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employment throughout the county, and was ashamed to admit, existed in Irewages at only from 4d. to 5d. a-day. land. The evil would then, and at no The Knight of Kerry said, that the poor people in his neighbourhood were glad to go a long way from their homes to procure employment, by which they earned no more than two-pence a-day. He believed that, as a general position, these facts might be somewhat over-stated; but he knew that starvation existed to a great extent in Ireland. He did not say that men died from actual famine; but he stated, without the fear of contradiction, that the privations which the people of that country endured diminished their strength and shortened their lives. Whatever notions might be formed of the ap. pearance of his countrymen, who, when they came over here, plumped up and soon seemed to be in good condition, he could assure the House, that in Ireland their gaunt forms and lantern features indicated, beyond all question, that they endured the extremity of human misery. The consequence of this state of suffering and degradation was, that they were always ready to indulge in any golden dream which promised them relief from their present misery; and that when any man spoke of change-since to them no change could be for the worse-he found ready listeners. It was one of the results of this state of things that had caused so extensive an emigration to Scotland, the greater part of the west of which was peopled by Irishmen. But, in fact, the Irish by doing this were now only returning a visit which they had had the honour of receiving about two centuries ago from the Scotch, whose habits of industry and regularity were to this day apparent in the spots where they had taken up their abode. But it was not to Scotland alone that the evil effects of the redundancy of the population in Ireland extended themselves. None of the steam-packets came from Ireland to Liverpool, without bringing some of the people of the former country, who could now procure a passage for 4d. or 5d. per head. The consequence must be, that the same results would be experienced here as in Ireland; labourers would be to be had for 4d. or 5d. a-day, and not only the labouring people would be reduced to a state of want and privation similar to that which was felt in Ireland, but the moral feelings and the ways of thinking and acting of the people would be reduced to that standard which, he
distant period, be felt and complained of in England, as it was already felt and complained of in Scotland. What, then, must be done with it? Honourable gentlemen said, "do nothing, and it will cure itself." What! let famine and pestilence do their work? Leave such a state of things alone, and leave the wretched people who suffered under it to die by starvation or disease! And this because it was thought the evil would cure itself; that in a few years improvident marriages would cease, and all would be well again! But, what was the fact? The population of Ireland had doubled within the last twenty-one years, and was still increasing. This reasoning was altogether false false as applied to Ireland, because it was opposed to facts; and false a priori, as applied to any country; for when people were sunk into distress and want, they became desperate and reckless of all consequences. The evidence, too, of Dr. Doyle, stated that the people congregated together for the purpose of keeping up the animal heat in the inclement season, and by this means also the population was increased. It was true that money had been sent from this country to Ireland in great abundance, in times of distress; but that money had all been laid out to relieve men who were starving, and the benefit was in no way permanent, but the reverse; because, when the money was gone, the people were not even where they were before, but by so much the worse from the encouragement which that relief had afforded them to increase their numbers. There was, then, no alternative but emigration. He was asked, what security he could offer to the House, that when even this had been adopted, to whatever extent, the country would not still be in the situation of the fifty daughters of an unfortunate gentleman, who were doomed to fill tubs from which the water escaped as fast as they poured it into them, and that although they might be always changing, they would never lower the level of the population. The security which he had to offer was that which had arisen from the experience of the Irish land-holders, and which had taught them to adopt a different method of letting their farms. They had found out, that to consolidate their estates was better than to subdivide them. Many landlords in
Ireland had anxiously endeavoured to better the condition of their tenantry by allotting their farms on more advantageous terms than formerly; but, with the best intentions, they had failed to effect their object. It was found necessary, therefore, to introduce into Ireland a new law, called the law of landlord and tenant; which was now working its progress, but without any beneficial results. He knew at that moment, a gentleman who possessed an estate of six thousand acres, four thousand of which were unprofitable bog. On the remaining two thousand acres there were upwards of three thousand unhappy peasants settled, whose means of living were as scanty as the space which they occupied was confined. The hon. member for Wicklow said, "leave the Irish peasants where they are." But, what was to become of their still increasing families? How were they to be provided for? "How," said the hon. member, "but by consolidating farms, and abandoning that ruinous system of subdivision, which had too long brought misery and distress upon the country." But the House should look to the situation of the unfortunate Irish peasants, if that plan were followed. Driven from their native haunts, they would soon be dispersed through the country, seeking for employment, without food or shelter. They would live in the open air, or build themselves miserable dwellings on the backs of ditches, sustaining nature with whatever chance provided. In this state, were they not wandering at present to Glasgow and other places, where at last, overcome by want and misery, they perished; thus swelling, to a fearful extent, the ranks of sickness and death? Was it not, therefore, the bounden duty of the legislature to prevent that unnatural, that frightful stream of want, misery, and pauperism, from flowing over to this country from unfortunate Ireland, and thus arresting the progress of disease and death in all their dreadful malignity?
Mr. Baring observed, that whoever had listened to the able speech of the hon. Secretary opposite must be aware, that it was not proposed to do any thing specific in this matter, without its coming under the consideration of the House. Whatever the fancies, then, that any particular gentleman might have, there was no reason to fear that they would be carried into effect without the consent of the House.
It appeared to him, that this was a great national question; and, indeed, it did not stand in need of demonstration, that whatever affected Ireland, must also affect England, and the empire at large; and he was sure, that whatever lukewarmness might be evinced by the members of his majesty's government, in apparently leaving the hon. gentleman who had opened the discussion, in the lurch, in the manner they had done, it was not because they did not feel the force of an evil which threatened the safety of the country, but because they doubted of any real remedy from emigration. Either they did not think it would operate sensibly upon the mass of redundant population, or that the expense rendered it impracticable. But, when he heard the hon. member for Bristol oppose the scheme of emigration, by contrasting the condition of the people who lived on their farms in Upper Canada, with that of the wretched peasantry of Ireland, he confessed it gave him surprise. He spoke from his own knowledge when he said, that he had seen thousands of these settlers, and that a more prosperous, healthy, and comfortable peasantry were not to be found in any part of the globe. There was, of course, a good deal of privation and hardship to be encountered at the outset; and, for four or five years, a good deal of hard labour. But, at the end of a year or two, the settler could obtain his subsistence, and at the end of four or five years, his situation was enviable, compared with that of the labourer in England. The great labour consisted in cutting down the wood; but when fifteen or twenty acres were cleared, there was enough for one man to grow his corn upon, out of a soil such as hon. gentlemen knew not the like of for richness. An hon. gentleman had said, that there was a six months' winter in Canada; but this was an egregious mistake, for the average winter was three months at the utmost. Therefore, as far as regarded the question of personal comfort, hon. gentlemen might feel themselves quite easy, and rest assured that the emigrants would be taken out of a vast mass of misery, dependence, and consequent ignorance, and converted into a race of prosperous and rational beings. As a benefit to Ireland, it was impossible not to see that the elevation in the scale of human beings, which would follow upon the contemplated removal, would be an act of the greatest charity. What the
means were by which an object so desirable, could be effectually accomplished, was another consideration; and, although there might be differences of opinion as to the extent to which relief should be afforded, still it was quite clear, that whatever plan should be finally adopted, and however limited that plan might be, it could not fail of doing good. He confessed, with some degree of compunction, that he had not attended the emigration committee last year as often as he ought to have done; and he was, therefore, not so conversant with the subject in its different bearings as its importance required. The hon. Secretary had, as he understood, brought forward the present motion with a view not only to learn the feelings of the House upon it, but also to ascertain how far the country at large was interested in the discussion. The first consideration undoubtedly was, whether any expense to which the country could go, would open a vein sufficiently large to have any effect upon the overloaded state of the population. Upon this point, he was satisfied that the excess of population was by no means so great as was supposed. He meant to say, that he was sure that twenty or thirty thousand in Ireland were capable of creating all the misery of which they had been witnesses; and that to abstract any portion of these, would be a positive benefit. The beneficial operation of a system of emigration was seen in an empire like Russia, where there was a great extent of territory. In America, also, the population was continually spreading itself, and might continue so to do, till they reached the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Perhaps, indeed, there was too great an extension of the population in America for the purposes of civilization, and that the size of her territory was rather an evil which prevented that moderate degree of compression, which, under all circumstances, would be desirable; but, the people of the United States took long journies, and at considerable expense, to make new settlements. From New York they went to the back part of Pennsylvania, and even to the Mississipi, and the Ohio. Now, no man went from Massachusetts even to the Ohio who did not incur four times the expense, and far more trouble, than would be incurred in bringing a man from the coast of Ireland to Canada. He had seen many of the caravans which annually traversed the woods of America,
in long and painful journies, for the back settlements; and, although these emigrations were always to the relief of the hives from which they swarmed, the individuals who removed their families in this manner, did so at considerably greater expense than, with the convenience of water carriage, could be accomplished in the case of Ireland. The passage by water would serve almost the whole distance up the river St. Lawrence, and then for two or three thousand miles further. The more the plan was looked into, the more practicable he was convinced it would appear. To be sure it could not be done without much expense; but when it was considered, that half a million of money was subscribed by England for the alleviation of a temporary evil under which Ireland was suffering, it would appear obvious, that if the public were fully impressed with the permanent advantage of removing the redundant population of that country, humanity would prompt to its accomplishment, letting alone policy. As to that part of the plan which anticipated the receipt of any repayment on the part of the settlers, he could not regard that as much better than visionary. From his knowledge of the settlers, they were not persons much given to the payment of money. Promises they would give, but to make them pay was not so easy. And, indeed, to attempt it would be impolitic, inasmuch as it would furnish a strong inducement to throw off the allegiance to the mother country. It was always impolitic to give to a whole people an interest to throw off allegiance; and in this case, perhaps, to turn their shillelaghs against us on the other side of the Atlantic. The eagerness with which the state of Virginia entered into the revolution was attributable to the debts which the leading members of it owed to the merchants of England in their commercial dealings. As to that part of the plan proposed in the report, respecting the granting of annuities by parishes, to raise money for the endowment of their emigrant paupers, he thought that would encounter many difficulties. He was not, however, afraid as some were, that the void created by the draughting off of the paupers would be forthwith filled up by others. Farmers in general were a great deal too sharp to let strangers make settlements in their parishes. All these topics, however, would be better discussed in the committee. He could not conclude with
out giving credit to the zeal and talent of the hon. gentleman who had brought the subject forward; and if the right hon. Secretary for the Home Department would only come into the committee with them, he could assure him that he would there find that the plan was not so visionary as many persons were disposed to consider it. To carry it into effect, it would be absolutely necessary that the restrictive laws upon captains of ships, in respect of emigrants, should be repealed at the out
before the House; and he hoped his hon. friend the colonial Secretary would do him the justice to say, that he had always taken a warm and lively interest in the present question, whatever the hon. gentleman who last addressed the House might infer to the contrary. If he had taken rather a medium view of the question-if he had not advocated it in a way that its supporters might have wished-he hoped he should not, therefore, be accused of displaying apathy and coldness towards the question. His hon. friend who had Mr. W. Horton observed, that the re-introduced the measure, knew that he had strictions to which the hon. member alluded were removed.
Mr. Baring in continuation observed, that if something like a bounty were given to captains of ships conveying emigrants, it might operate as a stimulus to their exertions to promote the comfort and convenience of those whom they conveyed. Some suitable preparations should also be made to provide for the reception of the emigrants on arriving at their destination. Care should be taken that they should be sent with all convenient facility to whatever settlement they were intended for, otherwise a great deal of inconvenience might arise. In Quebec, for instance, which contained a limited population, the introduction of a large number of emigrants might create a serious injury. The means of conveying persons up the country were of late considerably improved, and some method could most likely be adopted, by which emigrants could be removed up the country without inconveniencing the residents. Preparations should also be made for the reception of the emigrants when they arrived at their final destination. Without some precautions of the nature he suggested, considerable confusion and inconvenience would, in all likelihood, occur. The Cape of Good Hope, and the new Spanish colonies afforded facilities for emigration, if the same precautions were observed there that he had just suggested. The hon. gentleman concluded by observing, that the country was very much indebted to the zeal and talents displayed by the hon. Secretary for the colonies in bringing forward the present motion.
frequently and anxiously consulted with him on the subject of emigration. In the view which he had taken of the question, it struck him forcibly that it was essential to success not to proceed at first on a scale of emigration too extensive and magnificent, but rather to proceed by a rational and quiet mode to effect the object in view. That there were facilities for carrying the plans proposed into execution none could deny. His noble friend at the head of the colonial department, his hon. friend who had brought forward the present motion, and himself had had repeated interviews on the subject; the result of which was, that a gentleman, colonel Cockburn, whose zeal and talents were unquestionable, had gone out to Nova Scotia and elsewhere, for the purpose of personally observing how far the proposed plans of emigration were likely to succeed. He had instructions to extend his inquiries to various subjects connected with the agricultural prospects of those places which he was to visit, and to make observations respecting the quality of the different lands pointed out for settlers. He was further instructed to make a full report of every thing connected with the subject that fell within his observation, so that government might have some rational ground on which to erect whatever plans it might adopt with regard to the subject of emigration. Before the committee closed its labours, he hoped that the report from the gentleman referred to would appear, in order to furnish fresh evidence on which to found whatever proceedings the committee might ultimately adopt. His hon. friend proposed no plan at present. He merely threw Mr. Secretary Peel said, he felt anxious, out suggestions for the consideration of in consequence of the personal reference the House. And what was the amount of which the hon. gentleman had made to the objections raised by the hon. member him, to explain his views and feelings for Wicklow ? Why, that the House with respect to the important subject now I should abandon the plan proposed by his
hon. friend, because it did not go far enough for his purpose. But, if the suggestion of the hon. gentleman were to be acted upon, the House might abandon, in utter hopelessness, every plan that would be at all likely to alleviate that deep-seated distress which could never be sufficiently deplored. For himself, he was of opinion, that a rational system of emigration would lead to effects the most beneficial to the country, by affording facilities to its impoverished inhabitants of bettering their condition. And it was idle to deny that we must expect a redundancy of hands, in a country where mechanical science was carried to such a pitch of perfection. The effect of the recent improvements in machinery was, to throw upon the country a vast number of men who had hitherto supported themselves by labour. Such, for instance, had been the effect of the discovery of the power loom. It threw out of employment hundreds of thousands; if, therefore we were to go on improving in mechanics, as we had heretofore done, our working population must be thrown out of employment, according as new inventions sprung up to supersede the labour of man. Would it not, therefore, be an object the most desirable, that some good and efficient plan should be adopted, by which those poor unemployed persons might be rescued from a state of wretchedness and want, and raised to a race of happy and contented beings? He thought that, by making an outlet for the redundant population, permanent relief would be afforded to Ireland; for she would then be enabled to carry into effect the good she had already begun, by breaking up the system of division in the land, by which a man, perhaps, and his five sons, were wretched landowners rather than comfortable labourers. But, in order to effect this improvement, the impediment of a large pauper population must be removed. It was clear, then, that the amendment, which went to shut out inquiry, was not such as the House should attend to.-He was not then prepared to pronounce any opinion upon the two suggestions which had been commented upon by hon. members in the course of the debate; namely, the requiring from parishes to pay to government a remuneration for the expenses incurred in taking out the labourers, and thereby lessening the poor-rates; and the repayment of a sum of money from the emigrants themselves in the shape of quit rent. He
should merely say, that they were questions deserving the most serious, minute, and attentive, consideration of a committee; but he should be sorry to pronounce any positive opinion which could, by any possibility, prejudice the discussion of those two measures. It appeared to him that, for the first experiment, men of fair and honest characters, and of industrious habits, ought to be selected, and if the parishes were to pay a certain sum for each labourer who should be sent out by the government, he was not prepared to say that the parish would select the most active and industrious parishioners for emigration. He did think, that the most minute inquiry ought to be made into the state of health, and into the habits, of every man selected by the parish, before he was sent out by the government; and also, whether the legal expenses which would be necessarily incurred by the payment of the money by the parishes, with other circumstances, would not counterbalance any good which could arise, even if both parties-the payers of the poorrates, and the persons receiving those rates
should consent (and the consent of both parties would be absolutely necessary) as to the persons who should emigrate. Even in that case, the obstacles which would encumber the plan, might make it so difficult of execution, that he was not prepared to say that they were not deserving of the most serious consideration of a committee. Those difficulties would not be applicable to Ireland, because, in that country, there were no poor-rates; and, with respect to emigration from Ireland, some other method must necessarily be devised. As to the other suggestion, of requiring from the emigrants compensation for the expense incurred by government, it deserved serious consideration, whether or not the discouraging prospect of re-payment, before the eyes of the emigrant, might not operate as a temptation to him to quit his farm after he had exhausted it, and before the period of repayment should have arrived. It also deserved serious and minute consideration, whether, in case the scheme of emigration should be carried to a great extent, the government might not be amply repaid by another method, different from either of the two to which he had alluded. What could be more fair, than reserving to the government a portion of land, in the midst of the lands granted to the emigrants. It was