« ZurückWeiter »
that Island on the subject of Portuguese immigration, from which it appears
I bave, &c.
No. 3. (No. 13.) Copy of a DESPATCH from the Right Honourable Lord Stanley, M. P. Right Hon. the to Governor Hincks.
Lord Stanley, M.P.
to Governor Sir,
Downing-street, 18 May 1858. Hincks. The Emigration Commissioners have informed me that Mr. Brown, em- 18 May 1858. ployed as the Emigration Agent for St. Vincent, has called their attention in the accompanying letter to the fact that by the Immigration Act which has recently 13 March 1858. been passed by the Legislature of that Colony, certain inconveniences are entailed on him by the manner in which validity is given to contracts made with emigrants from Madeira.
2. It appears that the Act enacts that the contracts should bear a certificate from the Brirish Consul or votary public, or other person approved of or acting under authority of Her Majesty's Governinent, that the contracts are legal and understood.
3. As it is difficult at times to procure the attendance of the British Consul for the purpose of notifying these facts, and expensive to retain that of a notary, the Emigration Commissioners have suggested that authority should be granted to Mr. Brown himself “to act under authority of” Her Majesty's Government, for the purpose of giving this certificate; and in accordance with this suggestion, I bave conveyed the necessary instruction to the Commissioners.
I have, &c.
Encl. in No. 3.
Enclosure in No. 3. Sir,
Emigration Office, 4 May 1858. V! E enclose the copy of a letter from Mr. Brown, employed as Emigration Agent for St. Vincent, to collect emigrants from Madeiia and the neighbouring Portuguese islands, in which that gentleman daws attention to certain inconveniences entailed on him by the present immigration law of St. Vincent.
Ic order to give validity to contracts, it is made necessary by the law of St. Vincent, that they should bear a certificate from the British Consul, a notary public, or other person approved of or acting under authority of Her Majesty's Government, that the contracts are voluntary and are understood.
3. It seems that it is difficult at times to procure the attendance of the British Consul for the purpose of certifying to these facts, and expensive to retain that of a notary. Mr. Brown therefore proposes that commanders and surgeons of vessels should be “ approved” by Her Majesty's Government for this purpose.
4. This proposal seems to us not admissible, as its adoption would seem to imply that the certificates of the commanders and surgeons of private emigrant ships are sufficient evidence of the propriety of the Collectors' proceedings which they plainly are not.
But it appears to us that, when the emigrants are collected by an Agent responsible to Government, the certificate itself is not really required, especially in a place where emigration and its incidents are now so well understood as in these Portuguese islands. No such certificate is required in the Indian emigration.
5. We would therefore suggest that the difficulty might be simply removed by authorising Mr. Brown bimself 10 "act under the authority of” Her Majesty's Government for the purpose of giving this certificate. He called at this office on his way to Madeira, and seemed an intelligent person; and we would suggest that he should be furnished with this authority.
6. The law of St. Kitts, we observe, does not require (as it should have done) the certificate of any officer or notary for giving validity to contracts made in Madeira. But as the Act expired on the 2d of this month, an opportunity will offer itself for requiring the amendment of the law in this respect.
We have, &c. Herman Merivale, Esq.
(signed) T. W. C. Murdoch. &c. &c. &c.
Madeira, 13 March 1858.
2. Under the provisions of the Emigration Act of St. Vincent, by which I am guided in
3. One hundred and sixty emigrants left ten days ago for St. Kitts. The contracts entered into with these people were attested by the captain and surgeon of the vessel, which was regarded as amply sufficient and found to be satisfactory to all concerned. To carry out the provisions of the St. Vincent Act, it is my duty to state that Mr. Heywood, the Vice Consul, has offered me every assistance in his power, but should an equal number of emigrants be willing to go to St. Vincent, it is unreasonable to expect rhe Consul, whose duties preclude him from devoting his time to any one object, could be able to give unremitting atiendance for two or three days. It is impossible to collect the people at one time, to read over and attest the contracts; and if delay occurs in securing his presence when the people are got to the Agent's office, they are very likely to take advantage of it and get out of the way, taking with them the advances they have received, by no means
an uncommon occurrence.
To engage in this country the continuous attendance of a notary public for such a period, would be to add a very serious item to charges already sufficiently high.
4. It is under these circumstances I would respectfully suggest that, although the case could be met by a reference to St. Vincent, it can be remedied with much less loss of time by recourse to the alternative the Act permits, viz. some other person approved of or acting under the authority of Her Majesty's Government.
Some of the Colonies have appointed Emigration Agents in this ssland, and if one could be appointed by Her Majesty's Government, the difficulties to which I have referred would be overcome, and the general scheme of emigration facilitated.
5. But in the event of such an appointinent being at variance with existing treaties
I am, &c.
Acting for St. Vincent.
705 Vide Appendix, Nos. 8, 9, 10, 11,
- No. 4. (No. 14.) Right Hon, the Copy of a DESPATCH from the Right Honourable Lord Stanley, M. P., Lord Stanley, M.P. to Governor
to Governor Hincks. Hincks. 27 May 1858. Sir,
Downing-street, 27 May 1858. Page 116. I have received your Despatch, No. 86* of the 9th November last, enclosing Nos. 702, 703, 704, four Acts passed by the Legislature of St. Vincent for the introduction of immi
2. Having this Despatch to the Emigration Commissioners, transmit, pages 305 to 320. for your information and guidance, copy of their reply; I concur in the opinion
which it submits, and I have to request that you will desire the Lieutenant 17 March 1858. Governor to take steps for procuring an amendment of the Act, No. 702,
intituled, “An Act to alter the Law of Contracts with regard to Immigrants,
I also enclose, for your information and guidance, copy of a correspondence
I have, &c.
14 April 1858. Enclosure 2. 10 May 1858. Enclosure 3.
ST. VINCENT. Enclosure 1, in No. 4.
Encl, 1. in No. 4.
Emigration Office, 17 March 1858.
No. 702. To alter the law of contracts with regard to immigrants, and for the
No. 703. For laying an additional tax on produce to provide a fund for immigration purposes.
No. 704. To appropriate a portion of the general revenue for immigration purposes.
No. 705. To authorise the raising of loans of money for immigration purposes, and to
3, As, however, we have now received and reported on the general objections raised by
4. The Act No. 702* is taken from the Grenada Immigration Act of 8th September 1855 (alıeady confirmed), with certain additions which were required by the Indian Government Printed in Emigraand embodied in the Grenada Act of September 24th 1856,7 and with a few alterations which tion Commissioners' we shall notice so far as they are of importance.
1856. Appendix, 5. By this Act three kinds of immigration are recognised. First, the Goveruor is autho- page 145. rised by section 3 to proclaim bounties on labourers introduced into the Colony without | Printed in Conbeing under contract to the importer; next, the Governor may license private persons to missioners' Annual introduce immigrants under contract to themselves; and, thirdly, the Government may Report, 1857. introduce immigrants at the public expense.
Appendix, p. 163. 6. The first and third classes of ihmigranis will be indentuied on their arrival to employers, chosen by themselves or by the Government, for three years certain, but subject to the obligation of serving two more years with the same employer, or of redeeming one or both of such years at the rate of 21. 10s. per annum.
7. On the allotment of any such immigrant, the first employer will be called upon to repay to Government half of the bounty or of the cost of introduction ; but of this payment he will receive back one-fifth for every year's service which may be redeen:ed by the immigrant on the above terms.
8. The second class of immigrants must have been introduced from some place in respect of which bounty has been proclaimed. By an apparent inadvertency no specific limit is placed on the duration of the contracts; such contracts, however, are only valid when
approved and countersigned by the Immigration Agent, and subject to such alterations as the said Agent may, with consent of the parties, have made therein.” They must also have been signed by the parties, and attested by a notary public, British Consul, or other person authorised by Government. The importer will receive from Government one-half of the bounty which would have been payable if the immigrant had not been under contract.
9. The 13th clause, if iaken by itself, would authorise another kind of immigration, conducted exclusively at the expense of the importer, under contracts of unlimited duration, from “ Madeira, the Azores, the Canaries, or Cape de Verd Islands; from any part of Europe or of the West Indies, or of the United States, or of the British provinces of North America, or from China ;" but this clause (as in the law of British Guiana) is restricted by the definition of the word immigrant (section 68) to persons introduced under bouniy. This, therefore, is so far delusive.
10. Coolie immigrants, as in other Colonies, are entitled to return to their country at their own expense, after five years' industrial residence; and at the expiration of 10 years are entitled to receive back passages at the expense of Government, if they have spent the second term of five years under indentures for not less than one year at a time (on which their employer is to pay an annual tax equal to one tenth of their passage money), or if they have redeemned their labour at the rate of 21. 10s. per annum, or if they pay a contribution of 71. 5 s. 10d.
11. We regret to say that this Act is, in some respects, at variance with the regulations under which immigration is allowed. It will be perceived by the correspondence which accompanies it, that it originally legalised absolute contracts for five years. But as this
ST. VINCENT. provision was contrary to the policy of the Home Government, Mr. Hincks required that
it should be altered.
12. The effect, however, of the alteration which has been made is inadvertently, we presume), to legalise contracts of unlimited length, the limit of five years being, we suppose, expunged, and no other limnit inserted. It is true that the Immigration Agent has the power of disallowing contracts for more than three years' duration, but it is undesirable that the enforcement of an important principle should depend on a mere discretionary Act of the Executive, which may take ill-informied importers of immigrants by surprise.
13. We would suggest, therefore, that the 13th clause should be altered by inserting after the words “valid in the Colony,” the words (which are found in the 14th clause of the Grenada Act above-mentioned,) for “ the full period named in such contracts not exceeding three years."
14. The Legislature will probably desire to give validity to contracts made in the localities enumerated in the 13th section by labourers not falling within the statutory definition of immigrant, and to this there can, we imagine, be no objection, if China be omitted from the list. For the present, at least, it would seem inexpedient to resign the control of Government over this emigration.
15. Next the West Indian Acts sanctioned by the Government inpose on coolie and other immigrants the obligation, after the termination of their three years' indentures, of entering into a further contract with “the same or some other employers” for two years, or of commuting that period at a fixed rate. The object of this provision was to secure that the immigrant should labour for five years, while leaving him at liberty to quit a disagreeable locality or unpopular employer after three. But in the St. Vincent Act, this purpose is frustrated by omitting the words “ or some other.” The consequence is that the coolie cannot change his employer at this period without paying 5 l. to Government. These words ought, therefore, to be reinserted, if the existing terms of immigration are to be maintained.
16. We should point out that the effect of this provision is distinguishable from those laws which enable employers who have paid towards the cost of importing immigrants to recover a rateable proportion of that cost from any person to whom such immigrants may transfer their services before the expiration of five years.
17. And it may also be here observed that the complication of the laws which regulate the duration of contracts in the West Indies arises from the circumstance that custom recognises a contract of service for five years, at the current wages, as an equivalent for the cost of introduction; while the Imperial Government refuses to allow thie immigrant to bind himself to a single employer for more than three years. The existing law is a contrivan e for reconciling these two principles which, though it seems to be working tolerably well, is undoubtedly productive of a good deal of perplexed discussion in its application to Government, and private emigration respectively.
18. In the 36th clause the words “or to give promissory notes in manner and form provided by section 24 of this Act,” are taken from the Act of Grenada, where payment by promissory notes is allowed. But under the St. Vincent Act, all payments are to be made in cash, and these words should therefore be expunged.
19. Mr. Hincks' objections to the rate of payment to be made by planters receiving immigrants will be most conveniently considered in connexion with the other laws forwarded
20. The Act, No. 703, imposes an export duty on produce in addition to that already · levied) which is to be applied to immigration purposes. No. 704 declares that a sum equal
to the proceeds of this “additional export tax” shall be advanced from the general revenue for the same purpose; aud No. 705 authorises certain Commissioners to borrow 7,0001. for the same purposes, chargeable in the first instance on the immigration fund, and, on failure of that fund, on the general revenue, with a preference over all other claims except monies due under “the Loan Act of 1856.”
21. It will be seen, therefore, that the expenses of immigration are to be provided for from three sources. Half is to be paid by the individuals to whom the immigrants are allotted, who are to pay one-tenth of the cost of introduction per annum for the first five years of the immigrant's stay in the Colony; or if he receives a return passage, for 10 years. A quarter is to be paid from ihe export duty levied on the produce of the island, and a quarter from the general revenue. With regard to the first of these, Mr. Hincks objects that in other Colonies a greater share of the cost of immigration is recovered from the individual employer. To this it is answered in substance, that so long as a fair share of the expense is thrown on the planting interest, justice is satisfied ; and that the planters themselves may be left to determine what proportion should be thrown on the individual directly benefited hy receiving an additional labourer, and what proportion on the bulk of employers who are indirectly benefited by the effect of the immigration on the labour market. This answer appears to us reasonable.
22. Next Mr. Hincks objects that the export tax is charged on a few cotton growers in. the Grenadines, and on arrowroot grown by small cultivators. The amount of cotton grown annually in the Government of St. Vincent is 27,359 lbs., and the tax being at the rate of
3 d. per
3 d. per cwt., would produce about 3l. per annum. The quantity of arrowroot grown by ST. VINCENT. . small cultivators is 207,758 lbs., and the tax at 6 d. per 200 lbs., would produce about 251. The production of arrowroot on larger estates is 521,759 lbs., and we presume it would be impossible to exempt one from taxation without exempting the other.
23. Under these circumstances, it does not appear to us that the injustice done is sufficiently important to require the intervention of the Secretary of State.
24. Mr. Hincks objected, in the first instance, to the charging one quarter of the expenses on the general revenue, the whole body of the tax-payeis not being benefited by the emigration.
25. To this it was replied first, that shopkeepers and others not contributing to the export duty were so benefited; and, secondly, that the planters had taken on themselves to defray by the existing export tax a burthen properly chargeable on the whole community. Mr. Hincks admitted the validity of the second argunient, and withdrew bis objection to this provision of the law. We presume, therefore, that the arrangement is unobjectionable. It is one which can hardly be treated of completely without entering on questions of general taxation, which are leyond the province of this Board.
26. On the whole, it appears to us that the first of the accompanying Acts cannot properly be sanctioned till the alterations which we have pointed out are made; and, as the Act indicates an intention to commence coolie immigration, it would perhaps bé convenient to submit it at once to the India Board.
27. We are aware of no objection to any of the three other Acts, unless the preference given to loans contracted under No. 705, conflicts with any claim of the Imperial Government or the Colonial revenue.
We have, &c. Herman Merivale, Esq.
(signed) 7. W. C. Murdoch. &c. &c. &c.
Encl. 2, in No. 4.
Enclosure 2, in No. 4. Sir,
Downing-street, 14 April 1858. I am directed by Lord Stanley to transmit to you, for the consideration of the Commissioners for the Affairs of India, and in order that it may be communicated to the Court of East India Directors, copy of an Act passed by the Legislature of St. Vincent, intituled, “ 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.”
I am also to enclose extract from a report furnished by the Emigration Commissioners upon this Act, and to state that Lord Stanley proposes to call for the amendments suggested by the Commissioners.
Lord Stanley requests that you will move the Court of East India Directors to inform him whether they have any objections to the course proposed to be adopted.
I have, &c.
Encl, 3, in No. 4.
Enclosure 3, in No. 4.
India Board, 10 May 1858.
In compliance with the request of Lord Stanley, a copy of the Act and of the enclosed extract from the Emigration Commissioners was forwarded for the consideration of the Court of Directors of the East India Company, and I have now the honour to transmit to you a copy of a letter from Mr. Dickinson, containing the Court's opinion as to the Act, and the course proposed to be adopted.
&c. Herman Merivale, Esq.
(signed) George Clerk. &c. &c. &c.
East India House, 6 May 1858.
regulation, when introduced, and with reference to the intention of the Secretary of State for the Colonies to call for certain amendments suggested by Her Majesty's Emigration Commissioners, requesting that the Board of Commissioners may be furnished with the Court's opinion of the course proposed to be adopted.