretofore, yet it was the very nature of measures resting upon a sound principle, that they should be progressive, and that, to use my noble Friend's expression, emigration should beget emigration. I pointed out to you to how great an extent this had already been the case, and that, with regard to Australia, a system of promoting emigration begun seventeen years ago, upon the smallest scale, had gradually been extended, and was now producing results of national importance, with every prospect that in each succeeding period of five or ten years the current of emigration will be found to have become larger and stronger.

My Lords, I have no doubt that this will be the case, and that we shall see (if injudicious efforts to accomplish more than can be effected do not mar our prospects) that in the course of a few more years the numbers of our fellow-subjects in the distant regions of the earth are increased to an extent it is impossible now to calculate.

Papers laid on the table.

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