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54 CONSIDERATION FOR MOTHER COUNTRY.
The Population Return for Van Diemen's Land is that for 1847: in the last two years 13,478 emigrants have been sent, at the expense of the public, to New South Wales; 12,348 to Port Phillip; and 11,100 to South Australia. The numbers who emigrated at their own expense from the United Kingdom and from Van Diemen's Land are not included in any return, which will account for any apparent discrepancies in other parts of this paper, e. g. where the population of Port Phillip, in 1850, is estimated at 60,000: men on the spot, generally well informed, have stated it to be 75,000, but this seems scarcely credible.*
This short table points out the relative advantages to be derived by Great Britain by directing the stream of emigration in a right direction. So far as getting rid of a pauper population is her object, it is indifferent to her what their destination may be; or rather, she may choose to send them wherever the cost is least. We may, in passing, remark, that although there is a great apparent difference in
* It is stated in a local newspaper that in the last eighteen months 18,000 arrivals had taken place, in spite of which wages continued to rise.
COMPARATIVE COST OF PASSAGE. 55
the cost of transit to Canada or to Australia, yet the true difference is not so great. On arriving in Canada a serious expense must be incurred in transmitting the emigrants to the interior in search of employment, which there is often great difficulty in procuring for them in the mean time the charge of supporting them falls on the Government. In Australia, they are in the heart of business where they are landed, and their wages are always higher than in North America.
A few words must now be added on the mistaken notions of various persons in the United Kingdom, who seem to imagine that crime and destitution are to be alike shovelled out upon the shores of Australia; and also as to the wishes of its inhabitants, relative to the classes of emigrants required by them.
The colonists have often wondered at and deplored the ignorance, combined with the most laudable philanthropy, which seriously proposed to send shiploads of educated governesses to a small country town containing 600 souls; where there might have been, perhaps, three families in want of such an assistant. The benevolent projector of the plan observes, in his letter to the
"Times," that he had been informed a great demand for such a class existed there. The writer of this book read this proposal in the inn of that very town, and could scarcely restrain the mirth of himself and his companions until he reflected upon the probable fate of these wretched women, turned loose without protection or employment. Their only chance would have rested in the loneliness of the squatters, amongst whom many in time might probably have married; to guard against which, apparently, the Emigration Commissioners suggested in their reply, "that for obvious reasons it was desirable they should all be above middle age.'
When Mr. Sidney Herbert raises funds to send out an enormous number of London sempstresses to a colony where shirts are sold ready-made, in any draper's, from 2s. 6d. upwards;--when such projects are proposed, much as the benevolence which prompts them is to be admired, it is to be hoped that some friend, not only of the colony, but of his species, may warn both the emigrants and those who send them, that however beneficial a moderate supply of such individuals would prove, a large and sudden influx must occasion disappointment to the emigrants themselves, who
DISPARITY OF SEXES.
must be thrown on the charity of the colonists, or be subjected to the same privations and temptations to which they were exposed at home. To a certain extent they are required in Port Phillip; 500 a year, in addition to the usual proportions of the sexes sent out by the Emigration Commissioners, might find employment there for years to come; especially if sent out in small numbers at a time, say 40 or 50 per month, which would greatly facilitate the proceedings of whatever Agent or Committee may be appointed to receive them.*
Much has been said of the disparity of the sexes in Australia, and of the social evils thereby engendered. By the last census there were in New South Wales 118,927 males, and 77,777 females. In our opinion, the evils of such a state of things, although very serious, are much exaggerated in the eyes of the public. It is plain that in a new country the demand for workmen who can proceed without incumbrance into the
* When this was written, it was understood in the Colony that a very large number indeed of these poor wretches were to be sent out. None can object to this project to the extent to which it now seems probable to be carried. Let, however, the virtuous only be sent.