Hutt City Libraries Online Heritage Collection > Texts

The New Zealand Journal, Saturday, November 07 (1840)

261

Papers For Emigrants.
No. II.
The Labour Fund.

In our fifteenth number, published on the 15th of August last, we offered our emigrating readers a few observations on the principles of colonization put in practice in New Zealand, on the ground that every person about to emigrate should make himself acquainted with a system of which he himself forms a component part; we now resume the subject, with a paper on the practical application of the emigration fund. This is, in fact, the portion of the system in which the industrious emigrant is most deeply interested. It is seldom that the labouring class have the means of transplanting themselves from one country to another; and whether we consider the effect of emigration on the walfare of the individuals removed, or on that of the whole mass of persons who labour for wages, we must come to the conclusion that the deep, the paramount, interest in the wise administration of the fund destined for the removal of labour rests with them.
We have seen in our first paper on this subject, that the mere fixing of a price for land is good, apart from all consideration of its expenditure.
The fixing of a price, however, necessarily results in the raising of a fund, and we have further shown in the paper referred to, that this fund should be expended in promoting emigration. This being determined, the next question is,—in what manner shall the fund be expended?
Let us here remind the reader that what is in excess in this country is deficient in New Zealand, and other new countries,—we mean population. The object of promoting emigration,
262
therefore, is to relieve the population of the old country, and beneficially to add to that of the new; in other words, to convey to the colony "the greatest germ of increase" at the smallest expense.
To illustrate this we must take extreme cases. If, for instance, we were to remove only the aged and the feeble—those who in the ordinary course of nature have but a small proportion, of their earthly career to run—it is quite clear that we should make but little impression upon the population of the old or the new country. In the first place, we should remove persons who are not competitors in the labour market; hence we should neither improve wages in the emigrating country, nor supply labour to the new. In the second place, the persons removed are not those in whom the function of continuing the race resides; thus we should simply remove a consumer—adding a consumer to the new country—at a cost, perhaps, more than equivalent to his maintenance here. This may be called the most improvident kind of emigration, that which attains the least possible good at the greatest sacrifice in every way, including a large amount of pain to the parties emigrating, whose ties would thereby be violently torn asunder—whose habits would be inconveniently interfered with. It is not pretended that this absurdity is likely to be put in practice; it is merely mentioned as an extreme, which promiscuous voluntary emigration has some tendency indefinitely to approach.
On the other hand, it must be evident, that by removing all those who annually attain the age of puberty we should make the greatest possible impression on the population of both the old and new country, in a given time at a given cost. As to the old country, it is clear that it would be depopulated in a small number of years, whilst the population of the new would increase with corresponding rapidity. The maximum impression would be made on wages, because the persons removed would be all competitors in the labour market. Among them, also, the disturbance of habit would be very small, and they would soon make the new country—what every emigrant ought to deem it—his home. It is also to be stated that this is the other extreme, as little to be practised as desired. It serves to show that an effect equal to the emigration of the whole population could be produced in a few years by sending away some number short of the whole.
Under favourable circumstances, the population of Great Britain would increase at the rate of 1,000,000 a year; its actual increase does not perhaps exceed 300,000. Now, if a voluntary promiscuous emigration were to take place to the latter extent, it would scarcely affect the population, as the procreative power would only have greater room to exert itself, and another 300,000 would spring up to replace those who had left. This would take place, supposing emigration were to go on, until the procreative power had exerted itself to the utmost; that is, until so many were annually removed as to leave only the last 300,000 of the 1,000,000, or that increased number which the country may be supposed to be capable of maintaining.
To produce any effects by means of promiscuous emigration is clearly impossible. The parties emigrating may be benefited, but the redundancy of population is not relieved. It was, indeed, long since pointed out by writers on the subject, that all the emigration schemes then known were incapable of producing any beneficial effect; but, by selecting the emigrants both as to age and sex, the most marked results may be brought about in a moderate period of time. For a given outlay, the greatest effect may be produced on the condition of the people of the emigrating country, whilst, at the same time, the "greatest germ of future increase" is conveyed to the colony. On the subject of selection, the following extracts from Mr. Wakefield's evidence before the Select Committee on the disposal of lands in the Colonies, contains a brief summary of its advantages:—
902. "You would wish to have a selection of young couples for emigration?—It seems quite clear that the class of persons to be selected would be an equal proportion of the sexes who have arrived at the age of maturity.
903. "Are there any other advantages, in addition to those you have stated, which would result from giving a passage to young couples?—Very great ones, as it appears to me. By removing the selected class, not only would you remove the greatest seeds of increase 'in the smallest number of people, but you would remove the greatest quantity of labour (using the term of labour to express saleable muscular exertion) at the least cost. If there were a pressure upon the labour market at home, by removing that class which was then commencing to work, and which had before it a long period of health and strength for labour, you would give the greatest relief to the labour market with the least expenditure; and, in the next place, your object in the colony being the greatest possible labour at the least expense, by bringing to the colony a young man who had just arrived at his strength, but who had the prospect of a long life, you would give to the colony the greatest benefit at the least expenditure.
Thirdly, there is in all immigration the same sort of evil as there is in storms and floods. Emigration per se is an evil. It is a great evil to remove from the country of one's birth and one's affections. Now, by the proposed selection, since the greatest amount of emigration would really take place with the removal of the least number of people, you would obtain the maximum of good to be obtained by emigration with the minimum of evil, whatever the evil may be. In the fourth place, there are great objections to the removal of any but young people: I will not say any but the married class to which I have adverted. Children suffer immensely in being removed. They suffer on board ship—they suffer from the confinement; and when they arrive in the colony they are either neglected, or are a great encumbrance. Old people suffer more from being removed from the scenes to which they are attached, and they are also less able to bear the fatigues which necessarily attend upon a long voyage. Lastly, almost every young couple no sooner marry than, in this country, or wherever they may be, they look out for a new home. At the moment when they contemplate marriage, or at least when they are about to marry, they may be said to be already on the move. You would catch them moving: you do not tear them from a place where they were fixed, but you would enable them to remove to a place where their labour would be of the greatest possible value to them. By that selection, therefore, it appears to me, that you would reduce the evil of emigration, whatever it might be, not only to the minimum, but positively to a very small amount indeed."
Such are the advantages of selection; it now remains to state in what manner the principle is applied in the colonization of New Zealand.
The New Zealand Company devotes 75 per cent, of the proceeds of the sales of land to defraying the cost of emigration, and the following extracts from the Company's "Regulations for Labourers wishing to Emigrate to New Zealand "will show the mode in which it is expended. Persons of the labouring class, besides producing testimonials as to the qualifications, character, and health, "must be actual labourers going out to work for wages in the colony, of sound mind and body, not less than fifteen, nor more than thirty years of age, and married. The marriage certificate must be produced. The rule as to age will be occasionally departed from in favour of persons having large families, whose qualifications are in other respects satisfactory.
"To the wives of labourers, thus sent out, the Company offers a free passage with their husbands.
"To single women a free passage will be granted, provided they go out under the protection of their parents, or near relations, or under actual engagement as servants to ladies going out as cabin passengers on board the same vessel. The preference will be given to those accustomed to farm and dairy work, to sempstresses, straw-platters, and domestic servants."
Where applicants are not strictly qualified, they may come within the following regulations:—
"The children of parents sent out by the Company will receive a free passage, if they are under one, or full seven years of age at the time of embarkation. For all other children three pounds each must be paid, in full, before embarkation, by the parents, or friends, or by the parish."
"Persons not strictly entitled to be conveyed out by the emigration fund, if not disqualified on account of character, will, in the discretion of the Directors, be allowed to accompany the free emigrants, on paying to the Company the sum of £18 15s. for every such adult person. The charges for children are as follows:—Under one year of age, no charge; one year, and under nine, one-third of the charge for adults; nine years of age, and under fourteen, one-half the charge for adults; but if the parents be of the labouring class, the children will be taken out on the terms stated in the last regulation."
The following regulation regards the emigrant's welfare before embarkation:—
"The expense of reaching the port of embarkation must be borne by the emigrants; but on the day appointed for their embarkation, they will be received, even though the departure of the ship should be delayed, and will be put to no further expense."
And the last has reference thereto after the arrival:—
"On the arrival of the emigrants in the colony, they will be received by an officer who will supply their immediate wants, assist them in reaching the place of their destination, be ready to advise with them in case of difficulty, and at all times to give them employment in the service of the Company, if from any cause they should be unable to obtain it elsewhere. The emigrants will, however, be at perfect liberty to engage themselves to any one willing to employ them, and will make their own bargain for wages."*
The most careful arrangements are made for securing the health and comfort of the emigrants during the voyage. In point of space the law is not stretched to the utmost, as is frequently done in the ships which convey emigrants to Canada, but ample room is assigned to each emigrant. The dietary is on the most liberal scale; each individual has daily 1 lb. of bread, 1\2 lb. of meat (beef, pork, and preserved meat in succession), three quarts of water, besides rice, pease, and potatoes, to vary the food, with flour, raisins, suet, tea, coffee, sugar, butter, pickled cabbage, salt, and mustard. As these provisions are served out to messes of six or more, they have been found so abundant, that, in the accounts we have printed from the colony, some of the settlers have stated that they have saved from their allowances so as to have a stock on their arrival.
263

Notice.

We shall be happy to give double price for clean copies of number eighteen of the New Zealand Journal.
The next Number of the "New Zealand Journal" will be Published on Saturday, the 21st November, 1840.

*

See the Appendix to Ward's "Information," where the regulations are given at length.

The regulations of the Plymouth Company of New Zealand are in every respect similar to those of the Parent Company.

All images and text on this website are for personal use only. No material may be reproduced, communicated or copied other than for the purposes of research or study, criticism or review, or reporting the news without the Library's permission. Use and referral of material for these purposes must include full and proper acknowledgement. Reproduction of material for other purposes may incur a fee. For more information see our contact details