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3-009 (Raw)

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author,male,Denison, William Thomas,47 addressee,male
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Government English
Imperial Correspondence
Clark, 1975
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3-009-raw.txt — 3 KB

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I cannot doubt but that a great number of persons will flock to the gold diggings from the adjoining colonies, and that some will be attracted from England, while the production of food in the colony itself, if not in those adjoining (I mean Victoria and South Australia), will probably be very much diminished. There will, therefore, be a demand for the agricultural produce which can be raised in this colony at prices amply remunerative to the agriculturist; but, on the other hand, the free labourers will, of course, take advantage of the means of communication which are placed at their disposal, and will flock to the diggings; and thus, while the demand for labour will be daily on the increase, the actual supply will diminish, and our means of production will decrease in the same ratio. [85]
I lay great stress upon this as a question, to a certain extent of life and death. The production of food in the Australian colonies has been calculated upon for years with certainty; The Mauritius and the Cape of Good Hope are in some measure dependent upon supplies furnished from hence. Should, then, the discovery of gold, or any equivalent cause, check this production, should 'the supply of food fall Short, while at the same time the mouths to be fed are increasing, great distress, if not actual famine, must be the result.
It may be said, "Look to the American States, on the coast of the Pacific;" but the produce of these countries is, to a great extent, absorbed by the Californian market.
From what I have said, your Lordship will, I think, draw the conclusion that the supply of 2,000 men per annum, which has only just been sufficient to meet the demand of the present and past years, will not be sufficient for the wants of the colony for the next few years. I am confident that ample employment will be found for a greater number, and that the interests of the colony will suffer materially, should I be obliged to postpone the construction of various public works for Want of labour to carry them out.
The prosperity of the agricultural interests of the colony must depend very much upon the facilities which are afforded for the conveyance of produce to market. The difference between a bad and a good road upon a transport of 40 miles is equivalent to more than the rent of the land; and I hope and trust that the efforts now making for the improvement of our means of internal communication will not be checked by a deficiency of labour.
I would, therefore, beg to suggest to your Lordship the propriety of sending out a certain number of men on probation, for whom ample employment can be found, and for the maintenance and discipline of whom I have the means of providing; and I leave it to your Lordship to judge whether any or what extension should be made of the number stated by the Comptroller General is capable of being absorbed by the labour market of this colony; premising that this number (2,000) should be irrespective altogether of those sent out on probation.