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2-201 (Raw)

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addressee author,male,Committee on Immigration,un
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Clark, 1977
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The consideration that there have been two systems in operation for the introduction of Immigrants, the one by means of Agency conducted under the direction of Government, the other kept in activity by private enterprise under the inducements held out by the offer of the Bounties, has led your Committee to institute an accurate comparison between those two systems upon the points of general efficiency, arrangement and expense.
With reference to the first feature, that of positive efficiency, the Committee has arrived at the conclusion, that each of the systems has had the effect of introducing great numbers of useful and industrious individuals of both sexes into the Country, whereby its moral, physical, and political condition has been already much improved, and the ground-work has been laid for a future much more extended melioration.
It is, however, not so much upon the actual, as upon the comparative, recommendations of these two systems, that your Committee has been led to dwell, from a conviction that preference should be given to that one which shall be found to confer an equal amount of advantage on the colony, at the lowest rate of expense.
(On expense) Your Committee, therefore, can form no other conclusion than that the Immigrants introduced under the Government system at an expense of £168,775 might have been conveyed hither under the system of Bounties at a cost of no more than £112,955, or with an actual saving of £55,820 to the Colony.
It appeared therefore necessary to inquire whether the description of Immigrants furnished by the Government system was so superior to the corresponding class under the Bounty System, as to constitute an advantage deserving to be placed in the scale against the marked excess in the cost of their introduction. But without designing to detract from the character of usefulness and eligibility in many of the Immigrants introduced in Government vessels, the Committee cannot conceal the fact that there is Evidence of a great proportion of this class being of a contrary description, and upon the point of qualification there can be no doubt that the balance is decidedly in favour of those under the Bounty System. [189] The most obvious cause of such Superiority in the latter class is to be found in that Regulation which prohibits the payment of any portion of the Bounty on account of any Immigrant until he or she shall have undergone an inspection before a Colonial Board, to the satisfaction of which it must be made to appear, that the party, in point of age and general qualifications accords with the conditions appointed by the Government here. In the case of all parties not answering to that standard the Bounty is withheld, and the expense of their passage falls therefore as a loss upon the affreighter of the vessel. It is too clear to need any proof that no possible regulation could surpass this in tending to make persons entering into engagements to bring out Immigrants on the Bounty System, extremely cautious in admitting none except such as duly correspond with the description laid down in the Government Regulations. It is shewn that not above one in a hundred is rejected on inspection; from which it must be evident that the persons by whom the selection is made, must be acting with the utmost carefulness, under a sense of the pecuniary responsibility they would incur by any relaxation of vigilance as to the description of persons sent by them to the Colony. It does not appear to your Committee that the Agency of a Board in the service of Government can ever be expected to exercise so scrupulous a care; however earnest and faithful the Members of such Board may, in reality, be, there must still be wanting among them, that stimulus to keenness of observation, which must necessarily be excited, when the party making the selection is under the constant recollection that his own pecuniary interests will be injured if he admit ineligible objects.
In this point of view the Bounty System is incontestably preferable to Government Agency, under which there will not only be somewhat more of laxity in the selection of parties, but should they die on the passage, or however inefficient or unsuitable they may on their arrival prove to be, the expense of their transmission has been incurred previously to their leaving the Shores of England, and cannot in any event be recovered. Under the other System, it is obvious, that upon the supposition of deaths occurring, or of incompetency being proved, the whole account of Bounty is saved to the Colony.
The corresponding details relating to Ships on the Bounty System, shew that in Vessels arriving between the 1st January, 1838, and 30th September, 1839, there were embarked 3,001 Adults, of whom 36 died, or 1 in 83 - Children embarked were 1,449, among whom occurred 148 Deaths, or one in 9.
The average of Deaths on board Government Vessels has been I in 56 Adults, and 1 in 10 Children. The general average of Mortality therefore has been 124 Adults in 7,939; and 526 Children in 5,365, i.e: 1 in 64 adults, 1 in 11 Children, or 1 in every 20 souls, very nearly. [190]
Previously to quitting the consideration of the comparative merits of the two systems upon which the conveyance of Immigrants is now conducted, it is necessary to refer to one class, peculiar to the ships on the Bounty System, that is consisting of persons arriving on board those ships at their own cost and charge. During the year 1838, there were 1,478 persons of that description; and during the first nine months of the present year, their numbers have increased to 2,171.
It is evident that persons so circumstanced could either not be received on board the Government vessels, or they must be provided with free passages, and consequently the value of their services to the Colony, and the amount of passage money thus saved, must be placed to the credit of the Bounty System. There are no data enabling this Committee to trace very accurately what proportion among those who arrive at their own expense, may have been induced to undertake the voyage from the motive of accompanying their friends who are allowed a free passage; but assuming this motive to prevail in one-half only of such cases, the Bounty System will have had the collateral effect of bringing to the Colony in 21 months not fewer that 1,824 individuals without expense to the public, who, if that system had not been in operation, would either not have come, or would have had their passage paid for out of the Colonial funds.