The EARL of MOUNTCASHELL
moved that an humble address be presented to Her Majesty for—1. A return of all papers connected with the Earl Grey emigrant ship, in order to embrace the despatches of the Lieutenant Governor of Sydney, with their enclosures; and the report of the Emigration Committee therein referred to. 2. The communication from Earl Grey to his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant. 3. The evidence and report of Mr. Otway, Poor Law Inspector. 4. All correspondence from his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant addressed to Earl Grey. 5. The reports of the Emigration Commissioners addressed to Earl Grey. 6. The reports of the Poor Law Inspectors, Otway and Senior, on this subject, with their marginal notes. 7. Copies of letters from the Poor Law Commissioners to the Belfast Board of Guardians, with all other correspondence on the subject.The noble Earl then observed, that in con sequence of what had fallen from the noble Secretary for the Colonial Department on a former evening in reference to certain orphans who had been sent from Belfast to the Australian colonies, he had been induced to bring forward this Motion. The noble Earl, in his speech on that occasion, had brought certain specific charges against 355 the guardians of the poor of the Belfast union. Those charges having got into print had been taken up by the board of guardians of that union, and they had passed, in consequence, three resolutions, which he had no occasion to read to their Lordships, denying the accuracy of the noble Earl's statement. His Motion could not, in common fairness, be resisted; and the papers, therefore, must be produced.
§ EARL GREY
replied, that it was most desirable that all the documents connected with the question should be in their Lordships' hands. Indeed, he should not have referred to the case at all had he not been under the impression that the documents in connected with it had been at the time in their Lordships' hands. He found, however, upon inquiry, that although they were being prepared, they had not yet been actually delivered. But as he now held in his hand a proof of the documents, and as they would be forthwith laid upon the table, he presumed that the noble Earl would not think it necessary to press his Motion. As to the board of guardians alluded to, he had to state that it was not the Belfast board of guardians to which he had referred, as having been guilty of the substitution of emigrants then in question. What he had stated was, that abuses had arisen as regarded orphans sent from Belfast, but he did not mention the Belfast board of guardians at all. As it had happened, however, the selection made by the Belfast board had turned out very unsatisfactorily. He might, while upon this subject, add that since the resumption of emigration, the arrival of no less than 147 emigrant ships had been reported, on board of which vessels 29,847 persons had been conveyed to Australia, and out of that large number there had happened upon the voyage only 480 deaths. Now, upon a voyage of the length of that in question, unless great order had been preserved, and the best precaution taken, a great deal of sickness and mortality must necessarily have prevailed; but the fact that during a four months' passage crossing the tropics only ½ per cent of the whole number of emigrants had perished, was to his mind a conclusive proof that the system had been well conducted. As regarded the conduct of officers of emigrant ships, a very great majority of the surgeons sent out had had the highest testimony borne to their character by the colonial authorities, after their arrival in Australia. There were a few, and very few cases indeed, of mis- 356 conduct; and there were also a certain number of instances in which it was stated that the surgeon had displayed a lack of the requisite energy for the conduct of such a charge. But he repeated that the instances of misconduct were very few. He could assure the noble Earl that many of the complaints made relative to emigration vessels had been proved in the colony to be quite unfounded. He believed, that with respect to the emigrant trade in general, the way in which it had been carried on was honourable not only to the individuals engaged in it, but to the country at large.
The EARL of MOUNTCASHELL
said, that he would in a few days give the noble Lord an opportunity of proving the assertion which he had just made. The more he inquired into the conduct of persons in emigrant ships, the more abominable it appeared to be. He had now to withdraw his Motion for the returns to which he had alluded, but he gave notice that on Friday next he would move for certain documents connected with the penalties exacted from the owners and officers of emigrant ships.
§ EARL GREY
said, that as the subject was to be further discussed on a future day, he purposely abstained from offering any observation in confirmation of the observations which he had already offered to their Lordships. He might, however, be permitted to inform their Lordships that in one case where misconduct on the part of the captain and officers had been proved, the captain and officers had been deprived of the gratuities to which they would have been otherwise entitled, and the owners of the vessels had been fined 500l. He was bound in common fairness to say, that though on a former occasion he had not named the board of guardians to which he had been alluding, it was the board of guardians for the Dungannon union.
The EARL of MOUNTCASHELL
observed that in the case of the vessel to which Earl Grey had alluded the doctor had received a gratuity of 100l., although all the other officers had been mulcted of their gratuities, and the owners had been fined. Now the doctor in that ship had misconducted himself; and where a man had been guilty of gross misconduct he ought not to receive even a farthing as a gratuity.
§ Motion withdrawn.
§ House adjourned to Thursday next.