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Chapter III.

EMIGRATION — FOOD AND LABOUR — EMIGRATION AS IT WAS — AN EMIGRANT IN 1837 — EMIGRATION AS IT IS—AN EMIGRANT IN 1850—CASTAWAYS—IRISH ORPHAN GIRLS, PRO AND CON.—TWO HUNDRED WIVES APPLIED FOR—AN ITINERANT MATCH-MAKER WANTED—WAGES HERE AND THERE—A WORD TO THE POORER, A WORD TO THE RICHER, EMIGRANT—AUSTRALIA AS A HOME.

IT is not surprising that emigration forms among the colonists of this country a prominent topic of thought, of conversation, writing, and speculation. It is nothing short of an infusion of life-blood they are canvassing. On the other hand, the most indifferent reader can scarcely take up an English newspaper or periodical without being struck with proof after proof of the “plethora of humanity” with which our overcrowded islands are bursting. There is harmony in the cry from the uttermost parts of the earth:—“Bring us your strong arms and your willing hearts, your skill, your courage, and your thrift; your notable dames, your blooming maids, your growing children. We have fertile lands, we have beef and mutton ‘galore;’ send us hands to till our soil, mouths to eat our surplus!” And Britain's


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deep voice booms across the deep she rules—“Give us a home; give us breathing-room; give us food and peace for our starving sons and daughters!” Expatriation or starvation is the alternative on one side, increase of population or ruin on the other. Pity it is that so tardy has been the supply, to these colonies at least, that many hundreds of thousands of good colonists have meanwhile carried their industry and their savings to enrich a foreign country—possibly to aggrandise a hostile power. Where the emigration to Australia may be told by tens, that to the United States must be counted by thousands.note

But quality as well as quantity in the matter of emigration is very reasonably looked for by the recipient colony. New South Wales would bear just now an immense influx of mere muscle, and would repay honest industry with liberal remuneration; but she cannot afford to be swamped with pauperism and crime. Her moral complexion is not so spotless as to defy taint from an indiscriminate introduction of the budding


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thieves, rising rogues, and ragged parent-deserted juveniles, who, to the tune of 30,000, are said to infest the lanes and alleys of London. She does not offer herself as a refuge for runaway apprentices, thimble-riggers, poachers, and prostitutes; nor for the sturdy tramps and vagabonds now occupying in workhouses the room and devouring the meal which should be devoted to the honest but destitute labourer, the disappointed but really earnest applicant for work. Nor does this colony desire to have “its moral atmosphere Tipperaryfied” by idle and disaffected Irish, nor to be overrun by English spies and “approvers,” or chartist and socialist outcasts. When she exclaims, “Send us your poor—we will feed and clothe them, your orphans—we will adopt them;” she does not advertise for the old, infirm, and sickly, nor for the “kids forlorn” of the rascals, hanged and unhanged, of England's Alsatias. Enterprise and dexterity are, undoubtedly, valuable qualities in one who proposes to strike out for himself a new existence in a new and rough country; but the skill and nerve—not to mention the frankness—of the promising youngster who boasted of having picked his mother's pocket while both were spectators at his father's execution, are not precisely those calculated to adorn or profit a rising community. The vaurien of London will be equally worth nothing in Sydney. The drone and the voluptuary had better stay at home. The able and sober mechanic and labourer, whose strength and skill are a drug in England, will receive their highest value here. “The colonies


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want men who will go thither to live there, to work there, and to die there,—to find a home there for themselves and children. Such men may sail with confidence, they will not be disappointed.”note

The process of emigration was formerly—as compared with its present gradual perfection—a very blind-hooky kind of game. A poor devil finding himself miserable and starving at home, made interest to be sent out to “the Plantations;” or was sent out pell-mell by some landlord or parochial authority, desiring to be rid of a nuisance. He departed in worse than ignorance as to the land of his pilgrimage; for, if he made inquiries at all, he was sure to obtain false or exaggerated information. He performed the voyage in misery, dirt, and perhaps disease, in an ill-found, slow, and unsafe vessel. On arrival in a country utterly strange to him, he found few ready to help or advise; very many prompt to deceive and swindle him. If possessed of a little ready money, while loitering about in puzzled attempts to discover the best way of laying it out, the temptations of a town, after the long tedium of a sea voyage, in a few days or weeks saved him all further trouble as to its investment. He solaced himself, however, with the reflection that he had a strong pair of hands, and he had been assured in England that he could always earn five shillings a-day as a labourer or shepherd. Nevertheless, if New South Wales happened to have been the country of his adoption,


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he might still be disappointed, for he would have found the labour market in possession of thousands of assigned convicts, whose services being repaid only by food and raiment, were preferred to those of emigrant servants who expected good wages.

Often, in different dependencies of Great Britain, have I encountered some poor illiterate helpless creature, wandering bewildered, like a masterless dog, down the strange street of a strange town; looking vacantly in the faces of the busy passengers, and, in the depth of his tribulation, wishing himself safe back in his native land, with all its starvation and wretchedness, so he could be among familiar faces and familiar objects.

I well remember being accosted one day, in a Canadian town, by a ragged, red-headed, wretched-looking but able-bodied Irishman, who begged my Honour to tell him where the “Immigrant's office” might be. I pointed in silence to these very two words, in huge black letters over a door across the street. But he was “no scollard,” and though the inscription was “jist forninst his nose, sure enough,” it conveyed to him no information. He had been five or six days in the town, “and bad luck to him if he could hit upon the place at all at all.”

“Why did you not use your tongue, my lad?” said I. “Your countrymen are not generally very bashful!”

He had used it, it appeared, frequently; and had uniformly been carried into the nearest tavern, where the kind stranger he had questioned promised to tell him all about it over a quartern of whisky; “and by the hookey,


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one and all left me to pay the piper, and to get out as I could!” “Sorrow a rap” had he got of all his savings, barring a five dollar note, which, on presenting it for change, he would probably have found to be no better than one of those illusory specimens of paper currency known as “shin plaisters.”

Three or four months after this interview, I recognised my friend in an American steam-boat, bound from Buffalo up the Lakes. He had entered the service of an American farmer, who resided in one of the Atlantic states, but who was travelling “west” to look for land whereon to locate his eldest son. Paddy pointed out his master, whose physical structure suggested to my mind ideas of a sturdy English yeoman, rather than a Yankee grazier. Nor was I wrong. The farmer informed me that he had been for many years a tenant of a Cambridgeshire baronet, of whom he rented 300 acres; that, finding his family and the difficulty of meeting his rent yearly increasing, he had emigrated to Canada; but, solely because the process of buying land in the British colony was too dilatory for his active and decisive humour, he “up stick and crossed the border” to the United States. He had been seven years there, was a naturalized American, had bought up for next to nothing the impoverished land of his neighbours, who, knowing little of the arcana of farming, had gone further west in search of “fresh diggins;” and, from his skill in the rotation of crops, and by the application of restoratives to the exhausted soil, he could now undersell every competitor in the surrounding markets, making


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a handsome profit. He had several sons, each of whom, before they left home, had been instructed in some useful trade; and two or three well-grown daughters, adepts at the churn and cheese-press, as well as the needle and spindle. Such is a family group fit not only for emigration, but for its higher aim—colonization.

Truly it is to the settler in a new land that a numerous and well-disciplined family is like “the arrows in the hand of the giant.” With his quiver full of them he may drive the enemy—Want and Care—from his gate! In the crowded Old World, where consumption presses too hard on produce, a father's joy at the annual sprouting of an olive-branch on the family tree may possibly have some alloy; but when a man sets himself down, axe in hand, before the primeval bush of Australia, to carve out for himself a home—the more chopping boys his wife brings him the better!

Compared with the haphazard system of former days, the act of emigration is now made easy indeed. At Home, societies for its promotion multiply in all directions. Deputies therefrom distribute information, not always very correct, through rural districts and manufacturing towns. Lecturers hold forth for pure unpaid philanthropy. Lords and Commons speechify and agitate. Clergymen, magistrates, poor-law commissioners, parish authorities, mayors and aldermen, and ratepayers in general,—all preach “systematic emigragration.” Tories and radicals, protectionists and freetraders, join in the propagandism of popular depletion.


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Magazines, pamphlets, newspapers, penny journals, lend their aid to dispel ignorance on this absorbing theme. Union workhouses, penitentiaries, foundling hospitals, ragged schools, asylums, refuges, all are ready and willing—who shall blame them?—to disgorge their contents upon the dependencies of the Crown.

The aspirant for emigration, according to the improved system, places himself in the hands of the Colonization Society. He and his family are “told off” to a vessel. If any one be curious as to the kind of ship provided, let him refer to a description in the John Bull newspaper, 21st October, 1848, of the Harbinger, one of four vessels then lying in Plymouth Sound. Such a craft as this makes the passage to Sydney in 100 days; to Adelaide or Port Phillip ten days quicker. On its arrival, a Government notice is issued, giving the number, sex, and callings of the immigrants, whether married or single; and a day and hour are appointed for the hiring of them. The single females are lodged, boarded, and looked after at the Immigration Dépôt,—a walled barrack, where they can be engaged by persons known by the agent to be respectable. In short, the emigrant is taken charge of by competent authority from the moment he or she announces in England a desire to become one, and is not abandoned until fairly established in the new country.

Having admitted, a few pages back, an account, taken from an old diary, of an Hibernian emigrant encountered in America about 1837, I now take leave


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to insert an extract from my Journal of 1st December, 1850, giving a short notice of a newly-arrived Irish emigrant whom I met and conversed with on that day near Sydney.

Riding on a smoking hot afternoon (for at 6 P.M. it was 98° in the shade) from the Heads towards the town, I perceived a young man stepping briskly across a ferny paddock near Rose Bay, and, touching lightly the top rail of the fence, vault into the road in a very un-currency style. “You are from the Old Country,” said I, as I overtook him. He was an Irishman, true enough; and, being a good-natured, communicative fellow, he walked with me for more than two miles, telling me about himself, and asking questions about the colony. He had come out a free emigrant “on” the Kate six weeks ago; and the day after landing, reading an advertisement in the paper “for an active young man, willing to make himself generally useful,” he had taken service “with the missis over yonder,”—pointing to a substantial residence. He was tired of it, and was leaving, and had not yet got another place. The young master was the cause, I found,—“a strip of a lad, fourteen or fifteen may be. Oh! bedad, his word's law in that house!” He got 15s. a-week, a hut to himself, fire, candles, and milk. In Ireland he could not earn 6s. a-week certain, and had to find himself in everything. Among the various duties expected of the “generally useful” young man in this establishment, he had to take care of a gig and a horse, and to clean and take charge of a boat.


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“I'd be baling out the boat, may be, at one o'clock, and at two I'd have to put the gig on the horse”—(for such was his expression)—“to bring the young master into town, and again at eleven o'clock at night I'd have to fetch him home!” Paddy could not stand the late hours, so he vacated this well-paid situation.

He then descanted on the subjects of the climate and of drinking. It was a fine country for a poor boy to come to. He did not mind the heat; “but oh, my darlin'! last Wednesday night wid the hot wind! I'd heard of it before! I thought I'd be smothered. Murther! says I; if this is what it is by night, what 'll it be by day?” “Drinking,” he said, “is a fine thing if a man could take enough to do him good, and no more. It's the rune of many a man; but it will never take the feather out of my cap, for the pledge is on me these twelve months; and I trust in the Lord I may never taste the taste of spurts again!”

The good fellow was shocked at the manner in which the horses of this country were treated by their riders,—“galloping for the bare life along the hard roads.” I tried to persuade him to leave Sydney and go up the country, where I would get him employment. He seemed much tickled by my account of the life of the provinces, and above all of the Saturday serving out of rations for the week to the labourers,—“the mate, and the tay, and the like.”—“But the snakes, my darlin', the snakes!” he continued; and having once stumbled on this unlucky subject, he gave up all idea of rural


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employment! He told me he had saved at his last situation ten shillings a-week! He got as good a one in a few days—and no young master, I am glad to be able to add.

By some mismanagement or mischance emigration to this country has never yet been steadily and uniformly maintained. Conducted by fits and starts, no continuous stream has been kept up. The clamour for workmen which rung in my ears during the first year of my residence arose with nearly equal earnestness in my last. Wages were always excessive. They fluctuated, but never descended on the scale to a degree fair upon the employer. Nor has the system, such as it is, been done justice to. Crowds of persons have found their way out at the expense of the emigration funds who ought never to have been assisted—specimens such as I have sketched in speaking of the domestic servants of this colony.

Let me add here another instance or two;—for a good example is better than an essay. In 1849 a wretched helpless-looking lad offered himself to me in the capacity of footman. He had just arrived from London, where he found that he had neither personal length nor breadth, calves, whiskers, or impudence sufficient for West End fiunkeyship. The clergyman of his parish, who ought to have known better, told him he could get 60l. a-year wages in New South Wales. He had married in England a pretty nursery-maid of eighteen, expressly, as he said, for settling in a colony.


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She did not like work, he said, but expected to live like a lady. He declined service unless she were permitted to live with him; and so missed the 30l. a-year which, in the dearth of domestic servants, I was prepared to give him. But one of the worst—the cruellest case of emigration at the public cost that ever came under my observation (not excepting a hump-backed fiddler!) was the following. Towards the end of 184—, two young orphan girls, little more than children, daughters of a respectable professional man, came out from England, with strong recommendations from the minister of their parish to the head of the Church in the colony, who bespoke for them the favour of some of the ladies of Sydney. They had no relatives or friends in the country. Their ostensible object was to procure situations as nursery governesses; marriage might possibly have been their real aim. A married gentleman very humanely took them under his roof, and allowed them to live on nearly equal terms with his family until they might be able to provide for themselves. Both were, as I have said, young—one very pretty. It is needless to say that Sydney possesses the same snares and pitfalls for the innocent and inexperienced as other towns containing fifty thousand inhabitants. The elder was for a time—for a time only—permitted to escape. The younger and handsomer soon began to show such levity of manner as to forfeit the protection of her kind patrons; and she shortly afterwards consigned herself to that of a young gentleman of


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Sydney. The subsequent downward steps of this unfortunate child can only be predicted. And these were emigrants at the cost of the territorial revenue of the colony! Did the mother country benefit by sending two of her defenceless daughters to almost certain shame and ruin? Did the colony benefit by their coming? … Did the poor young creatures themselves benefit? … I might pile instance upon instance of this nature. But enough has been said to point a moral—perhaps to tend, in a very humble degree, to the prevention of future ill-selected emigration.

A word about the Irish orphan girls, so liberally poured into the colony during the last year or two. Forty thousand pounds' worth of this commodity was imported into New South Wales up to 1850. The public, I think, took more pains to drag to light the defaults of this class than to publish their virtues and to reform their errors. The police reports teemed with instances of their rebellious conduct, as well as of their unfitness for household service. In July, 1850, an hon. member of the Legislature complained that there were at that moment three hundred of them unhired at the Immigrant Dépôt, and maintained at the public expense, —the said maintenance costing, by the way, 3d. a-head per diem. Many of them, doubtless, preferred food and lodging and idleness in that establishment to wages and labour out of doors: as the hackney coach-horse prefers his stand and nose-bag to hard work and whipcord! One young lady was brought before the bench


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of magistrates at Paramatta, because she persisted in operating at the wash-tub in patent leather pumps. Another broke her indentures, and demanded to return to the dépôt, because she was not permitted to receive a male friend after hours.

In some cases these poor girls were shamefully treated on board the emigrant vessels. In one ship the surgeon superintendent punished restive conduct in the young women under his charge by making the defaulters parade the quarter-deck or poop dressed in his lower garments: and when questioned by the judge presiding at his trial, whether such procedure was not calculated to hurt the delicacy of the females under his care, he replied that they had not much of that material to injure; and took credit to himself for his newly-invented mode of correction. In another vessel matters were still worse. Several of the young women,—the best looking, of course,—were selected to act as servants to the master and officers. Some were seduced by the ruffians who ought to have protected the fatherless; and one wretched creature died soon after landing, from the effects of having been slung up by the waist to the rigging when far gone in pregnancy, by way of punishment for misconduct.

The matrons were, in some instances, badly selected. One of them, who took service in my family, was somewhat ill-fitted to control two hundred and fifty young girls, of whom she had charge for four months; for she could not control her middle-aged self for a fortnight!


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The term orphan was utterly misplaced in many coming out under that designation. Several were in truth quite as well supplied with parents as their neighbours, and had quitted them willingly. Not a few were in the condition of an individual of this class, who, being twitted in the street by “a common scold” with the opprobrious term of poor Irish orphan, exclaimed in her haste—“Horphin! I'm no more horphin than you are. I'm a married woman, and mother of two children!” It is pleasant to be able to add that the majority of the ships were admirably conducted; and that many of these people turned out very well, making valuable domestic servants.

I was particularly struck with the cleanly and decent appearance of these poor girls as a body, in the dépôt, as well as by their marked superiority in good looks over the native born girls of the same order. Why they hung so long on hand, both in the labour and the marriage market, in a country where males so greatly preponderate in the distribution of the sexes, I cannot tell. Perhaps the local authorities did not meet the demand of the distant districts with sufficient promptitude; for in 1850, the public prints contained several requisitions of the following tenour:—

“WIDE BAY AMD BURNETT DISTRICTS.—THE ORPHAN GIRLS.

  “To the Editors of the Sydney Morning Herald.

“GENTLEMEN,—Whilst the Government pretend they do not know what to do with these girls, they entirely neglect the northern and rapidly increasing Wide Bay and Burnett River Districts. On the Burnett,


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Severn, Dawson, and Boyne Rivers, there is a large entirely male population; there are not more than six women in the whole district, and those have arrived within the last six months. If a vessel was despatched immediately to Wide Bay with 200 of these girls, I have no hesitation in stating the whole of them would be married in two months.

  “Yours, &c.

   “A BUSHMAN.”

I shall be thought joking, perhaps, when I say that an accredited matchmaker—some staid and influential lady, who would convoy detachments of female immigrants to the rural districts, and interest herself as to their proper establishment in life—would be one of the most useful government officers in the colony. I believe I have heard that the great apostle of emigration, Mrs. Chisholm, did formerly take some steps in this direction. It is needless for me to add a word by way of stimulus to the emigration movement. Philanthropic societies and individuals will do well indeed to direct the course of emigration and to instruct the emigrant; but Competition is the emigrant king. He will send forth his legions to subdue the globe!

I would beg leave to insert here an extract from a statement of wages of immigrants in 1849, compiled by the agent from the reports of the police districts:—

  SYDNEY DISTRICT.

Farm labourers, 18l.; Shepherds, 18l.; Cooks, female, 19l.; Housemaids, 15l.; Nursemaids, 15l.; general house servants, 17l.

  BATHURST DISTRICT.

  Males.

Carpenters, Smiths, Wheelwrights, Masons, and Bricklayers, 40l.; Farm labourers and Shepherds, 22l.

Females about the same as at Sydney.




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  RAYMOND TERRACE DISTRICT.

  Carpenters, &c., 47l.; Farm labourers, 18l.

  BRISBANE DISTRICT.

  Males.

 Carpenters, &c., 60l.; Farm labourers, 20l.; Shepherds, 19l.

  Females.

Cooks, 18l.; Housemaids, 15l.; Laundress, 16l.; General house servants, 20l.

Food and lodging provided by the employers.

This scale is considerably lower than that usually held up for the encouragement of emigration by the Home agents. For myself as a householder, I can answer for it that, during the whole of my residence in the colony, I paid domestic servants much higher, viz. coachman, 30l., cook, 22l. to 26l., nurse, 26l., and so on. The ordinary scale of rations for out-door servants and labourers is, per week, 10 lbs. of meat, 10 lbs. of bread, ¼ lb. of tea, ¾ lb. of sugar. Contrast these handsome wages and diet—handsome when it is taken into consideration that the general run of employers in this country possess perhaps a shilling where the employers in England possess a pound—with the distressing accounts of the wages and diet of some of the agricultural districts of the Old Country; the harrowing tales of the Spital weavers' destitution; of the prices paid to London workpeople by clothiers, contractors, &c.; and though last, not the least painful, of the wretched earnings and sufferings and degradation of the poor needlewomen of the metropolis;—“33,500 women engaged in this one trade, of


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whom 28,500 are under twenty years of age; and of these a large portion living, or attempting to live, on sums varying from 4½d. to 2½d. a-day!”note

The correspondent of the Morning Chronicle, on the subject of the state of the poor in London, visits the apartment—the den, rather—of a woman employed in making soldiers' trowsers at 6½d a pair, out of which she paid for thread, for lodging, fire, light, food, and clothing, being able, if in good health, to make two pair in a day of fifteen or sixteen hours. “I may, perhaps,” said she, “chance to get a bit of meat once a week, but that's a God-send!”

A wretched tenant of a garret in Drury Lane says:—“As for sugar, I broke myself off it long ago. I could not afford it. A cup of tea, a piece of bread, and an onion, is generally all I have for my dinner. Sometimes I hav'n't even an onion, and then I sops my bread.”

Among sundry like cases, the same authority gives one which came under his notice in one of the southern counties. A family of seven children and their mother depended upon the man's wages as a labourer. The weekly expenditure, assisted by a few potatoes and an occasional cabbage from a strip of garden, he puts down as follows:—rent, 1s.; tea, 6d.; bacon, 5d.; bread, 5s.; soda, soap, &c. 5d.; fuel, 8d.—total, 8s. Weekly wages 8s.! Not much left for clothing and other luxuries!

An old worn-out Spitalfields weaver calls to his boy


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—“Billy, just show the gentleman what beautiful fabrics we are in the habit of producing, and then he shall say whether we ought to be in the filthy state we are. That's for the ladies, to adorn them and make them handsome!” It was, says the writer, an exquisite piece of maroon-coloured velvet, that, amid all the squalor of the place, seemed marvellously beautiful. One shilling and three-pence a yard was all the skilful weaver got for this splendid material. “There are seven of us in this room,” complained the old man, “four on us here in this bed, and the other four on them over there. My brother Tom makes up the other one. There's a nice state, in a Christian land! … As for animal food, why, it's a stranger to us. Once a-week, may be, we gets a taste of it, but that's a hard struggle; and many a family don't get it once a month: a jint we never sees.”

These may be called extreme cases; but the fortunate man who enjoys what may be called full wages at Home, is only half fed and clothed, if he have a numerous family. In England and Ireland the permission to work hard from Monday morning to Saturday night, is a great boon. In Australia, the artisan and labourer has leisure as well as work. Contrast, I repeat, such facts as the above with the preceding statement of Australian wages and rations, and the well-known Australian profusion of human food; add to them the statistical truth that about one-eleventh in England and one-fourth in Ireland of the entire population are receiving parochial relief,


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and exhortations to emigrate would appear supererogatory indeed!

Let it not be apprehended that I am about to embark in a series of “Hints for Emigrants.” There have been, and will be, plenty of writers a hundred-fold more able than myself to fulfil that task. That the emigrant, of whatever class, should well weigh the matter before he decides, is merely supposing him a rational being; but I would offer one sentence of advice, perhaps more original, to the poorer order of intended emigrants. Be most circumspect in your inquiries before you commute your Homes for ever. Lay not too implicitly the unction to your soul, that the benevolent association, or the philanthropic individual, that promotes your expatriation, and the generous open-hearted-and-armed colony who invites you, are actuated wholly by a desire for your welfare and benefit. Recollect, that it is the interest of the first to “shovel you out,” and that the second, which welcomes you in order that your presence may bring down the price of labour, is not a whit more disinterested in its object than the well-known placard—“Rubbish may be shot here.” The advocates of emigration, in short, are not, eo facto, the emigrant's best friends. Punch offers the laconic advice to persons about to marry—“Don't!” I would qualify considerably this admonition, in addressing myself to parties about to emigrate, to settle, or to squat—“Don't do either without grave consideration of your own qualifications.”




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The foregoing remarks apply chiefly to the poorer, the assisted and the free emigrant. But in the upper and middle orders, the educated classes—(those who inherit the right to maintain themselves by the labour of the intellect, and whom manual toil would ill befit)—all the professions are overstocked. The present generation may possibly, by strenuous jostling in the crowd of competitors, contrive to support themselves and their families without stooping to some less refined occupation; but if the children are to be reared like the parent, what hope can he reasonably have for them, when increased numbers press upon the already overtasked field of educated employment? There will be more lawyers than litigants, more medicos than moribunds, more clericos than churches or church-goers! Many will go downwards, struggling with greater or less vigour, but still go downwards in the stream of life. A few will, of course, rise to the surface by strong volition and intrinsic worth. The very highest classes will scarcely be exempt from the universal pressure. One important and hitherto fertile source of employment for the younger scions of the nobility and gentry of England may fail them ere long. Our colonies are clamorous for a larger share of self-government, and for freer institutions; and those that do not clamour will perhaps have these forced upon them by Home agitation. The dependencies which obtain such institutions—and what one gets another may—will refuse to be saddled with officials from the Mother Country; they will select them from among


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the “sons of the soil.” Yet, if colonial patronage is to be colonial property,—if the sprigs of England's aristocracy and squirarchy should be debarred from official employ in the colonies,—they may still colonize and settle in them; and do so advantageously. As I have shrank from offering crude admonition to the humbler orders of emigrating Britons, so shall I abstain from offering a code to their superiors in condition. I will merely hint, that in this colony the mere necessaries of life are so cheap, that a gentleman emigrating with capital—small or large—can well afford to live inoperative for a period sufficient to enable him to look well about him, and in so doing to gain some insight into, if not to go through a regular apprenticeship in the pursuit he may resolve to adopt.

It has often occurred to me that the law of primogeniture in the upper classes has been instrumental in no small degree in making Englishmen the best—the only—colonists in the world. The landed, and the bulk of the funded, property of a family very generally go to the eldest son. What better for one or two of the cadets to do with their two, four, six, or even ten thousand pounds—if they belong to no solvent profession—than to colonize? Better that, than to be a very fast man for a season or two, aping and toadying those richer than himself, and thus losing money, time, his own and others' esteem!—better that, than to be put to a thousand shifts and humiliating expedients to feed the little hungry mouths around his hearth.




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One need not join in Pope's unpatriotic dictum, “I can never think that place my country in which I cannot call a foot of paternal earth my own;” but neither, in my eyes, is there anything so very alarming or repulsive in the idea of removing to some comparatively untaxed portion of the same empire, where, under the agis of the same institutions, and with the same laws, language, and religion, an Englishman may find all the protection that is needful, and all the freedom that is good for him. If the bold emigrant want a motto for his banner, what better one than

“Omne solum forti Patria!”

He may fight under it, fearless of failure and sanguine of success; and he may do so without forgetting his allegiance to the land of his birth. The writer can hardly be said to be a stay-at-home preacher of expatriation, having spent some sixteen years in foreign lands since he left school.

A very superficial although personal acquaintance with the five great divisions of the globe gives me, perhaps, no right to uphold Australia as the best of all fields for European settlement. Yet that impression has taken strong hold of my mind. Its distant geographical position, and the consequent expense of time and money on the voyage, are undoubtedly serious drawbacks. On the other hand, Australia, in its unequalled extent of coast, presents localities for colonization at a hundred different points. The land, though not rich, is productive.


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The climate is excellent. There are no insalubrious swamps, noxious reptiles but few; no lions or tigers—no Pawneeloups or Maories or Kaffirs; no cholera, yellow jack, endemic or epidemic diseases, no assessed taxes, no hydrophobia, no volcanoes, no earthquakes—such as lately convulsed New Zealand—where a friend of mine, after a long and rough passage, found the earth rocking like the sea off Cape Horn instead of the terra firma he felt he had a right to set foot on!—no revolutions nor rebellions, nor landlord butcheries, nor beggary;—scarcely a bushranger now to be found for love or money. There is no frost or snow worth mentioning, and the land, therefore, being never shut up, the demand for labour is nearly equal all the year round.

Sooner or later, it may be predicted, there will be a great influx into these peaceful colonies of persons having a predilection for a quiet life;—not merely from Great Britain, but from those continental nations where political commotions continually disturb the social state, and endanger life and property. The pastoral regions of Australia must have charms for the lovers of tranquillity of whatever nation; and indeed the immigration of foreigners has already commenced pretty actively, more especially in the colony of South Australia. The increased culture of the vine, and the augmenting importance of wine-facture in this country, have already brought out considerable numbers of settlers from Germany and France.

In a large majority of the points admitted as requisite


  ― 106 ―
to invite and sustain a population redundant elsewhere, Australia in general appears to be equal, if not superior, to any other country. If Europe be a vast crush-room, Australia is a splendid saloon, well aired and lighted, and with elbow room for millions! She is literally, as Dr. Lang quotes, “a land of wheat and barley and vines and fig-trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey, a land where thou shalt eat bread without scarceness. Thou shalt not lack anything in it.”note

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