said, that although on the part of her Majesty's Government he had given no sanction to the reports which had been alluded to last night by the noble Lord who had preceded him in the Colonial Department, of an extensive scheme of emigration, with regard to which he had received various suggestions of an extensive and important character, yet the House would think that he was only discharging his duty to the public in the situation he filled, if he took the earliest opportunity afforded to him in the present Session of Parliament of directing the attention of the House to two questions of the utmost importance to the emigrants, who were, year by year, without any interference on the part of the Government, proceeding to other countries, relieving the mother country of a portion of its surplus population, and going to other countries to augment the resources of the colonies, as well as of the mother country itself. He thought that he could not better promote the interests of the two classes of emigrants—one of which consisted of the poorer classes, and the other of those who were more wealthy, and were capable of purchasing land—than in the two subjects which he was about to bring under the consideration of the House, with the view of introducing useful legislation. 77 One of those subjects was the means of affording better security to the poorer emigrants against the frauds that were practised upon them, and to ensure convenience for their passage; and the other was to remedy the inconvenience sustained by the purchasers of lands by the constantly fluctuating systems pursued as to the sale of land, in Australia particularly, and by the different systems found in different colonies. With regard to the first subject, the House was hardly, and he was sure that the country was not aware of the extent to which emigration had gone without any assistance or direct encouragement from the Government. And here he must say, that most of the persons who had, from the most benevolent motives, advocated an extensive system of colonization, had overlooked many natural circumstances affecting the vital interests of parties by whom the benefits were intended to be received. He had not seen one scheme which would not be a great burthen to the country, and which would not, however benevolently intended, fail in advancing the permanent interests of the parties emigrating. He had before him a return of the amount of emigration from the United Kingdom, without any assistance from the public funds or the Government of this country. It appeared from this return that during the last five years, the average number of persons who had emigrated on their own account, except in the year 1838, when from the peculiar circumstances affecting the North American colonies emigration to Canada had stopped for a time, was from 75,000 to 80,000 a year; that in the year 1840, the number of persons thus emigrating had reached to 90,700; and that in the first three quarters of the year 1841, the total amount of emigration was 106,475 persons. It might be, and it was, wise to attempt to assume the direction of the manner in which this emigration should be conducted; but to attempt to force it beyond the amount it had already reached, was at once impolitic and injurious to the very parties whom they desired to serve. At one time, indeed, it had been the opinion of the House that the legislature ought to leave the carrying trade of passengers untouched, as other matters of ordinary business; was thought that the emigrants would readily take care of themselves, and that any regulations which might be adopted, would only impose additional cost upon them. It was, therefore thought impolitic to interfere, and 78 that the emigrant agents would soon discover at what cost, and under what condition emigrants could be carried. A Passengers' Act, of some sort or another, had been in existence for many years, and the whole were consolidated in the year 1825. In the year 1827, however, the committee upon emigration had recommended that the Passengers' Act should be repealed; but, as soon as it was repealed, and the emigration agents were wholly freed from control, the frauds became so numerous, the abuses were so outrageous, that the complaints were general, and the clamours were so loud, that six months after the former act was repealed, it became unavoidably necessary to pass a new act containing provisions of still greater stringency. Since that period a Passengers' Act, modified and altered from time to time, had continued in operation. In the year 1833, when he last held the office lately filled by the noble Lord opposite (Lord John Russell), he had introduced a system founded upon a different principle. Emigration agents were appointed at various ports to assist the persons about to emigrate, and to check the frauds practised upon them, and notwithstanding the difficulties they had to encounter. he believed that the emigration agents had materially checked the abuses that formerly existed, and had been of considerable advantage to the poorer classes of emigrants. They had now, therefore, to legislate upon the experience of eight or nine years, and upon the reports of the emigration agents themselves, They had examined the existing system, and had reported upon its detects, and on the principal modes by which their utmost diligence was evaded. Their report had been laid before the noble Lord, who preceded him in July last; and they had since reported more fully, had given much additional information, and had accompanied their report with several useful recommendations. The alterations which he was about to propose were wholly matters of detail, and the House would abstain from pressing him then to state minutely what the alteration he proposed was, and the more so, because the course which he intended to pursue was one which would best suit the convenience of the House, and because he was desirous that the bill should pass, after mature discussion, but without any opposition from either side, for the emigration for the year usually commenced in March, and if the measure was to be of service to the emigrants, it 79 must be passed at the earliest moment. The course which he intended to pursue was, to lay upon the Table of the House the two reports from the land and emigration agents, and with them all the amendments, clause by clause, which he intended to make in the present act, and the specific provisions he proposed to introduce. Such hon. Gentlemen as were disposed to give their consideration to the question, would thus have an opportunity of reading all the information laid upon the Table, before they came to their conclusions, and would be able more conveniently to discuss the various details. He proposed also, to make some alteration in the existing law, so far as it applied to the different regulations, as to the space required for passengers, and the quantity of provisions and of water, which would be settled according to the length of the voyage. The same regulations would not, of course, apply to different climates, and to voyages of different lengths. Thus a larger space for each passenger, and more water would be required when the vessel was on a long voyage, and entering a tropical climate, than for a shorter passage in a more temperate climate. As the present Passengers' Act applied only to emigration from the United Kingdom, and as there had been a bill passed embodying many of the provisions for short passages in the West Indies, he intended to incorporate the two acts into one, and to make them apply, not only to passengers leaving the United Kingdom, but also to inter-colonial passengers, and to short voyages. As the notice which he had given was for two bills which were connected together, and were bills of the same class, he might take that opportunity of stating his views with respect to the second bill for regulating the sale of lands in the Australian colonies. He confined the bill to the Australian colonies for this reason, that her Majesty's Government had a much more efficient and direct control over the legislation of those colonies, and over the disposal of the land fund there, than over those colonies to which they had given a separate legislature, and which could not be dealt with in the same manner as the Australian colonies. With regard to the West Indian colonies, it was unnecessary to legislate for them now, and at any rate, it would be improper to legislate for them in the present bill, because no great amount of emigration had set in between this country and the West Indies, 80 owing to the difference in the climate, which was so uncongenial to British constitutions; whereas the Australian colonies required legislation because they now attracted a great portion of the tide of emigration. The amount of emigration to those colonies had been from year to year increasing, and in the land fund up to the last year, there had been a proportionate increase. The returns from the colonies were also increasing in a very satisfactory degree. He thought it would be gratifying to read to the House a statement of a few figures, showing the amount of the imports and exports from one of the Australian colonies within the last few years, and he would confine himself to New South Wales. The exports from New South Wales in the year 1835, amounted to 682,000l., and in 1840 they had increased from 682,000l. to 1,251,000l. The imports to the colony, more than two-thirds of which were of British manufacture, amounted in the year 1835 to 707,000l., and had increased in 1840 to 2,600,000l. In 1830, the exports from New South Wales, in the article of wool, amounted to 900,000 pounds weight, and in the year 1836, that article of export from that colony, and of import to this country, had arisen from 900,000 pounds weight to 3,611,000 pounds weight; and in 1840 to 7,668,000 pounds weight. He had only trespassed on the patience of the House, in order to point out the great and growing importance of those colonies, and to show, that in their legislation they should proceed on sound data in a matter relating not only to the comfort of the parties emigrating, but for the interests of the mother country itself. The system under which land had been disposed of in the Australian colonies had varied almost from year to year, and these alterations had created considerable and just disappointment to persons going out under one set of regulations, and discovering, on their arrival in the colony, that another system, and a different set of regulations were in force. These changes had not only occasioned great disappointment, but they had led to disputed titles, and to great litigation, whilst they had checked emigration, and prevented the application of capital to the colonies; for, large as had been the increase in the number of emigrants of late years, he firmly believed, that that increase would have been still greater, had it not been for the tendency of these constantly changing schemes to check it, and particularly among the 81> most valuable class of emigrants. He would only take the case of New South Wales; but the description would apply to other colonies. It was a system of perpetual change. In the year 1827, a set of regulations had been promulgated, relative to the granting of land, laying down certain conditions, a compliance with which would entitle the emigrant to a grant of land. These regulations had not, he believed, been confirmed, and were not promulgated from authority by the Government; but many persons had gone out, expecting, on their arrival in the colony, to find those regulations in force. In 1828 these regulations were changed, and grants of land were made, upon a principle different to that which had been acted on in 1827. In, however, 1831, his noble Friend, Lord Ripon, with the assistance of another noble Friend of his (Lord Howick), who was not then present, had, much to their own credit, and to the advantage of the colony, introduced a principle, substituting the sale for the grant of land. That principle had at first been extremely objected to by the inhabitants of the colony, but the result of that plan had been, that whereas, in the year 1830, the amount arising from the sale of lands did not exceed 18,096l., it had successively risen in different years to 30,000l., 89,000l., 108,000l., 114,000l., 127,000l., 160,000l., until in 1840 it had reached 339,738l. He thought it right to state, and he regretted that in consequence of various circumstances that amount during the past year had been considerably diminished, and in 1841 he did not expect that the sum realized would much exceed 160,000l. In the year 1831, however, the principle of the sale of lands had been first introduced. In 1838, the price of land had been altered, having been raised from 5s. to 12s. an acre. But in October, 1840, a new method of disposing of land had been introduced into New South Wales. Instead of making the sales by auction, and naming a minimum upset price, a fixed price of 1l. per acre had been established, and this mode of disposing of lands had been scarcely a year in existence when another change was made; and, in consequence of the representations of the colonists and the report of a committee of that House, in August, 1841, the Colonial Office had gone back to the system which had been abandoned in the previous year. He did not say that these alterations had been made without good and valid reason, but he could not see 82 why any Secretary of State or successive secretaries should have it in their power to make those changes of their own authority, clearly without the control, and almost without the knowledge, of Parliament; and he thought it was not right that any Secretary of State should possess the power of making these changes without authority, and without taking those means to give them publicity, without which it was impossible to obtain the confidence of the public mind in their stability. What he meant to propose was, to divest the Secretary of State of that responsibility and that undue power. He proposed to introduce a bill which would regulate the principles and the provisions by which land should be sold in Australia. He had great objection to having the principle and the system different in the various colonies. He saw no reason that the principle of sale by auction should exist in one colony, and that a fixed price should prevail in another. He saw no reason why Port Philip should have one system, Sydney another—why Western Australia should differ in that respect from South Australia, and New Zealand from all. He proposed to apply the same system by Act of Parliament to all the colonies, and he would state as shortly as possible that system, because, whether the details of his plan on this subject should be agreed to by the House or not, they would not be supposed to refuse him permission to introduce a bill upon the subject. The system he meant to introduce to their attention was neither absolute sale by auction, nor a sale by a fixed price, but it was a system founded on a principle recommended by a committee, which investigated last year the affairs of South Australia. It was proposed that the separate colonies should be surveyed in districts, and that certain portions of the land should be regularly brought into the market; that there should be one regulated upset price, below which no land should be sold, and at which there should be a permanent sale: that the land surveyed should be divided into three classes, —viz., that reserved for the site of towns, that which, from its peculiar situation in the immediate neighbourhood of towns, acquired an artificial value; and thirdly, the outlying or country lots. As to the two first classes, they should never be sold except by auction at the periodical sales; and with regard to the third or the ordinary country lots, not sold when put up to auction, the land should not again be put 83 up, but that remaining unsold should be liable to be sold in the interval at the upset price; if the upset price had not been bid at the sale, and at a price bearing some reference to the value of the lands, when the upset price had been bid at the sale, but the purchase had not been completed. For it frequently happened that forfeitures took place by persons bidding for land and paying the first instalment alone. It sometimes occurred, that land in the colonies was bid for by particular persons, who being desirous of keeping other persons away, found it worth their while to sacrifice the small deposit paid at the sale, and never to complete the purchase, and thus prevent any person from buying the land in the interval between the sales. This system he proposed to check. He proposed to establish a fixed upset price, and to subject the land to periodical sales, allowing such as was not bid for to be purchased in the interval between the sales at the upset price. The consequence of this would be, that the more valuable land would sell at the larger price, and the inferior land would sell at the minimum price; but those persons who were content to take inferior lands, rather than wait for the periodical sales, would have the chance of taking inferior land, and settling themselves upon it, without the delay of waiting. He knew that this was a question into which many persons had not enquired, and he would not weary the House by entering into all the details of the measure. The bill was applicable to the whole of the Australian colonies, and it embodied, with some modifications, the whole of the recommendations of the South Australian Committee of last year. Although he proposed to give a discretionary power to the governor to fix the upset price, yet when that was once fixed, there should be no power in the governor to lower it, or after her Majesty in council had fixed a price, that there should be no power to lower it, although it might be raised, except by an Act of Parliament; and he did this for the purpose of preventing injury to persons who had purchased land in the colonies upon the faith of a minimum price. He proposed also to give a power to the Queen in council to fix the price of land at not less than a limited amount, and he proposed to give to the governor of the colony a discretionary power, in certain districts, of raising from time to time the price fixed by the Queen in council, but with their sanction; and after the Queen in council 84 had sanctioned the increased price, no authority less than that of the House of Commons would be able to diminish it. With respect to the proceeds of the sales, he knew that there were many gentlemen who contended that they should be entirely applied to the purposes of emigration. He was not prepared to go that length. He did not think this a desirable step to take. He was quite satisfied that, in many cases, it would be very inconvenient if a positive rule were laid down that the whole of the proceeds of the land sales should be applied to the purposes of emigration. Emigration, important as it was, was not the only purpose to which the land funds might be legitimately applied. He thought that the proceeds of the sales might be applied to the expenses of the survey. It should be recollected, that they were not dealing with an uninhabited country, but that the aborigines had claims upon their justice and humanity. For the purpose of affording them relief, part of the sales should be applied. To hardships they must be subject wherever white and civilized man came into contact with uncivilized uneducated aboriginal inhabitants. They might remedy this inconvenience, but they were bound to set aside a portion of the proceeds for humanising, instructing, and providing for the aboriginal inhabitants. It did not seem unreasonable to devote a part for the internal improvement of the colonies—the expenses for roads and other communications—which fell heavily upon the colonies. The proposed enactment, it would be observed, was giving up a large portion of the exclusive rights of the Crown. With the consent of the Crown, therefore, he would enact that one-half of the land sales should be applicable to the purpose of emigration, and as much more in each case as the authorities may think fit, after deductions, for the purpose to which he had alluded. He believed it would be necessary to limit the duration of the act to the life of her present Majesty. He believed that neither Parliament nor her Majesty could dispose of the hereditary revenue beyond the life of the Sovereign. At all events, there being doubts on this question —and, indeed, there were more than doubts —there could be no objection to the provision which he proposed, limiting the duration of the act to the life of the Sovereign. With these observations, and thanking the House for the attention they had given him on the dry details of this subject, he now moved for leave to bring in a bill to regulate 85 the laws relating to the carriage of passengers in merchant vessels; and also a bill to regulate the sale of lands in the Australian colonies.
§ Mr. Hindley
inquired whether the Bill was to have a retrospective effect, and apply to sums of money already received for the sale of lands?
The Bill would apply to the money that was to be realized; certainly not to that which had been already spent.
§ Lord John Russell
had listened with great interest to the statement of the noble Lord. At present he did not think it necessary to enter into the details of the measure; but he was very happy to say that in all its general principles he perfectly concurred. With respect to the first question on which his noble Friend addressed the Houseሔthe policy of not attempting any great systematic plan of emigration on the part of the Government, he entirely agreed in the observations that had been made. The statement quoted by the noble Lord himself, which showed that under the present voluntary system, 106,000 persons had emigrated in the course of one yearሔfor it was nearly a whole year for the purposes of emigrationሔwas sufficient to induce Parliament not only to hesitate, but positively to refuse its assent to any new mode of forced Government emigration. With respect to the mode in which the present system of emigration was carried on, he must admit that, notwithstanding the regulations sanctioned by Parliament, he had received reports showing that many abuses still existed. There were frequently cases where poor Irish emigrants did not supply themselves with more food than would suffice for the shortest voyage, and in case of any accident, if the ship were delayed in port, or had a long and tempestuous voyage, suffered the greatest privations. He regretted that he had been obliged to admit the existence of many evils of this king when he held the office now filled by the noble Lord, and, so far from objecting, he would be glad to see any proposal introduced for the remedy of this subject. With respect to the other bill which the noble Lord had proposed to introduce, the noble Lord stated, he believed correctly, the various modes by which regulations had been made form time to time; first, for the grant; and secondly, for the sale of lands. A great alteration was made in these respects, in the year 1831, by the Earl of Ripon and Lord Howick, the 86 principle then introduced by the authority of the Crown being that by which the noble Lord, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, now proposed to be governed. He conceived that it was far more desirable that the regulations of 1831, and any alterations which might have been introduced in them from time to time, should have been tried under the authority of the Crown, rather that that the assent of Parliament should have been asked to their immediate adoption; and he thought that it would have been a great evil if, without experience, the House had been at first called upon to legislate upon the subject of the sale of colonial lands, and if they had proceeded to legislate, and had passed an Act of Parliament, which they might eventually have found unfitted for the maintenance of the general interests of the colonies, and of those whose views were directed towards their support. The time had now arrived, however, when, after trial, many of those regulations had been found to be useful and applicable, and, as the noble Lord had truly said, many changes had taken place, and when some permanent system should be established, and should receive the sanction of Parliament. As to the particular mode in which the noble Lord proposed to introduce these regulations into his bill, the period to make any objections which he might have to make would more properly come when the bill was before the House, and when he had been able to see how the various regulations were proposed to be enforced. He could not say, that he was entirely persuaded that New Zealand should be treated in the same manner as New South Wales and South and Western Australia; but he would not now trouble the House with any observations on this point, except that, for reasons which he would hereafter give, he thought that an exception should be made in respect of that colony. He concurred also with the noble Lord in the principle which he had laid down, that it was not fit to declare absolutely that the sums of money derived from the sale of land should be exclusively devoted to the purposes of emigration. He believed that he had correctly understood the noble Lord to say, that a portion of the money was to be given for the purposes of emigration, but that as to the remainder, a discretion was to be given to the governor with regard to its application. That was, he thought, the best mode in which this much disputed question could be settled. The 87 principle of applying all the produce of these sales to emigration had been urged by a gentleman, no longer a Member of this House—he meant Mr. Grote—and had been ably placed before the House by him and by others in the late House of Commons, but the sense of the House had been pronounced decidedly against its adoption. He for his own part concurred in the mode of settlement suggested by the noble Lord, and he should be extremely anxious to see the details of the plan which he proposed carried out. In conclusion he would only repeat, that he should be happy to co-operate with the noble Lord in giving his vote in favour of his bills, which he thought were much needed, and the subject of which he was glad to find had attracted his attention.
§ Mr. H. G. Ward
congratulated the House on the proposition of these most useful and practical measures by the noble Lord the Secretary of State for the Colonies, and was rejoiced to find that the principles urged by those who took part in the debates upon this question in the last Parliament had been recognised in them. He, for one, thanked the noble Lord for having come forward at so early a period of the Session, for he conceived that such a course guaranteed not only the fullest consideration of the questions which had formed the subject-matter of his attention, but the final adoption of the best and most complete plan for the remedy of the existing evils. With regard to the measures themselves, he conceived that there never could be any doubt among those intimately acquainted with the subject as to the propriety of taking a part of the funds arising from the sale of lands for the purposes of emigration. In the introduction of these bills he believed that very great concessions had been made; but he thought that eventually an arrangement would be made, highly beneficial to the country, and to the colonies, whose interests were proposed to be provided for. He should be most happy to afford any assistance to the noble Lord which his humble abilities might enable him to offer.
Mr. Vernon Smith
said, that, on the first introduction of these measures he should offer no observation, because he thought that they were mainly in furtherance of the principles of the noble Lord the late Secretary of State for the Colonies. But there was one question which 88 seemed to belong to the subject now introduced by the noble Lord opposite (Lord Stanley), though perhaps it did not strictly come within it, in reference to which he would ask a question. In the Gazette of Tuesday last an order in council had appeared, permitting or promising to permit, with certain restrictions which were to be imposed in India, and under regulations which were specified, the transportation of hill coolies from India to the Mauritius. The House would recollect that in 1840 his noble Friend near him (Lord John Russell) proposed a discussion upon a similar measure, to which the House refused its assent. He wished to know from the noble Lord, whether that order in council had been made upon any further information than had been obtained at the close of the last Session, and whether he was prepared to lay before Parliament that information and the order in council, or to enter into a discussion upon the subject?
§ Mr. Roebuck
would not touch upon the question referred to by the right hon. Gentleman who had just resumed his seat, but would address himself to the bills proposed to be introduced by the noble Lord, and more especially to that part of them which referred to emigration into the colonies, and to the disposition of the proceeds of the land sales. He objected to the proposition of the noble Lord on these points and he rather suspected that the noble Lord was acquainted with the nature of his objection to the principles which he advocated. The noble Lord said, that he desired to introduce some permanent system respecting the sale of lands in the colonies of Australia, and he spoke of those lands as belonging to the Crown, and said, that it was a privilege of the Crown which he was about to give up, and that he must, therefore, confine the application of his proposition to the life of the present Sovereign. He totally dissented from that doctrine; it was not a privilege of the Crown, and the Crown had nothing to do with the money so derived, and had never yet laid claim to it. But further than that, he went so far as to say that it was their duty not to legislate in any way for these lands. They should define the limits of the colonies which were formed, that emigrants might go out and meet the difficulties of which they knew nothing at home, and that, in return for these hardships they should derive 89 from the land all the benefits which might arise from their position and the peculiarity of their condition. He believed that a really well-conducted system of colonization would consist in an accurate definition of the limits of the colonies; in making them small; and that when each colony possessed a certain number of inhabitants, it should receive the means of governing itself, no power being reserved to the Government at home of overlooking or controverting the lands of the colonies, which should be altogether given to the colonists themselves. He objected also to the principle laid down by the noble Lord and by the hon. Member for Sheffield, that there should be any application of these funds for the purposes of emigration. He knew that it was a favorite theory with many writers and speakers, that the proceeds of the lands of the colonies should be applied exclusively to the purposes of colonization. That was, however, nothing more nor less than an additional clause in the Poor-law Act—it was a sending to the colonies, by means of the proceeds of the colonies, the poor of this country: and he knew, as the noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies also knew, that a colony to which the noble Lord had not addressed himself, had ample means of knowing the effect of this. He knew that a large portion of the colonists conveyed to the shores of British North America had been induced to go there upon erroneous views; and that the colonists who had preceded them, and who had prepared that country for their reception, were at this time over-run by our poor; and not long ago—not many months before the noble Lord the Member for the city of London had quitted the office now held by the noble Lord opposite, that noble Lord recommended to the people already in the colony, to lay a tax on emigrants to prevent a further increase of their burdens. The people of Canada had already attempted this, and it was one of the means adopted in this House to create an ill-feeling against them; but they had been compelled in self-defence to adopt the course which they had taken, as a means of preventing the emigration of the poor from England. He believed, therefore, that the proceeds of the land sales to the purposes of emigration to South Australia would be productive of mischievous effects, for though it might be said that there was a great want of labour 90 there, he answered, that without capital it could not be employed, and that if a large number of persons were introduced into a colony without adequate means of employment or support, a serious mischief was occasioned. How, he asked, were these people to govern themselves, or to make roads? Roads and bridges and other internal communications must be made by the people of the colony, and must be maintained by them, and the best means of doing so, as well as of satisfying the demands of their own government, would be derived from the land fund. He called upon the House, therefore, to devote this fund, and the lands from which it was to be derived, to the comfort and happiness of the colonists themselves. Let them not legislate for their own purposes, nor exclusively for the purposes of emigration, but let them look to the real object which they ought to have in view—the happiness of the people, for whose interest it was their duty to care. He most earnestly put in his protest against the principles which had been advanced, and to which he had referred, by which the proceeds of the colony were to be made applicable to other than purely colonial purposes. No lawyer could prove by any means that those funds belonged to the Crown. The colonies did not belong to the Crown, except as part of its dominions; and these funds did not belong to the Crown, but to the people of England. The interests of the colonists were the interests of the people of England, and they would be best cared for, by allowing them to provide for them themselves; and he felt convinced that those interests would be better cared for, and that jobbing, which it was the noble Lord's object to avoid, would be better prevented by permitting them to dispose of their own funds than by any vain attempt to legislate at a distance of thousands of miles.
§ Sir George Grey
said, that having been chairman of the committee which sat last year upon the subject of our South Australian possessions, he could not allow this opportunity to pass without expressing his satisfaction at the nature of the second of the two bills proposed to be introduced by the noble Lord. So far as he could gather from the statement which the noble Lord had made to the House, it appeared that the details of the measures now brought forward had been taken 91 from the resolutions of the committee to which he had referred, without any alteration being made. The recommendations of that committee, it was true, were confined to South Australia alone, but the noble Lord, the Member for Sunderland (Viscount Howick) had strongly urged that they should be made applicable to all the Australian colonies, and it was only because the committee was appointed solely with a view to South Australia that that recommendation was withheld. With regard to the fixing of a minimum price of land, he begged to suggest to the noble Lord the necessity for the greatest caution. A great deal of discussion had taken place in the committee upon this point, and it was a question which the noble Lord would feel required material consideration before it was decided upon. With regard to the first bill proposed to be introduced he had no observation to make, except that as to the question which had been before put by the right hon. Gentleman near him (Mr. V. Smith), he did not think that it was quite so foreign to the subject of a passengers' bill as might at first be supposed. The removal of the prohibition of the exportation of hill coolies, subject to the regulations proposed, from the East Indies to the Mauritius, was a subject which seemed to him to come within the object of a Passengers' Act, and he hoped the noble Lord would inform the House of the nature of the provisions intended to be made, or of the information upon which the order in council had been adopted.
§ Mr. W. Smith O'Brien
believed, that the bills intended to be introduced by the noble Lord would have a good effect, but all that he complained of was, that they did not go far enough, for he did not see why they should not be extended in their principles to the Cape of Good Hope, to New Brunswick, and all the other colonies of Great Britain, with the concurrence of the local legislature. He should like to know whether the noble Lord had any reason to urge why they should not be so extended, or why, at a time when the poor of this country, and of Ireland and Scotland, were most eagerly soliciting from the Government the means of carrying their labour to those parts of the empire in which, so far from its being considered a burden, it would be most cheerfully welcomed as a new capital engrafted upon the country, means were not to be taken for the purpose of carrying out the principle 92 to the fullest extent. With regard to the observation of the hon. Member for Bath, he must say, that he had never heard a speech displaying so great a want of information; for, with the exception of some French Canadian publications, he had seen no document proceeding front the colonists of Canada which did not hail the arrival of emigrant labour as a boon. He hoped, therefore, that this speech would not impede the progress of the Government, but that they would proceed until they had given to every poor man in this country the opportunity of transferring his labour to those parts of the empire where it was wanted.
said, that two questions had been put to him, and to which he would give answers. He would answer first the questions put to him by the hon. Member for Limerick, why he had not proposed to extend the system of emigration to the Cape of Good Hope and other colonies belonging to this kingdom. He had to state, first, that the opinion of the governor of the Cape was, that in its present condition that colony was not in a state in which a considerable number of labouring emigrants could be advantageously introduced into it; and he therefore did not recommend the introduction of such persons there: and next, that the plan of emigration which he proposed was altogether based on the realization of a fund from the land sales, and that in respect to the colonies referred to by the hon. Member, there would be no such fund arising from such a source. The colony of the Cape was peculiarly circumstanced as regarded its relative quantities of fertile and barren land, and this fact, together with the impossibility of establishing a survey by which systematic land sales could be effected, rendered it useless to think of extending the principle of emigration to this colony. With respect to the question referred to by the two right hon. Gentlemen opposite relative to the order in council, it was true, that upon a full consideration by the Government, they had come to the opinion, that it was not expedient or possible any longer to continue the absolute prohibition of immigration of East-India labourers to the colony of the Mauritius, and that it became their duty to consider the best mode of guarding that immigration from improper conduct, which there was no doubt had prevailed to a great extent. 93 But that no step might be taken without the concurrent action of three bodies, it had been determined, that this proceeding should be sanctioned first by an order in council, secondly, by the vote of money required from the Mauritius, for the purpose of carrying it into effect, and thirdly, by the Governor-general of India in council, who was charged by personal communications, as well as by means of despatches, to impose those restrictions which were requisite to be of the most stringent nature; but which he might venture to say, could be no less stringent to be effectual than those proposed by the noble Lord opposite with regard to the emigration of labourers from Sierra Leone to our West-Indian possessions. He was perfectly ready not only to lay the order in council before the House, but also the despatches from the Governor-general of India, and Sir Lionel Smith, in their respective capacities, which had been adopted as justifying the measures proposed by the Government.
would offer one or two observations to the House on the speech of the hon. Member for Bath, and he was extremely sorry to find that any Member of that House should at once make an objection to the plan brought forward by the noble Lord, when he himself at the commencement of his speech showed how little he could be acquainted with the subject which he discussed. The hon. Member bad made a proposal, that the extent of the colonies should be limited, that they should be made smaller than they now were, and that when they were established their precise limits should be laid down, and that they should not be afterwards exceeded. He asked how the hon. Member could make such a proposition, when he referred to the state of the colony of New South Wales particularly? In that colony rewards were repeatedly offered for the discovery of new tracts of land where flocks of sheep might be fed, because it was found that the existing limits of the colony were insufficient for the purposes for which pasture was required. Under such circumstances, he conceived that it must be obvious, that such a course as that pointed out by the hon. Member could not be adopted, for that it would be impossible to define the limits of such colonies as those he referred to, until the natural boundaries of the country, or the necessities of the co- 94 lonists, had pointed out the limits to which only they should extend.
§ Leave given to bring in a bill to regulate the carriage of passengers in merchant vessels; and also a bill to regulate the survey and sales of land belonging to the Crown in the Australian Colonies, and New Zealand.