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CHARACTER OF EMIGRANTS.
wilds of the bush, must greatly exceed that for women, whose occupations must be comparatively limited in an early stage of society. We do not underrate the moral injury, but to our mind nothing is more to be deprecated than a redundance of the female sex, which must exist in a new country if they are equal to the males : unemployed, and unprotected in many instances by their natural guardians, and exposed to temptations of no ordinary character, many may be almost driven to a life of vice, demoralising alike to themselves and the community. If, in future, equal numbers of each sex, assisted or unassisted, should emigrate, the evil will yearly become less, and in the course of one generation will be extinguished ; by which time also we hope that any reason for such irregularity may have ceased.
At present all the funds applicable to emigration purposes are raised by the colonists themselves. They therefore justly feel that they have a right to expect the description of emigrants most suited to their wants, and that their money
should not be made the means of clearing out Ragged Schools or Workhouses for the benefit of the mother country.
The want of labour is so great that it is much doubted whether it is in the power of the colonists to provide sufficient funds for the importation of an adequate number of emigrants. While the demand is urgent, and where the room for settlement is so great, they do not object to receive any, except such as from their former crimes must prove a pest, and not a benefit to society; a cause of ruinous public expenditure, instead of a source of public wealth. But they do demand, that if the paupers of Great Britain are to be “shot like rubbish” on their shores for her benefit, it shall be done at her sole expense, and that their own inadequate means should be at their own disposal for the supply of their own wants.
Many of them object to the indiscriminate importation of female orphans from the Irish Poor Law Unions ;* some because they are chiefly of one religion ; but this appears a narrow view. Looking to the population of the United Kingdom, it cannot be said that an undue proportion of any one nation, or of any one religion, exists in the colony. But a workhouse is not the best
* This has since been suspended, if not totally abandoned.
EXPENSE OF PASSAGE.
school of morality and industry, and it is to be apprehended, from the numbers already sent out and remaining unemployed in the Emigrants' Barracks,—from the class of employers to which the Board has been compelled to apprentice the last arrivals,--and from the reduced rate of wages which they have been obliged to accept-viz., £6 a year, while other girls receive double that sum, that the time has arrived when caution must be used as to the numbers so sent out.
This, it is believed, has been urged upon the attention of the Emigration Commissioners by the local boards which superintend their welfare. And while we hope that few would be so uncharitable as to deny them a home on account of their religion, where there is ample room and verge enough, we are at the same time convinced that the great majority object most strongly to this misappropriation of their funds, and would insist that if these orphans are to be settled in the colony for the relief of Ireland, it should be done at the Imperial expense.
Similar observations apply to other descriptions of emigrants: the colonists cannot see why, where the benefit is mutual, an agreement might not be made by which a proportion of the expense might
PROPOSALS FOR EMIGRATION FUND.
be defrayed by all who receive such benefit;why the colonial funds, the Imperial Government, and perhaps the emigrant himself, should not each bear a share of the expense of the passage. The cost has latterly been much reduced; from £20 to £12, or even £10. If this cost were thus divided, the demand for labour in the colony would be adequately supplied, and an enduring bond of mutual interest would be established between the mother country and her colonies.
The Poor Law Unions are authorised, and might be called upon, to devote a portion of their means to promote emigration. Would it be too much to expect that a Board of Guardians should once for all contribute, say £4, to get rid of a pauper who would cost them more for every year that he remains a burden on them ? Would it be unreasonable that the State should contribute a similar sum, not only to increase its annual exports by twice the amount that is so spent, but by diminishing poverty at home; to prevent the enormous expenditure and difficulty of controlling a lawless population, and of punishing wretches driven by misery to crime?
Much has been said of the advantage derived by America from her boundless backwoods,
PROPOSALS FOR IMIGRATION FUND.
where her restless spirits find a happy home. England has a larger and a better outlet ; but because a sea intervenes,-because it is unseen, it is unthought of. When will statesmen learn to go to the root of the evil ? When will they discover that, instead of voting £10,000,000 to protract the miseries of a starving nation, the true relief is to place its teeming inhabitants in a position to support themselves in a good land and a large land—“a land wherein they shall eat bread without scarceness, whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills they may dig brass ?” That Providence, which commanded the human race to increase and multiply, also gave it a land to replenish and subdue. Let them remove misery and discontent, and allow the restless to find a vent for their energy in a new land. Chartism and Socialism, now rankling in our bosom, will be thus extinguished. When the English monarch forbad the emigration of Pymi and Hampden to America, his head rolled on the scaffold.
While some dynasties have, in our own time, been overthrown by a reckless dissolute populace; while all have felt the convulsive throes of a people pent up within narrow bounds, goaded by distress, and at length cognizant of