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ST. VINCENT.

(No. 127.)

Sir,

I HAVE the honour to forward to your Excellency, in duplicate, authenticated copies of,— 1. "An Act to alter the Law of Contracts with regard to Immigrants, and for the encouragement of Immigration, and for the general Regulation of Immigrants."

2. "An Act for laying an additional Tax on produce to provide a Fund for Immigration purposes."

3. "An Act to appropriate a portion of the General Revenue for Immigration Purposes.' And, 4. An Act to authorise the raising of Loans of Money for Immigration Purposes, and to secure and provide for the repayment of such Loans."

These Acts are all accompanied by the Attorney General's report on them in duplicate.

It does not occur to me to add anything on the subject of these Acts to what I have stated in my Despatches Nos. 118 and 119 of the 9th instant.

His Excellency the Governor in Chief,

Barbados.

(No. 183.)

Government House, St. Vincent, 24 October 1857.

I have, &c. (signed) J. Walker.

Windward Islands, Barbados, 28 October 1857.

Sir,

I DELAYED replying officially to your Despatch of the 9th instant, (No. 118, Legislative,) until I should be in possession of a copy of the Act therein referred to, and which I received yesterday, duly authenticated.

2. Having already made you aware of the views which I entertain on the immigration question, you will not be surprised to learn, that I attach much greater importance than the Executive Council of St. Vincent appear to do, to the considerable diminution in the amount of the contribution to the Immigration Fund by the employers of labour, which is sanctioned by this Act.

3. The principle being recognised that the planters collectively should bear the expense of immigration, it appears to me that both sound policy and equity dictate that the greater portion of it should fall on the individuals who receive the direct benefit of the labour.

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4. As, however I purpose transmitting the Immigration Act without delay to the Secretary of State, it seems unnecessary to discuss it further. I shall simply contrast the provisions of the St. Vincent Act with those of the Colonies with whose legislation on the subject I am most familiar.

His Honor the Administrator,
&c.
&c.

&c.

(No. 184.)

5. In British Guiana, the established bounty is $ 50 (50 dollars), and that is considered a fair estimate for the passage money of the Indian immigrants, though it is, I should think, rather below the average rate. The employer pays the full amount on entering into contract, but two fifths are returnable in case the labourer should not be reindentured at the expiration of three years. Thus the employer pays 10 dollars per annum. In your message you estimate the bounty at 50 dollars, and you propose that the employer should pay five dollars per annum, or precisely one half what is paid in Guiana. In Grenada the employer pays half the bounty for a three years' contract, so that, assuming it to be 50 dollars, he pays 8 dollars per annum. The objection which I took to the Guiana Ordinance and the Grenada Act, and which is referred to in the last paragraph of your Message, was founded on the inadequacy of the contribution by the employer of 1 l. 9 s. 2 d. sterling per annum to the Immigration Fund. Under the St. Vincent Act the employer will pay even a smaller contribution towards the expense of the back passage.

6. I have considered it due to myself to place on record the objections which I entertain to the St. Vincent Immigration Act as finally passed, and having done so, I shall leave it to the Secretary of State to determine as to the degree of weight to be attached to them.

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Windward Islands, Barbados, 29 October 1857.

Sir,

I HAVE to acknowledge the receipt of your Despatch of the 9th instant, transmitting copy of your Message to the Legislature of St. Vincent on the subject of my objections to the Acts for raising money for immigration purposes, and your subsequent Despatch of the

27th instant, enclosing authenticated copies of the several amended Acts passed by the ST. VINCENT. Council and Assembly, and assented to by you, which I shall lose no time in transmitting to the Secretary of State.

2. I retain the opinion which I have already communicated to you, that arrowroot ought not to be subjected to an export tax for immigration purposes. I believe that the produce of the tax will be inconsiderable, and that it will, in all probability, cause irritation among the small cultivators, which it would be sound policy to avert. Čotton is only produced in the adjacent islands, and, on principle, I object to its being taxed. About six dollars per annum will be raised from the cultivators in Canowan and Union Island, who will not, I imagine, derive any benefit from immigration. Cocoa appears to be cultivated to a very limited extent in St. Vincent. The tax on this article will not amount to 30s. annually, taking the return in the Blue Book to be correct, which gives 118 cwt., whereas the statement in your Despatch only gives 528 lbs., the duty on which would be one-third.

3. I fully appreciate the spirit in which you have offered the remarks contained in the 7th paragraph of your Despatch, to which I shall briefly reply. I am willing to admit that shopkeepers and tradesmen, and perhaps other classes, will derive a benefit from the dealings of immigrants; but these are incidental advantages, for which I do not think that they should be taxed. I have not alleged that the labouring classes in St. Vincent are less represented in Parliament than the same classes in England, and I have expressed no opinion whatever as to an extension of the elective franchise in that Colony. I am therefore able to subscribe unreservedly to your own opinion, that "the exceptional condition of society which exists in these islands makes it the duty of the Government to watch over the interests of the humblest classes with even more vigilance than in other countries." Acting on that rule, I have felt it my duty to place on record my opinion that the proprietary body should not be permitted to impose taxes on the labouring classes to pay for the introduction of immigrant labour to compete with their own.

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(No. 3.)

COPY of a DESPATCH from Governor Hincks to the Right Honourable

H. Labouchere, M.P.

I have, &c. (signed)

No. 149, Ex.

I HAVE the honour to transmit to you the copy of a Despatch from Mr. Walker, 19 December 1857.

Sir,

(Answered, No. 1, 27 February 1858, page 140.)

His Excellency the Governor in Chief,

Barbados.

F. Hincks.

enclosing a copy of resolutions passed by the Council and Assembly of St. Vincent on the subject of immigration, and reporting the appointment of Mr. James H. Brown as an Agent for the purpose set forth in the resolutions.

Enclosure in No. 2.

Windward Islands, Barbados,
4 January 18 58.
(Received, 6 February 1858.)

St. Vincent, Government House,
19 December 1857.

Sir,
I TRANSMIT to your Excellency copies of several resolutions which were passed by the
Council and Assembly on the 15th instant, and I have the honour to acquaint you, that, by
the advice of the Executive Council, I have appointed Mr. James H. Brown to be the
Agent to proceed to Madeira, the Canaries, and the Cape de Verde Islands, for the purpose
set forth in the resolutions.

I have, &c. (signed)

F. Hincks.

I have, &c. (signed)

No. 2. Governor Hincks to the Right Hon. H. Labouchere,

Jas, Walker.

M. P.

4 January 1858.

Sub-Enclosure.

ST. VINCENT.

No. 3. Governor Hincks to the Right Hon. Lord Stanley, M.P. 7 May 1858.

Enclosure. 15 April 1858.

• Page 140.

Sub-Enclosure in Enclosure No. 2.

Resolved, THAT the present paucity of labour in the island is likely to endanger the successful reaping of the coming crop.

That before making any application to Her Majesty's Government for immigrants from the East Indies, it is desirable to ascertain what amount of labour is available in the islands adjacent to the coast of Africa.

That for this purpose an agent, to be appointed by the Administrator of the Government, be sent to Madeira, the Canaries, aud the Cape de Verds, and that the sum of 1507. be granted out of the Immigration Fund to defray the expenses of such Agent.

That exclusive of the said sum of 1507., the Agent shall receive as remuneration for his labour and trouble for each labourer engaged by him under contract, and landed in this island, 10s. for each effective labourer of the age of 14 years and upwards, and 5s. for each labourer from six years to 14 years, the same to be paid out of the Immigration Fund.

That a message be sent to Council requesting the concurrence of the Board in the foregoing resolutions, and that it will join in an application to his Excellency the Administrator of the Government for payment to the Agent of the aforesaid sum of 1507.

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(No. 22.)

COPY of a DESPATCH from Governor Hincks to the Right Honourable the Lord Stanley, M. P.

Windward Islands, Barbados,
7 May 1858.
(Received, 31 May 1858.)

My Lord,

(Answered, No. 2, 29 June 1858, p. 146.)

I HAVE the honour to transmit to your Lordship the copy of a Despatch from Lieutenant-Governor Eyre, reporting the views entertained in the Colony of St. Vincent regarding Mr. Secretary Labouchere's Despatch of the 25th* February, on the subject of emigration of captured Africans to the West Indies.

2. There can be no doubt that the sugar planters in St. Vincent, as in all the West Indian Colonies, with perhaps the single exception of Barbados, are most anxious to obtain a supply of labourers from other countries.

3. The only point in Mr. Eyre's Despatch on which I deem it necessary to offer any remark, is the proposed rate of wages. In Barbados the established rates are from 10 d. to 1 s. per day, which prevail concurrently with an abundant supply of labourers and very high prices of land, viz., from 75 l. to 100 l. per acre for plantations, including the buildings.

4. The proposed rate in St. Vincent is 8 d. a day, with house and provision grounds, and 10 d. to 1 s. without; but Mr. Eyre states, that he has been informed by certain leading planters, that if the immigrants would work on Saturdays, as well as on the other five days, they would be willing to pay them 1 s. per day, in addition to gratuitous medical attendance, house, and provision grounds.

5. I must record my opinion that this proposition affords additional evidence of the mistaken policy too generally pursued by the planters in these Colonies. I have on other occasions pointed out the inexpediency of mixing up the questions of rent and wages, and shall not trouble your Lordship with any further remarks on that head.

6. The estimated value of a house and ground in St. Vincent appears to be 2 d. to 4 d. per day, as labourers not living on the estate receive 10 d. to 1 s., while those in the enjoyment of a house and ground receive 8 d. Mr. Eyre states, that "a considerable number of influential proprietors and employers of labour" are willing to pay 1 s. a day, in addition to house and provision grounds and medical attendance to the immigrants, provided they agree to work on Saturdays.

7. I do

7. I do not think that such a condition should be imposed; but the offer ST. VINCENT. proves conclusively that the St. Vincent planters can afford to pay 1 s. 2 d. to 1 s. 4 d. per day for labour, and my belief is that if they fixed their wages at those rates, they would obtain a considerable supply of labourers on the spot, as well as from Barbados.

8. It is a remarkable fact that a considerable emigration is constantly taking place from Colonies, which are importing immigrants at great expense to the public, to other Colonies in their neighbourhood. The obvious cause is the difference in the rates of wages. There is as great a demand for labourers in Grenada as in St. Vincent, and yet a stream of emigration is constantly flowing from the former Island to Trinidad.

9. I cannot be surprised at the efforts made by the planters to keep down the rates of wages; but I am persuaded that unless they raise them to 1 s. 4 d. or 1 s. 6 d. a day in those Colonies where land is abundant and cheap, they will be unable to obtain an adequate supply of labour.

(No. 25.)

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Government House, St. Vincent,
15 April 1858.

Sir,

I HAVE laid before the Legislature of this Colony the Secretary of Sate's Despatch marked St. Vincent, No. 128, of the 25th February 1858, communicating the steps he had taken to promote the emigration of captured Africans and of bounty emigrants from Sierra Leone to the West Indies.

2. I transmit extracts of communications which I have received from the respective branches of the Legislature in reference to this subject. The remainder of such communications refer to the possible transportation of mutineers or insurgents from India to such Colonies as might be willing to receive them, and will be sent in a separate Despatch, as I have thought it desirable to keep the two questions entirely distinct.

3. As regards the introduction of liberated Africans, or of bounty emigrants, from Africa, both the Council and Assembly are unanimous in desiring that as large a number as possible should at once be introduced into St. Vincent, expressing their readiness to agree to adopt the 16th clause of the agreement entered into by the Emigration Commissioners for the passage of Africans, and generally to agree to any other conditions which Her Majesty's Government may think it right to impose. They state further, that funds are already provided for meeting the necessary expenditure, and that a recent Act has amply provided from the time of their arrival for the careful attendance to any immigrants who might be introduced into the Colony, and for the supply to them of adequate food, sufficient medical attendance, and prompt and remunerative employment. In all these particulars I am able fully to substantiate the statement of the legislative bodies.

4. With regard to the rate of wages to be held out to the intending emigrants, the Legislature appears to have thought it preferable that I should state the existing current wages than that it should itself go into the question. The present ordinary pay in St. Vincent of an able-bodied labourer, not provided with cottage or provision ground, varies from 10 d. to 1 s. per day for a day's work nominally of nine hours. But practically almost all work is done by task work, under which the labourer is enabled to execute in five or six hours that which if working by time would occupy the whole nine hours. As soon as the task is done, the labourer can either proceed to earn a further sum by doing a second task, or part of one, or he can employ himself in cultivating his own provision ground, or in any other way he may think fit.

Labourers who are provided with a cottage and provision ground on the estates where they work, receive about 8 d. per day, instead of 10 d. to 1 s.

In both cases women and children are paid proportionably to the able-bodied labourer according to their powers of working. In both cases also the labourer rarely works more than five days in the week, Saturday being usually taken for his own purposes, and of course not paid for by the master.

5. Since the Secretary of State's Despatch of the 25th February 1858 has become generally known, a considerable number of influential proprietors and employers of labourers have authorised me to state, that if the intending emigrants from Africa are willing to work (or do a task) on Saturdays, as well as on the other five week-days, they are willing to undertake to give them 1 s. a day for wages, and, in addition, to provide gratuitously medical attendance, house, and provision ground, it being understood that by a day's work

is

Encl. in No. 3.

Sub-Enclosure.

ST. VINCENT.

is meant either nine hours' work, or its equivalent in taskwork, according to the rates of taskwork at present adopted in the country, and under which, as I have already remarked, an able-bodied man may complete his day's work in five or six hours, according to his skill and industry.

If the immigrants do not like to undertake to work on a Saturday, they would receive the same scale of pay as at present given in the Colony, namely, from 10 d. to 1 s. per day, without house or provision ground, or 8 d. per day with house and provision ground, to which medical attendance would be added.

6. In conclusion, I would beg to point out as strongly as I can the great want of labour in St. Vincent, where so many fine estates and large tracts of available country are still lying waste, from the insufficiency of the labour in the Colony to cultivate them.

I would call attention to the strenuous efforts which have been made by the planters during the last three years in every way to make the most of the labour they have-efforts which have resulted in fully doubling the exports of the Colony within that short period.

And I would state my conviction that, large as this increase of production is, it might again be easily doubled during the next three years if a sufficient supply of additional labour could only be provided. Under these circumstances, I would respectfully solicit Her Majesty's Government to urge upon the Emigration Commissioners the peculiarly great advantages offered by St. Vincent to either liberated Africans or bounty emigrants.

It is one of the very healthiest of our tropical possessions, can spare abundance of land for provision grounds for the labourers, offers the highest rate of wages, with concurrent advantages, and has made ample provision for carefully receiving and satisfactorily providing for any number of labourers who may arrive.

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Sub-Enclosure to Enclosure in No. 3.

EXTRACT from his Honor the President of the Board of Legislative Council's Letter to his Excellency the Lieutenant Governor, dated Council Chamber, St. Vincent, 8 April 1858.

E. Eyre.

1. I HAVE been requested by the members of the Board of Legislative Council to acknowledge your Excellency's joint Message, No. 6, dated 7th April instant, covering two several Despatches from the Secretary of State, dated respectively the 17th and 25th February last.

I have, &c. (signed)

2. In replying to the one dated the 25th February, relative to promoting the immigration of captured Africans and others from Africa to the West Indies, the Board think that it would be most desirable that the Colony should obtain from the Government as many liberated Africans or other emigrants from Africa as can be procured, and will agree to adopt the 16th clause of the agreement entered into by the Emigration Commissioners for the passage of Africans to this Government, the means for which have already been provided, and to submit to any other conditions which Her Majesty's Government may think it right or necessary to impose.

3. The Board is of opinion that the Immigration Act passed in the last Session of the Legislature amply provides for the careful attendance to such immigrants, and the supply to them of adequate food, sufficient medical care, and prompt remunerative employment from the time of their arrival.

H. E. Sharpe,

President of Council.

EXTRACT from his Honor the Speaker of Assembly's Letter to his Excellency the
Lieutenant Governor, dated Committee Rooms, Court House, 8 April 1858.

I HAVE been instructed by the Honourable House of Assembly to acknowledge your Excellency's joint Message, No. 6, dated 7th April 1858, covering two several Despatches from the Secretary of State for the Colonies, dated respectively the 17th and 25th of February last.

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