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2-313 (Original)

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author,male,Stirling, James,55 addressee
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Government English
Petitions & Proclamations
Clark, 1957
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To the Right Honourable the Lord STANLEY,
Her Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies &c. &c. &c. &c.
The humble memorial of the undersigned Land Owners, Merchants and Inhabitants of the Colony of Western Australia, respectfully sheweth - 
That, Her Majesty's Ministers for the time being having founded this Colony in 1829, upon certain principles which were considered advantageous to settlers, thereby caused a considerable number of capitalists to emigrate hither, upon the faith of those principles being adhered to by the Home Government.
That, through mismanagement, inexperience, and ignorance of the seasons, great numbers of the early settlers lost or expended the greater part of their capital, before they were able so to invest it, as to live upon the interest or produce thereof; but that from the year 1838 to the beginning of 1841, after struggling with unparelleled difficulties, they began to surmount the evils which had encompassed them, and entertained a reasonable hope that the then steadily increasing influx of emigrants would prove the means of imparting a sound marketable value to land, stock and other property, and thus ultimately: realise the hopes of. the original settlers.
That, after the formation of the Colony, and prior to the year 1841, Her Majesty's Government thought proper to raise the price of Crown Lands in this Colony, first from 1s. 6d. an acre (their full value) to 5s. subsequently to 12s. and ultimately to £1 per acre; in consequence of which the sale of Crown Lands has entirely ceased, and the fund which had been formerly produced from this source and was made applicable to the introduction of labour, no longer existed. [162] The introduction of labour therefore ceased, and as the principle upon which the colony was founded (of granting land to those who introduced capital and labour) was no longer acted upon, the immigration of both capitalists and laborers ceased simultaneously.
That, from the cessation of the influx of capital and labor, the settlers of this colony, whose full exertions for many years were necessarily confined to producing the means of their own support, have been entirely disabled from extending those operations so as to produce a sufficient amount of Exports to counterbalance the drain which has been made upon the specie of the Colony by the introduction of necessary Imports.
That, emigration has now commenced from this Colony to the other Australian Colonies, and that there is great reason to apprehend this evil will shortly become of serious magnitude and importance.
That, the scarcity of labor which is now to be apprehended, will necessarily advance the rate of wages, curtail the operations of the agriculturist and flock owner, reduce the quantity of land which has been annually brought into cultivation, arrest the increase of our flocks and herds, and of all other sources of wealth, and enhance the price of provisions and other necessaries to those whose means of procuring them are rapidly diminishing.
That, the state of things to which your Memorialists have thus referred, has for some time past had the effect of depriving land and other property of any marketable value; the want of money necessarily precluding the possibility of purchasing; and the want of confidence in the intrinsic value of property preventing all disposition to purchase.
That, there appears under existing circumstances no probability of the future arrival in this Colony, to any extent, of the combined essentials to prosperity - capital and labor - unless sufficient inducement be again held forth to Emigrants. [163]
That, Your Memorialists most respectfully entreat your Lordship and Her Majestys Ministers to consider the importance of this Colony to the British Empire, from its geographical position, and from its inexhaustible stores of ship timber, as well as its other resources; that, from its position in time of war it would be highly desirable, both for the honour of the Crown, as well as, perhaps, for the security of Her Majestys Eastern Possessions that this Colony should become a populous and powerful settlement; whereas at present a single frigate would be sufficient to wrest the Territory from the British Empire.
That, your Memorialists and the early settlers of this Colony have been long averse from the necessity of making it a Penal Settlement for Convicts; and that if any other remedy for the evils under which they suffer might be obtained, they would be strenuously opposed to such a measure; but, that unless Her Majestys Government will reduce the price of land to its original standard, and resume the principle upon which this Colony was founded, (and act upon that principle judiciously and not lavishly - as was formerly the case), or will devise some other expedient as shall cause the reintroduction of capital and labor, your Memorialists conceive that this colony must become absolutely useless to the British Crown, an incumbrance upon the Empire, and ruinous to those individuals who have been led to embark in it the whole of their fortunes, under an erroneous belief that the British, Government would abide by those principles of colonization which alone give confidence and hope to the Emigrant.
That, if Her Majestys Government refuse to accede to these suggestions, you Memorialists will be obliged to admit that the only probability which then remains of giving a marketable value to land and other property in this Colony - of attracting to it a fresh influx of settlers, and even of inducing the majority of the present settlers to remain in the Territory - is to be found in the hope that Her Majestys Government may be induced to convert the Colony into a Penal Settlement on an extensive scale. [164]
That, the distance of the pastoral districts from the coast, and the sandy nature of the soil between the coast and the Darling Range of Hills, render the formation of good roads most necessary, and at the same time most expensive, and perhaps only to be accomplished by convict labor; that it is also only by convict labor that the port and harbor may be improved - bridges, wharfs, jetties, lighthouses, and other public works, be constructed - facilities for the advantageous establishment of a Timber trade secured - and an inland market guaranteed for agricultural and pastoral productions.
Your Memorialists therefore humbly pray, that if Her Majestys Ministers shall refuse to re-adopt those measures which have been respectfully suggested or referred to in this Memorial, and the value of which was just beginning to be felt at the time when the inducements to immigrants were withdrawn, or to devise some other good and speedy measure of relief - they will be pleased to advise Her Majesty at as early a date as possible, to make and declare this Colony A PENAL SETTLEMENT UPON AN EXTENSIVE SCALE. WESTERN AUSTRALIA, FEBRUARY 1846.