AN ACCOUNT OF MR. WARD'S COLONIAL LAND INQUIRY.
HAVING more spam than usual at our disposal this week, we devote a considerable portion of it to a subject very interesting to many of the oldest readers of the Spectator, in preference to filling our columns with the vapid paragraphs and worn-out topics of the newspapers. The Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of the Irish Poor recommended Emigration as a necessary part of any plan for ef- fectually diminishing pauperism in Irelai.d. The fact, which they ascertained and affirmed, that for thirty-two weeks in the year, 2,300,000 persons in Ireland are in a condition bordering upon absolute starvation, was sufficient of itself to prove that the ordi- nary method of relieving the distressed by a rate on property, would, if adopted in Ireland to the requisite extent, amount to a confiscation of rents. But, with the aid of emigitvion, the opera- tion of an English Puor-law might become practicable in Ireland. And, about the commencement of' last session, a number of bene- volent individuals, including Members of Parliament, landowners, bankers, and political economists, held meetings for the purpose of considering in what manner the emigration, on a large scale, might be best. effected. It was at first proposed that an ample Emigration Fund should be raised by a company of private indi- viduals. After some discussion, it was thought advisable, in the first place at least, to call upon the Government to perform its mopes office. As a basis, it was necessary to have a Parliament- ary investigation into the mode of disposing of waste lands in the Colonies; and Mr. WARD, as a Member excellently qualified, by intelligence, industry, and the interest he took in Irish subjects, was requested to state the ease in the House of Commons. Ap- plication was then made to Lord MELBOURNE for the assent of Government to the appointment of a Committee: and this was granted, as far as related to the Australian Colonies, the Cape of Good Hope, and the West Indies; but, by a trick of the Colonial Office, already exposed in this journal, Canada, which offered the most extensive illustration of the system of jobbing in public lands, and its evil consequences, was excluded from the inquiry.
The Commitee was appointed on the Sth of June, and consisted of the following Members,—Mr. WARD, Chairman, Sir GEORGE GREY, Mr. O'CONNELL, Mr. CHILDERS, Mr. HUTT, Mr. POULETT SCROPE, Mr. PUSEY, Mr. FRANCIS BARING (Thetford), Mr.WIL- LIAM GLADSTONE, the O'CONNOR DON, Mr. MONTAGUE CHAP- MAN, Mr. ROEBUCK, Mr. CHALMERS, Mr. SCOTT, Mr. BANNER- MAN : Mr. HENRY BULWER was afterwards substituted for Mr. BANNERMAN. The Committee soon found, that the subject which theyihad undertaken to investigate branched out into several im- portant divisions. They did not confine themselves to a dry inquiry into the disposal of waste lands, but went into a thorough examination of the principles on whicji colonization should be conducted. Thus, although every pa* of their Report, and of the evidence on which it rests, has a direct reference to the means of providing subsistence for the Irish poor, yet it is not confined to that point, but applies to colonization from every to any part of the British empire. The system which is good for the purpose of colonizing Australia with Irish labourers, is applicable to sup- plying Trinidad with free Negroes from the United States. It also became manifest, that not only would the Mother Country be relieved, and the emigrants benefited, but that the prosperity of the Colonies would be incalculably increased by the persevering execution of the system of colonization laid before the Committee. As one of the witnesses observed, looking at the subject from "a Colonial position," it appeared to involve the most important inte- rests. The only safe means of extinguishing slavery in the United States, and of providing free labour for the cultivation of estates in the West Indies, are also to be found in the judicious use of waste lands.
After sitting for considerably more than a month, and diligently scrutinizing the subject in all its bearings, the Committee passed resolutions affirming the following facts and propositions.
1. That the revenue derived from the sale of lands in the United States now amounts to twenty millions of dollars per annum, (upwards of 4,000,0001. sterling); that the sales of lands are managed by a General Land Board at Washington, assisted by Local Land Boards ; that the minimum price is fixed by Congress ; and that purchasers have the security of an Act of the Legislature for the performance of the con- ditions, and the permanence of the system under which they acquire their land.
2. That up to the year 1831, no regular system of sale was adopted in the British Colonies ; but that the conditions were fluctuating and various, injurious to the colonists, and of little service to the state.
3. That the principle introduced by Lord RIPON in 1831, of selling land by auction, at a minimum upset price, should be brought into more extended operation, under a system of superintendence similar to that in the United States, and affirmed by an act of the Legislature, in order to give it permanence and stability. That the sale of land should be placed under the management of a Central Land Board, resident in London ; responsible to Government or to Parliament, acting through Local Boards in the Colonies, and instructed to direct the stream rfemigration from the Mother Country to the Colonies so as to proportion in each the supply of labour to the demand.
4. That the net proceeds of land sales in Colonies not unfavourable to the European frame, be employed as an Emigration Fund ; each Colony being furnished with labour in direct proportion to the amount of its own land sales.
5. That the emigrants be young couples recently married. 6. That it is practicable to raise an Emigration Fund on the security of future land sales.
7. That the recommendations of the Committee are calculated to be- nefit the Colonies as well as the Mother Country; that in matters
relating to emigration the interests of the two are inseparably con- nected ; that the transfer of labour from the Mother Country, where it is superabundant, to the Colonies, where it is scarce, cannot fail to en- hance incalculably the prosperity of the United empire.
We now come to a review of the Evidence on which the Com- mittee founded their resolutions.
1. The first witness was Mr. WOLRYCHE WHITMORE, the late Member for Wolverhampton. Mr. WHITMORE enforced the neces- sity of finding the means of subsistence for the growing popula- tion of Ireland, and the " uneasy class " in England, by enlarging the field of employment for capital and labour; which could only be effected by extensive colonization. As a field for colonization, he much preferred Australia to Canada. The geographical posi- tion, the political state, and the climate of Canada, all rendered it less
desirable for emigrants, than Australia. It was easy to see, that
at no very distant period the Canadas would be separated from England. They have already that feverish, uneasy feeling, which
precedes separation. The trade of 4tigland, too, with Canada, was an unnatural one, unable to stand on its own legs, but kept up by props and shores ; and as an extension of trade is the main benefit likely to be derived ultimately by the Mother Country
from colonization, it was highly important to select a country whose connexion with England is likely tobe long-lasting ; whose products would find their natural market in the Mother Country ; and whose inhabitants, after the dominion of the Mother Country had ceased, would continue to give a preference to the manufactures of England. The first cost of conveying emigrants to Canada was less than to Australia; but this solitary advantage was counter- balanced by the inducements, already indicated, which the latter
country offered. With regard to the system of disposing of land,
Mr. WHITMORE considered it highly desirable that such a price should be put upon land as would prevent labourers from becoming landowners too soon. He believed it to be generally a misfortune, where a free labourer is sent out to a new country and imme- diately becomes a proprietor of land. Every attempt to secure la-
bourers, by taking them out under bonds to serve individuals for a certain time, had failed. To raise sugar, cotton, or wool to ad- vantage, combined labour was necessary ; and this you could not
obtain in a country vibe: e land is plentiful, if you also sold it at a nominal price, or granted it for nothing. Mr. WHITMORE men- tioned, that he had been Chairman of the South Australian Asso- ciation. and had taken elm ee of the bill by which the South Australian province was established. The principle of that bill
was, the sale of land with the view to apply its entire proceeds to the purpose of supplying the colony with free hired labour. He wished to see this principle generally adopted in all our colonies, where there was waste land to be procured.
2. Sir GEORGE GREY, a member of the Committee, put in some papers relating to grants and sales of land in the Colonies. They were meagre and unsatisfactory.
3. Mr. GEORGE STEVENSON, Private Secretary of the Governor of the new province of South Australia, and Clerk to the Legisla- tive Council, having lived some years in America, gave the Com- mittee information, much of it drawn from official documents, respecting the mode of disposing of waste lands in the United States, and the revenue derived from that source.
4. Mr. RICHARD DAVIS HANSON, who had studied the subject long and closely, with a view, originally, to settlement in Canada, detailed a vast number of facts connected with the system of dis- posing of British Colonial waste lands, from the earliest times. He stated the causes of the failure of numerous attempts to colonize North America, arising from the unlimited facility of procuring land, and the consequent impossibility of retaining hired la- bourers, or preventing them from being scattered at great dis- tances from each other. The introduction of slaves into the American Colonies, whereby they obtained combined labour, was the commencement of their prosperity. As a specimen of the profusion in which land was granted in the Colonies even as late as 1796, when the fashion of granting whole provinces had been discontinued, Mr. HANSON mentioned, that it was in that year decreed by Royal instructions, that any person might apply for 1200 acres for himself and thirty-nine associates; and the prac- tice was, that the person obtaining the grant was recompensed by receiving 1000 acres from each of his associates, so that lie got 40,000 acres, and the others only 200 a piece. In this way, 2,500,000 acres were granted in one province alone. In New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, the grants of land to individuals have been enormous. Sir THOMAS BRISBANE has had 20,000 acres, Mr. HART DAVIS 15,000. In the years 1826, 1828, 1829, 1830, and 1831, the grants of land amounted to 3,897,000 acres. For the intervening year there are no returns. One clergyman had 13,000 acres, and another 10,000 acres, because they were clergymen ! 5. The next witness was Mr. EDWARD GIBBON WAKEFIELD, known to many, though not formally announced, as the discoverer of the now theory—in fact the only system—of colonization, and author of England and America, in which the principles of that system are laid down and explained with remarkable clearness and eloquence. To attempt any thing like an abstract or analysis of Mr. WAKEFIELD'S evidence, is out of the question. It was England and America dramatized and animated. The members of the Committee appreciated the powerful intellect they had to grapple with, and pressed upon him from all sides, every question eliciting some striking and useful observation to illustrate the sub- ject:of inquiry. It was then amusing to observe something like rivalry between the Committee and the witness, who was known to be the author and originator as well as expounder of the plan, and who in replying to questions had sometimes to attack or over- throw the theories of his interrogators. Although considerable pertinacity was displayed in endeavouring to obtain replies which the witness would not and with propriety could not give, and though to any other person the mode of examination now and then would have looked like badgering, yet he never for a moment lost his command of temper; and at the conclusion of his evi- dence there was but one feeling of admiration in the Committee. Although we cannot give any regular account of Mr. WAKE- FIELD'S evidence, some extracts from it may be selected. As the most recent illustration of the evils resulting from ignorance of the true method of colonization, Mr. WAKEFIELD gave the following description of the occurrences at Swan River, where Mr. PEEL, a cousin of Sir ROBERT, then Home Secretary, obtained a grant of 500,000 acres of land.
" It was quite impossible for Mr. Peel to cultivate 500,000 acres, or a hun- dredth part of the grant ; but others were of course necessitated to go beyond his grant in order to take their land. So that the first operation in that colony was to create a desert ; to mark out a large tract of land and to say, ' this is a desert ; no man shall come here—no man shall cultivate this land.' So far dispersion was produced ; because upon the terms on which Mr. Peel obtained his land, land was given to the others. The Governor took another 100,000 acres, another person took 80,000 acres ; and the dispersion was so great, that at last the settlers did not know where they were ; that is, each settler knew that he was where he was, but be could not tell where any one else was ; and therefore he did not know his own position. That was why some people died of hunger ; for though there was an ample supply of food at the Governor's house, the settlers did not know where the Governor was, and the Governor did not know where the settlers were. Then, besides the evils resulting from disper-
sion, there occurred what I consider almost a greater one ; which is, the sepa-
ration of the people, and the want of combinable labour. The labourers, on finding out that land could be obtained with the greatest facility, the labourers taken out under contracts—under engagements which assured them em of
very high wages if they would labour during a certain time for wages, imme- diately laughed at their masters. Mr. Peel carried out altogether about three hundred persons, men, women, and children. Of those three hundred persons,
about sixty were able labouring men. In six months after his arrrwal, he had nobody even to make his bed for him, or to fetch him water from the river. Ile was obliged to make his own bed and to fetch water for himself, and to light his own fire. All the labourers had left him. The capital, therefore, which he took out, viz. implements of husbandry, seeds, and stock, especially stock, im- mediately perished ; without shepherds to take care of the sheep, the sheep wandered and were lost, eaten by the native dogs, killed by the natives and by some of the other colonists, very likely by his own workmen ; but they were destroyed : his seeds pet ished-on the beach, his houses were of no use—his wooden houses were there in frame, in pieces, but could not be put together, and were therefore quite useless, and rotted on the beach. This was the case with the capitaliats generally. The labourers, obtaining land very readily, and running about to fix upon locations for themselves, and to establish themselves independently, very soon separated themselves into isolated families—into what may be termed cottiere, with a very large extent of land, something like the Irish cotfiers, but having instead of a very small piece of land, a large extent of land. Every one was separated, and very soon fell into the greatest distress. Falling into the greatest distress, they returned to their masters, and insisted upon the fulfilment of the agreements upon which they had gone out; but when Mr. Peel said, ' All my capital is gone—you have ruined me by deserting me, by breaking your engagements—and you now insist upon my observing the engagements when you yourselves have deprived nie of the means of doing so,' they wanted to hasty him; and lie ran away to a distance, where he accreted himself for a time till they were cattier] off to Van Diemen's Land, where they obtained food, and where, by the way, land was not obtainable by any means with so great facility as at the swan River."
It was stated by Mr. WAKEFIELD, that he had at one time reckoned up as many as two hundred different modes of disposing of waste land, in different countries; but none of them could well be worse than that practised in this country as late as the date of the Swan River grant to PEres cousin. The result of that expe- riment proves, that Government should exercise two of the powers with which it is vested—to quote Mr. WAKEFIELD'S expression, " it must both give, and prevent people from taking." The latter power is virtually abdicated n lien 500,000 acres are granted to one individual, without restrictions on his privilege of disposing of them.
With regard to the system on which Emigration should be con- ducted, Mr. WAKEFIELD was of opinion that each colony should receive a supply of emigrant labour exactly in proportion to the proceeds of its own land sales. The emigrants should be young couples recently married ; for in this manner would the Mother Country be relieved of its surplus population, and the Colonies supplied with labour, by the smallest number of removals. He bud made a calculation, that if the persons transported to New South Wales had been young persons just arrived at maturity, instead of being many of them aged and the women past child- bearing, the population of that colony would have now been 500,000, instead of 50,000. By selecting young couples, the pressure on the labour-market at home would be removed at the least ex- pense; and the evils which have been experienced in the Colonies from the disproportion of the sexes—the excess of males over females—would be avoided. In a colony peopled on this plan, and with every facility of subsistence, there would be no class of single persons, such as in England leads to all sorts of immorality. The management of the emigration should be confided to a spe- cial, responsible authority, in order to prevent the losses of life by unseaworthy ships, and other accidents ; and also to proportion the supply of labour to the _demand in the country to which the emi- grants are sent,—a most important matter, to which generally no attention whatever is paid ; it being considered sufficient that, in one way or another, the poor emigrants will be " absorbed," in Sir WILMOT HORTON'S phrase, into the population of the colony. The members of the Board of Management should he paid; it should not be a " dilettanti" Board, like the Board of Emigration established in 1831, of which the Duke of RICHMOND was the head, and whose members attended as long as the duties had any novelty, and then dropped off, one by one, till there was no Board left.
We mentioned above, that the papers put in by Sir GEORGE GREY were meagre and unsatisfactory ; and such is the general character of the information supplied by the gentlemen of the Colonial Office, to those who wish to know what they have been about. Mr. WAKEFIELD told the Committee, that he placed very little reliance on the returns of land sales furnished to the House of Commons. He is asked "Why ?" and he replies- " One has been put in, which is a return of Crown lands in Canada, and is dated the 23d of March 1835, signed R. W. Hay. It was moved for by Mr. Hutt. The information required under this return was of six different kinds. First, the quantity of land in each lot : the answer in the return is the number of aces per annum. The second question related to the situation of the land granted, where situated : to that question there is no answer at all. The third question related to the conditions of sale: those are stated, but in the most gene- ral terms, without at all distinguishing precisely the different conditions required as to each lot granted. The fourth question was, as to the price per acre, in the case of each sale : this is not given in any one instance, but instead thereof, the annual averages arc given, and all the averages so given are incorrect. • • * The fifth question prescribed is the money received in payment for land : in- stead of the return required, there is an account of the purchase-money re- ceived within the first year from each sale on instalment, and the quit-rent of five per cent. paid on sales made on that condition for the first year only : con- sequently the return is something quite different from what was required. The
sixth and last question related to the application of the monies. Instead of the proper return, namely, the account of the Commissioners of Crown Lands re- ceipts and disbutsements, which is not given at all, there is a statement of the application by the Receiver-General of certain monies received by him from the Commissioner of Crown Lands. In this statement, such as it is, the receipts are given in currency, and the payments in sterling—in different monies. The return for Upper Canada in the same paper does nut furnish the information re- quited. A great deal of the information that is furnished is incorrect upon the
face of it : fur example, in the recapitulation of the account of the Receiver. General, the balances are added to the receipts every year ; so that he appears to have had 11,949/. 7s. more than he has paid, instead of having 2,895/. 17s. less, as is probably the fact ; but I say probably, because any conclusion drawn from these returns is the result of mere guess-work." Lord GLENELG ought to be sensible of the evils resulting from profuse grants of land ; for, in a circular to the Governors of the West India Islands, dated so late as January last, and read by Mr. WAKEFIELD to the Committee, be thus expresses himself- " It would appear that a country is then in its most prosperous state, when there is as much labour in the market as can be profitably employed. In new
countries, where the whole unoccupied territory belongs to the Crown, and settlers are continually flowing in, it is possible, by fixing the price of fresh
land so high as to place it above the reach of the poorest class of settlers, to keep the labour-market in its most prosperous state, from the &pinning. This precaution, by insuring a supply of labourers, at the same time it increases the value of the land, makes it more profitable to cultivate old land well, than to purchase new. The natural tendency of the population to spread over the surface of the countty, each man settling where he may, or roving from place to place in pursuit of virgin 64.6 thus impeded. The territory, expanding only with the pressure of population, is commensurate with the actual wants of
the entire community Society being thus kept together, is more open to
influences—more directly under the control of the Government—mt ra full of the activity which is inspired by common wants soil the strength w'lichr is derived from the division of labour ; and altogether is in a sounder state, morally, politically, and econotnicaily, than if left to pursue its natural course."
Does Lord GLENELG understand what is here written in his name ? It is scarcely credible that any person in the Colonial Office could have been his prompter. • Mr. Ronnuex was anxious to make out, that the Colonial Legislatures, not a Board in London, should have the management of the sales of waste land; and he asked the witness, among many other questions having the same tendency, whether the Colonial Legislatures would not have a stronger interest in the general suc- cess of the colony, than persons residing in the Metropolis ? Mr. WAKEFIELD replies- " I really think not. I cannot imagine in any colony so strong an interest in the good management or colonization, as the existing interest of this coun- try looking at the state of Ireland. In a ts,lony where landis plentiful, whe- ther in excess or not, after the colony is once established, positive starvation hardly ever occurs ; but Parliament has evidence, upon the best authority, that there arc 2,300,000 people in b eland in a state of starvation during thirty .two weeks of the year, dying of hunger, preserved only by begging, and living tither upon nothing but potatoes, or upon weeds. Here appears to me to be an interest which is beyond any colonial interest that can be imagined." " Are not men more governed by that whic't they conceive to be their own interest, namely their own immediate private interest, than by any interest to be derived bum the general good ; and is it not more likely that a small body of colonists, who would get large increased profits from a good system of colo- nization, would be inte e Ready to look keenly to the way in which land was dis- posed of, than the but half-interested larger number of persons residing in the mother country ?"—" I think not. I know that the Legislature of this country represents but a portion of the people, that I cannot speak of it as representing the whole of the peo:•!e ; but even within the Legislature I find the greatest possible personal inters t in a good system of colonization. I find Ireland in such a state that there is a fair prospect of the whole rent being eaten tip by a mass of paupers ; I find s very strong demand, and a growing demand, for the exten- sion of the English Poor•law to Ireland ; and there is ample evidence before Parliament, that if the English Poor-law should be extended to 'Ireland, most of the landlords of behind would be ruined. The landlords of Ireland, as well residents as absentees, have a very peat influence in the Legislature of Britain ; I find therefore in the Metropolitan Legislature the strongest possible personal interest in a good system of colonization."
The argument n ith Mr. ROEBUCK continues for several pages; and in the course of it, the following reason for preferring the Metropolitan to a Colonial administration occurs.
" This appears to inc to be one of those cases which require a central au- thority. The end is the advantage of the whole empire ; two of the most im- portant means are uniformity in the practice and very great care in the distri- bution of the labourers amongst the several colonies, so that the supply should never be more nor less than the demand. None but a central authority would be able to conduct the operation."
The necessity of a law to regulate the principle on which watse lands shall be disposed of, is illustrated by the recent attempt of the Colonial Office to lay hold of the land fund of the South Australian province for their own purposes, which was mentioned in the Spectator last week. The extreme uncertainty which pre- vails under the present systern, can also be remedied only by an Actof Parliament. Mr. WAKEFIELD says, in answer to a question by the Chairman- " The same authority which established the plan in New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, may overturn it to.motrow ; or some other authority may do so. Lord Ripon established the plan of selling there. Imperfectly as it is established, it was a plan contrary to that established by his predecessurs. It might have been a very bad plan. I happen to think it a very good one ; but it might have been a very bad one. Whether it hail been good or bail, Lord Ripon alone had the power of establishing it. Since then, Lord Stanley has had the same power ; Mr. Spring Rice has had the same power ; Lord Aber- deen has had the same power; Lord Glenelg lias had the same power ; and in the course of five years more, five other persons may have the power of over- turning, by a stroke of their pen, the regulations (laws they are not fit to be called) made by their predecessors. The extreme uncertainty, therefore, of the system, the want of any thing like a character of permanence, appears to me to render it extremely defective."
The only method of making Negroes useful as hired servants, is pointed out, in reply to a question from Mr. GLADSTONE, Whether the nature of the climate and of the cultivation is not in some degree the cause of slavery, as well as the low price of land in certain colonies ?
" There can be no doubt that climate has a very considerable influence ; but I doubt whether it be a necessary one. hitherto slaves have been obtainable when free labour has not. The attempt to raise such commodities as sugar, cotton, and rice, within the tropics, by means of free labour, Coloured labour I mean, has never yet been made. It is very well to assume ;hat none but slaves will raise sugar and cotton, because none but slaves have hitherto done so; but it appears to me, that if the Blacks, to whom the climate is suitable, were pre- vented from obtaining land, whether in the rutted States or in our own West Indies, they would wutk like workmen here for wages ; they would work in combination ; and the very circumstance of their being free would induce the capitalist, instead of trusting all to the sweat of the labourer, to trust more to his own invention, to improvements of cultivation, and machinery. I do be- iieve,—I speak only of my humble opinion,—that the cultivation of sugar may proceed in the West Indies as well with free labour as ever it has done, and
perhaps better." " • • • "I would suppose a case, to explain myself, of the abolition of slavery by
the United States at this time. 1 say that the consequence of that would be, unless a more restrictive price were put on waste land, that the slaves who had been set free would no longer work for a master ; every one would work for himself and by himself. It, on the contrary, a sufficient price were put upon
all waste land in the United States, it appears to um that the United States, by sating free their slaves, would (arrant, instead o. a to dy of soaves, a body:of free men, who would work in combination, and raise the same productions as the ear es had dune. I am now speaking without any n fereuce to the cteation of white labourers in that country."
" Do you think that the arnica: ohm of a sufliiient price by Congress would time any operation upon the state of alavery in A menu' ?"—" 3Iy own opinion
is, but I am hardly willing to state it without a longer explanation than the Com- mittee can affonl to toe, that the United "■tptest possess the means of abolishing slavery without injury to any ore ; and that those means r side in the price of wasteland."
In the above extracts, only a few of the points discussed be- tween Mr. WAKEFIELP ai d the Comn i• tee have been touched upon. We have, however, given e lough tt eseite the curiosity of our readers to peruse the whole of tin evidence of Mr. WAKE- FIELD.* 6. Colonel TORRENSS examination surcee led. The Colonel, who is the Chief Commissioner for exectiling the South Australian Act, gave an interesting account of the procesdi ass of the Com- missioners in carrying the Act into execution. He mentioned that considerable quantities of land in the new colony had been sold at 1/. an acre ; but as it was necessary to sell to the amount of 35,000/. before the Act could come into operation, and many emi- grants were very anxious to depart, the price was lowered to 12*. an acre, the purchasers at 1/. an acre being recompensed by an additional quantity of land. The purchasers at this price, how- ever, had in several instances resold at a large premium ; and orders had lately been sent out to the Local Government to raise the price to 2/. per acre. Colonel TOR;, ENS was strongly in favour of a Metropolitan Land Board ; and stated that this was also the opinion of the late Mr. Hu-KISSON, ss ho, when Colonial Secretary, had told Colonel TORRENS that he intended to establish a Colonial Land Board in London, and that the Duke of WELLINGTON ap- proved of the plan, pros ided it entailed no additional expense on the country. In replying to a question by Mr. HurT, whether Mr. MALTHUS and Mr. WI Lairer lIceirrost did not disapprove of the plan developed before the Committee, Colonel TORRENS took the opportunity of explaining how he had fi rmerly opposed, and had subsequently become a convert to the WAKEFIELD system himself- " This system of colonization, which has been developed to the Committee, was first opened to the public in a pamphlet that was published by the Colo. nization Society,' of which, I believe, the honourable Member for Hall was a member. The Colonization Society, in this pamphlet of theirs, probably used in an incautious manner the term 'concentration.' Tiny used the term in an unusual sense, without defining the new meaning which they attached to it ; and giving the ordinary and natural interpretation tothe phraseology in which their principles were then conveyed, Sir Robert Wilmot Ilarton, Mr. Malthus, Mr. James Mill, and also myself, uuderstood the plan to involve the necessity of cultivating inferior lands. Now nothing can be conceived more objection. able on principle than the disposal of waste lands in such a way as to force prematurely the cultivation of info for soils ; and Sir Robert Wilmot Horton, who was very much opposed to the Colonization Society, got Mr. Mill and Mr. Malthus, myself, and. 1 believe, some others, to write papers in opposition to the views of that Society as then understood. Mr. Malthus and myself did so, under the idea that the new system of colonization involved such a degree of congestion on particular spots, as would compel the application of labour and capital to inferior lands, and would therefore lower profits and wages, and cause an artificial creation of rent. In Mr. Malthus's paper, which Sir iobert Wil- mot Horton printed with the others, and circulated, I find the following words Any thing like a persevering attempt to concentrate round a single town, would soon lower wages and destroy the true principle of colonizatiou. In co- lonizing a large country, many- centres of concentration are necessary.; and vil- lages in various stages must he established, which must grow tip Into towns, and form new markets for produce. Many of those will naturally be fixed at a considerable distance from the metropolis, determined by futility of soil, vi- cinity to rivers, and other circumstances.' It is quite clear, therefore, that Mr Manlius understood the term concentration' as meaning concentration round a particular centre. In this same pamphlet there is also a little paper of my own, urging a similar objection to the plan of the Colonization Society. I do not know what were the opinions on the subject subsequently held by Mr. Mal- thus; but I very soon, in discussing the question with the gentlemen of the Colonization Society, found that they declined their terms or modified their prin- ciple so as to obviate the objection urged by Mr. Malthus and myself. As soon as I found the system so explained or modified as to permit population and capital freely to spread over the most fertile and best.situated lands, my objection was instantly removed, and my opposition ceased. I believe that Sir Robert Wilmot Horton still continued opposed to the system of the Coloniza- tion Society, but I became its derided advocate ; and the more I consider it, the more entirely I approve. I have a strong and a growing conviction that at no distant period the country will have to acknowledge a large debt of gra- titude to the author of this plan."
This last observation of Colonel TORRENS i, under the circum- stances, very handsome and generous.
7. Captain Noon, a settler in Van Diemen's Land, supplied the Committee with some useful facts respecting the mode of farming, and the care of flocks in that colony.
8. The evidence of the next witness, Mr. W. H. BURNLEY, of Trinidad, is most interesting and important. Mr. BURNLEY is a planter, and was a slave-owner. He has resided thirty years its the West Indies. He is evidently a man of high intelligence, much experience, and great practical shrewdness. Being in England in 1833 and 1834, he read England and America when it first ap peared, and was much struck by the new principle developed in that work, which tallied with his own experience among unsettled and uncultivated lands. W th the view of increasing his infor- mation on the subject, and to enab'e himself to form a correct opinion of the probable working of the Emancipation Act, in which he was deeply interested as a proprietor, he returned to the West Indies in 1839, and visited many of the islands, English, • This Ili. y may to at very small expense.. Thanks to Mr. Hama. the Report and Evidence consisting of 559 pages Maio, sad replete with most interestaig matter, may be purchased fur ar. 4d. • This pamphlet, a Web may be regarded es the first manifesto or the new system, and which preceded Lord Rlemeep:regeelatinsis by a year or more, was *rate% by fdr. Rama D. French, and Danish ; he a'sa passed over to the continent of South America, and travelled in Venezuela, Cumana, and the Caraceas ; he then went into the United States, making inquiries as to free and slave labour everywhere. Mr. BURNLEY is of opinion, that unless means are taken, by the adoption of Mr. WAKEFIELD'S plat), to secure a supply of free Negroes, the cultivation of sugar in the West India Colonies must be abandoned on the expiration of the Negro Apprenticeship in 1840 ; and that the Negroes will themselves be subject to great suffering. Combined labour is necessary to the manufacture of sugar ; capital will not be laid out in machinery for that manufacture, if the supply of labour be uncertain; and if the facility of acquiring land in Trinidad and several other colonies be as great in 1840 as it is now, there will be no possibility of obtaining a regular and permanent supply of free Negro labour. In Venezuela, which Lord STANLEY, in a deceptive speech to the House of Commons, instanced to prove that free Negroes will work for hire, Mr. BURNLEY stated, that only I 80 Negroes (instead of 75,000, which Lord STANLEY pretended), had really been emancipated between 1821 and 1830. He was convinced that if Mr. Waxs:etat.ris plan for regulating the sales of land shall be adopted in the West Indies, a supply of free Negroes, willing to work for hire, may be obtained from various countries. In case of ditliculty in procuring Negroes, he says that the inha- bitants of the Azores, the Canaries, and Malta, most of whom have African blood in their veins, would stand the West Indian climate very well : but there is no occasion to go so far- " There is a large free Negro population in all the slave colonies around us, as well as on the Spanish Main ; and, with a liberal Government in our Co!o- oies, with full and entire emancipation, and with equal political privileges ac- corded to all colours, there would be great attractions for all those classes of free labourers I have mentioned, who find themselves e present in a very gall- ing and unpleasant position in the countries in which they reside. But I should more particularly look to the United States of America for an abundant supply of free Negro labourers, who, in the uncomfortable state in which they find themselves placed at present in that country, would be very well disposed to emigrate if they were sure of finding their circumstances Unproved by their removal."
And there can be little doubt that the American slave-owners would gladly get rid of those objects of their dread—the free Blacks. The only chance of putting an end to the slave-trade, seems to be by adopting the WAKEFIELD system. The following passage from Mr. BURNLEY'S evidence will explain its operation in this respect- " Unless the power of combining labour, when apprenticeship ceases, be in- sured by some means or other, all the capital alicatly invested in expensive works and machinery, hitherto supported by the combined labour of slavery, will perish ; and my feeling is, that unless the system now under consideration is well established before 1840 in our West !mkt Colonies, the most mischievous consequences will arise. For if the first commencement of the experiment of free labour should prove disastrous, it will at once create such an unfavourable impression throughout the world, as no subsequent efforts will be able to coun- teract. I feel strongly that our only remaining hope and expectation of get- ting rill of the slave-trade rests upon the adoption of this principle. I think that if it had been earlier understood and incorporated in the Abolition Act, the West India planters would not have felt half the alai m which they experi- enced at the adoption of that measure, and it would have spoken a very different and more convincing language to all the present slave-holding States ; for there is not a man living in l'orto Rico, in Cuba, or the Clairol States, who does not believe that a ruinous crisis must arise in 1840 in our West India Colonies ; and I am nut surprised at this opinion, because they are better ac- quainted than ourselves with Venezuela and other tropical states where free labour prevails. At the present moment the slave-trade is rapidly increasing ; one of the independent States of South America has lately resumed it. I ant satisfied of the fact. There can be no difficulty in producing the proclama- tion, as it appeared last year in the London papers, in which it was declared, that seeing that agriculture had fallen entirely into decay for the want of !about ing hands, it was found necessary for its support to introduce slaves ; and that, viewing the slave-trade on the coast of Africa to be an abominable crime, they would buy only those who were already enslaved in South America. The consequence of this will be an increased import of slaves from Africa into the Brazils, and they will easily find their way over the Andes to the Pacific." • •
I understood whilst I was in the Havanuah, that a great many slaves were frequently sent from thence to Texas. They were carried there in American vessels, as passengers. I conversed with some American captains on the sub- ject, who were highly indignant at my supposing that it was contrary to the American navigation-laws. These slaves were landed in Texas, where some of
them were retained; but I believe the greater number passed on into Louisi- ana, where I understood gangs of slaves were then selling at the great price of 800 to 1000 dollars each Negro. Consequently I am satisfied that nothing can
ever put an end to the slave-trade, but a perfect conviction on the part of all ownets of slaves, that free labour can be made chewer than slave labour ; and certainly we roust adopt some new and improved system for the promotion of free labour in the tropics, before we can establi-h that tact. From every inquiry, and from every observation I have been able to make, the stopping the slave-trade by naval ffirce is totally impracticable. No man who has ever been in the Western hemisphere, and looks at the form and boundless extent of the wild coasts of those regions, can flatter himself that whilst purchasers are to be found in Ame-
rica, and sellers in Africa, the slave-trade can be prevented by any exhibi- tion of naval force : in fact, it is rather creating a maritime jealousy, as other powers are afraid that under that plea we may extend it to other purposes; it 19 exciting, I believe, an ill and an angry feeling."
Of Mr. BURNLEY'S evidence we may say, as of Mr. WAKE- FIELD'S, that any extracts give but a faint idea of its value. Every word of it should be read. 9. Mr. POULETT SCROPE, a member of the Committee, followed Mr. BURNLEY. Mr. SCROPE is a well-meaning and clever man,
and has bestowed much attention, and written not a little, on the
subject of Emigration, and on Colonization too. He was very pertinacious in his cross-examination of Mr. WAKEFIELD, and
seemed to be especially desirous (though it does not appear ex- actly for what purpose) of eliciting from him what in his opinion should be the precise price of waste land in the Australian colony.
Mr. W AKEFIELD'S uniform reply was, that " a sufficient price" should he set upon the land : he would not presume to say what
that ought to be—it would properly become the subject of expe- riment by responsible public officers, in each set of circumstances. Mr. SCROPE alone, of all the Committee, could not or would not see that this was a " sufficient " reason for refusing to give any more precise answer. Having failed in bringing forward his own case in the course of the examination of the witnesses, Mr. SCROPE volunteered his testimony to the Committee. He seriously warned the Committee not to adopt Mr. Watts:m.1.1;s plan ; but, when pressed for his own, replied as follows-
" I think the four great principles I have mentioned should be adopted.
Namely, first, the disposing of all /ands at not less than a minimum price se- cured by Act of Parliament, coupled with regulations for fringing the lands
most advantageously into the market,—such as the establishment of a general Waste Land Board authorized to survey and annually bring -u market not less than a definite quantity of land.
" Secondly, that the whole of the proceeds should be expended in the intro- du'tiou of immigrant labourers. " Thirdly, that a proper selection be made in this country, and means taken for collecting them at certain outports and regulating their efflux, as well as a proper distribution of them in the Colonies by means of agents employed there, and means, moreover, appointed to secure employment to any temporary surplus labourers that may appear there on public works, until they shall be absorbed by the demands of ordinary employers.
"Fourthly, 1 think those main principles of a permanent national scheme of colonization having been established by the Legislature, a commencement should without delay be made on a large scale, by the raising of a loan on the security of future land sales, for defraying the emigration of a considerable body of volunteer labourers from the British islands. I think the Govern- ment having into operation, determined upon those principles, should lose no time in car- rying them nto operation, and that they might beneficially advance funds for this purpose, even in the present year, in the shape of Exchequer Bills ; so as to commence a large immigration immediately into our colonial possessions in Australia and North America, and thus avoid the loss of a twelvemonth in the introduction of a system rendered so urgently necessary by the existing state of Ireland, in addition to its merits under ordinary and less painful cir- cumstances."
Why, this was the very plan—WAKEFIELD'S ,plan—which he condemned, and Mr. SCROPE can never succeed in passing it off for his own. Although he may not be aware of it himself, we can inform Mr. SCROPE that the Committee understood that he and WAKEFIELD were " rival doctors," and could not agree better than any other two of the same trade ; and that a little jealousy, by no means unnatural, of one who, though later in the field, has carried off' the victory, dictated much of his pertinacity in the Committee, that, on any other supposition, seemed objectless. It is gratifying to add, that Mr. SCROPE got over this feeling when the resolutions came to be discussed and adopted, and supported the WAKEFIELD plan on every division.
10. Mr. Liven STEWART KELSEY, a clerk in the Colonial Office, was brought forward by Sir GEORGE GREY—to expose, as it were, the nakedness of the land. Though cunningly and constantly prompted by Sir GEORGE, he failed in making out that the com- plaints against his employers were groundless, or that there was any thing approaching to uniformity in the existing mode of dis- posing of waste lands. 11. Sir GEORGE GREY stated some particulars respecting the emigration now going on to New South Wales—the numbers of the emigrants, the cost of transporting them, &c. It appeared that the excess of males in the colony is still very great, and pro- ductive of bad consequences.
12. Mr. WILLIAM BRYAN, a settler in Van Diemen's Land, furnished the Committee with some instances of what the witness considered abuse of power by Colonel ARTHUR, the Governor, and his subalterns; particularly as regarded the capricious grant- ing and withholding of land, and convict servants.
Here we close our outline of the Evidence. It remains to say a few words of the Members of the Committee.
With the exception of Sir GEORGE GREY, all who were able to attend deserve credit for their patient attention. Mr. WARD made an admirable chairman; and gave clear proof of having qualified himself for conducting the inquiry by mastering the subject of it. He exhibited much tact in keeping both witnesses and Committee from wandering too far from the object of their investigation. Mr. FRANCIS BARING and Mr. GLADSTONE de- serve credit for their ready comprehension of a large and difficult subject, evidently new to them; though both ought to have been ashamed of allowing their party politics to bias their voles when Colonial patronage came into question. The O'Cosstoe Dosr manifested the interest of an intelligent Irishman in an inquiry whose results must be so important to his country, by an anxious attention to the evidence. Mr. Rosiiircis was, as usual, inge- nious and acute. He almost seemed to enjoy the defeats he received in argument with his powerful and completely armed antagonist, Mr. WAKEFIELD. Mr. Hurr did not interfere much in the proceedings, but sufficiently to prove his deep interest and clear comprehension of the whole matter under discussion. No one who reads the Minutes of Evidence taken by this Com- mittee, will be surprised to learn that the Colonial Office Bumbu-
reaucracy objected to the inquiry. They had good reason to fear an investigation which brings to light some of the worst of their hitherto secret practices. The figure which Sir GEORGE GREY cuts in this Committee, will be the subject of future remarks. May they fall under the eye of Lord MELBOURNE !