EMIGRATION AND ITS FRAUDULENT DETRACTOR.
'THERE appear to be hopes, in spite of our mistrust, that Govern- ment is really about to do something notable in the way of Emigra- tion ; for the most servile to its party of the Whig journals, the Globe, is in alarm, and does its best to decry the project. We pass over the unseemly flippancy of its manner, and all the smaller ques- tions which it raises ; for with the intelligent reader the questions will answer themselves, and the flippancy carries its own shame with it. It will be best to confine the consideration to the main positions taken up by this forward assailant of Emigration and "the Wakefield principle." They are—that " the Wakefield school" by National Emigration mean a scheme which involves Government- loans of money ; that money spent in colonization never can be repaid ; and that it is not emigration, but free trade in agricul- tural produce, which is the specific remedy for the existing dis- tress. If we have misconstrued the terms of the original, the reader can correct us, for it will be found in a previous page ; an advantage which was not afforded to the readers of the paper in which it appeared, since the original terms of what it attacked were not given with the hostile commentary. It is represented to be an essential to the Wakefield system, that money should be lent to Government, in order that Govern- ment may take part, as a principal, in colonizing speculations. Had the Globe reprinted the original paper from which it professes to copy this statement, it could hardly have uttered so barefaced a misrepresentation in the same number : it would at all events have found it impossible to make its readers believe that " public trea- sures " were to be ventured in the " speculations." The answer to this position is short—it is no part of the Wakefield system that one penny of public money should be expended in it. When "loans" are thus talked of, without citing the terms in which the particular loans are described, the writer either does not under- stand them and talks in ignorance, or he uses the word with the dishonest intention of making his readers believe that the loans in
question, like other Government-loans, are to be a burden upon the people ; that they are to be loans through the Government to the public, the interest to be provided out of the taxes, and the principal too if need be. "Loans," in that sense, mean "more taxes " ; the Colonizing loan has nothing whatever to do with the taxes. The only contribution towards it, whether from lender or payer, will be voluntary : the responsibility incurred must, abso- lutely and literally, in each individual case also be voluntary. It is asked why Government should interfere ? For two reasons— because Government is steward for the owner of the property to be mortgaged, and because no authority but that of Govern-
ment can lay down the terms for the loan. The real case is simply this—Great Britain possesses an immeasurable extent of land in her Colonies ; that land, by a progress so slow as to be a. lmost imperceptible, is undergoing the process of colonization ; if it be admitted that emigration would relieve the oppressed labour- market at home, it will be admitted that it is desirable to hasten that process : it is found on consideration and by practical experi- ence in every case, that the conveyance of people to the land in- creases the value of that land and the return which it makes to those who colonize it, in a direct ratio to the amount of the people placed upon it, and the steadiness, uniformity, and rapidity with which they are collected and spread upon its surface—Colonial history presents no exception to that rule. There are therefore the means latent in that land for its own settlement. Now theColonial lands, unproductive while desert, belong to the British people. Government is the steward for the people, and must transact any business relating to the disposal of the lands. Where colonies are to be formed, there is no lack of capital for the purpose ; but no body of capital- ists possesses the authority to walk upon the land without the con- currence of Government, or to fix the terms upon which it shall ad- vance its capital. It is the duty of the Government to exact the best terms for the nation ; and the best terms which it can realize in the case of the waste lands belonging to the people is, that their value shall be made available to as great a number of the people, and as quickly, as possible. If Government se- cures to capitalists ample rights in the land, and the certainty that the bargain once made will be maintained, capitalists are willing to give for the land, at once, the full value minus a fair discount for the period between the sinking of their capi- tal and the return. But in the case of Colonial lands, although the individual acres in large quantities cannot be brought into the market so soon as it is desirable, yet the success of past Colonial speculations has been so great, that capital is forthcoming to be in- vested in what may be called the purchase of an interest in the un- bought acres as soon as they are set down for actual settlement. This advance constitutes the proposed loan : it is a loan to the pur- chasers of the lands, who, under the Wakefield system, meet the first cost of emigration ; and both the lender and the purchaser are, in many instances, one and the same person. But inasmuch as the lender and the purchaser necessarily appear in the market at differ. ent times, a medium of communication is required ; and, for the reasons already stated, the Government constitutes the best medium. The Government, therefore, incurs no responsibility whatever, ex- cept for the honest fulfilment of the agency : it merely gives its guarantee that the bargain between the purchaser of land and the lender of the money upon it shall be adhered to; and as it has all the means of efiforcing the bargain, it can lie under no unsatisfied responsibility. This was to be gathered from. Mr. WAKEFIELD /I express limitation of the security for the proposed "loan " : Go- vernment was to be authorized by Parliament " to raise by loan on the security of each of those colonies separately, (and without any other guarantee from Parliament,) a certain sum," &c. It was only by a perversion of those words that the Globe could raise any question about " public treasures." The sole security of the waste lands would be all that the lenders could obtain : if they were not satisfied with that, there would be no loan. There would, we re- peat, be no responsibility whatever, except that imposed on the land itself, or on its future purchasers; whose responsibility would ipso facto be voluntarily incurred. In explaining the nature of the loan, we have answered the question, why Government should become a borrower—because it is for the public advantage. By saying that without a loan his system would not have a fair trial, Mr. WAKEFIELD evidently means that all its powers would not be brought forth : it might work well in many respects, but the rapid development of its latent resources would not be realized to the country.
It is roundly asserted, that the outlay in founding the most suc- cessful colonies never can be repaid : we have already shown, that the system under discussion contemplates no outlay so far as the public are concerned, and therefore the public are not concerned in the repayment as a mere matter of accounts. Under indifferent systems, indeed, there has been an outlay : there has been an out- lay, for instance, on account of New South Wales, whose wealth and prosperity are admitted by the caviller. Of course it will not be contended that the prosperity would have been less had a good system of colonization been pursued, instead of a bad system, or rather of no system at all. But even with the bad system, has there been no return for the outlay ? The annual cost of New South Wales to this country has been about 300,0001. Against that has to be set the charge of gaol and police expenditure, inci- dental to the keeping of the immense number of felons, whose cus- tody and maintenance must be provided for, whether there or at home. But besides that, the colony supports a large section of our population, takes a great amount of our manufactures, and produces a surplus for our wants. Reference to the statistics of the Colo- nies will show, that the total expenditure of this country on all of them, including the cost of mere naval stations and much outlay for patronage and mismanagement, is replaced with usury by the vast export and import trade—by the profitable employment of im-
mense amounts of British capital and industry. The mistake of the Whig journal arises from its separating the Government from
the country : the Government, it thinks, pays the outlay, while others reap the profit : but the fact is, that the country pays, and the country profits, in the way that we have seen. It is within the power of National Emigration to increase the profit indefinitely :
the Wakefield system shows how it may be done without any outlay whatsoever.* " The specific and principal evil of our present condition," says the journalist, mindful of the Whig Budget, " is the want of a steady supply of all agricultural produce in return for our staple products ; the specific remedy is opening our ports to that steady supply." This hint, that the Anti-Corn-law agitation must mono- polize the public attention, is more distinctly, but also more ably and discreetly, put by the Morning Chronicle. To say nothing of the arrogance of dictating one single subject of public discussion because it is convenient to a party, let us look at the expediency of it. Let us suppose the Corn-law repealed, and all the results which are anticipated from the measure realized. If realized, the first effects would be, to give an impulse to speculation in trade, to draw additional masses of capital to manufactures, and by raising wages to supply a present relief to workmen. But we have already manufacturing-power enough to supply the world. A period of renewed activity, under existing circumstances as to population, must produce a new glut and a new reaction,—with this differ- ence, that there would be more capital competing in the market to crush the small capitalist, more machinery to supersede manual employment, and more people to be thrown out of employment in the manufacturing-districts ; with no prospect of a renewal of re- lief from the impulse at the first opening of a new trade. When that new " crisis " comes, the only resort will be to emigration, as an outlet for the suffering people, under the pressure of distress to which the present will have been light. To the increase of
machinery with the stimulus of over-speculation, there is no limit : a comparatively trifling outlay may create powers that will supply
kingdoms. From that unhealthy increase, which is illustrated
in sufficiently vivid characters by the Population-tables, it would be a positive advantage to withdraw the stimulus ; and emigra-
tion would de so. Withdrawing people would directly raise wages, not by stimulating speculation, but by enhancing the value of labour. By the same process it would extend the field of con- sumption abroad ; and would thus supply at once a safe stimulus and a healthy check to trading speculation. The positive and instant relief to the most immediate sufferers—unemployed labour- ers—need not be insisted upon ; and many agricultural labourers must necessarily be thrown out of employment, for a time, on the change following any repeal of the Corn-law. Emigration, in fact, is a necessary auxiliary to Corn-law Repeal : it is needed to save the projectors of the Repeal from the disgrace of disaster arising from their nostrum —Corn-law Repeal and nothing else.
While the Wakefield principle was more controverted than it is at present, the Globe maintained a more prudent reserve : now that there is some talk of its being really applied to practice by a Tory Government, the Whig journalist discovers that he cannot abide it. Still, our candid contemporary is not averse from emigration on " sound principles." What, then, are they ? Do they consist in emigration to Canada in order to reeinigration into a foreign country, the United States ; a process which our modest
censor, looking through the spectacles of Professor MERIVALE, sees much reason to admire ? That, says the Globe, quoting Professor MERIVALE, gets rid of " a great number ofpersons who would be really useless to our Colonies in the outset." Whati! while they uniformly complain of the want of labour ? A sound system of
emigration would endeavour to make our citizens useful in our own Colonies. But the sound emigration of the new Colonial teacher is to turn our most important colony into a filter for the United States, and to convert our own citizens into aliens ! Does the Globe mean any thing, except that it hates emigration because the Tories have touched it ?
* Perhaps the public have not generally any adequate conception of the rapidity and extent to which colonization could be earned out under a system that should give fair scope to the existing elements. Let a few facts indicate the sort of progress which could he made. The three elements of colonization are land, people, and capital. The lands of the British Colonies, for all pray- tica; purposes, are boundless. Our population increases at the rate of nearly half a million a year : it has proceeded at that rate since 1835: but the present time displays a diminished field of employment. The gross increase of the population since 1835, therefore, may be regarded as disposable for emigra- tion. Again, in Ireland alone there is perennial destitution to the amount of 2,300,000 souls. As to capital, the extent of investments in this country suffices to attest its superabundance : but though it cannot be supposed in the aggregate to have decreased, it also finds a diminished field of employment. Twenty or thirty per cent of the factories in once busy Stockport is still twenty-five per cent of the mechanical power of the iron-trade in Scotland and Wales is arrested; and corresponding masses of capital are disposable for other purposes than iron and cotton manufactures. Every attempt to turn capital to colonizing uses shows its abundance in another way, and shows too the ease with which the three elements of colonization may be brought together. Under an imperfect system and with very cramped powers, the founders of South Australia have been enabled, in four years, to convert it into a home for 12,000 or 14,000 souls. In one year, a private company prepared Port Nicholson to receive 6,000 souls. As an instance of the rapid growth of Colonial produce, the staple of Australia, its wool-stock, increases at the rate of eighty per cent per annum. With Imperial powers and a well-adjusted system, this country might, in a course of years so short as to astound the world, double the extent of its settled Colonial territories, and thus double the trade with its Colonies.