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Enclosure 3, in No. 18.
REPORT, No. 7, 6 April 1858.
REPORT of the Immigration Committee on the following Papers referred to them by
THE Committee have had under consideration a letter from the Emigration Agent at Discontinuance of Calcutta, observing, with reference to a passage in their Report, No. 2, of 1857, that the Immigration to emigration of labourers with their families from that port to Mauritius, had gone on without Mauritius during any interruption, during the whole 12 months for the last 10 years.
the West Indian season.
2. The return furnished by the Emigration Agent at Calcutta shows, indeed that emigration from Calcutta to Mauritius has never been entirely discontinued; but the committee cannot agree with Mr. Caird, that the Mauritius emigration has gone on without any interruption during the last 10 years.
The Honourable C. Wiehé.
C. C. Brownrigg.
3. By the annexed Table, which exhibits the annual despatch of ships from Calcutta to Mauritius, it will be manifest that a considerable slackness occurs in the operations of the agency, as far as regards Mauritius, during the West Indian season; and the committee have reason to believe, that the emigration to Mauritius may be kept ostensibly open during that time, with a view to attract men to the depôt, who, when once there with their families, may be induced to go to the West Indies, rather than be subjected to the inconvenience of remaining in an unsettled state at the depôt for an indefinite time.
4. The committee take this opportunity of again requesting his Excellency to urge on the Secretary of State for the Colonies, the expediency of allowing this Colony to have its own exclusive agent in Calcutta.
TABLE exhibiting the Number of Ships despatched from Calcutta to Mauritius with
Rest of the Year.
Felix Bedingfeld, Chairman.
Cory of a DESPATCH from Governor Stevenson to the Right Honourable
Sir E. B. Lytton, Bart., M. P.
Mauritius, 4 August 1858.
Encl. 3, in No. 18.
(Answered, No. 95, 26 October 1858, page 293.)
Enclosure, No. 1.
3. I cannot but regret that, under these circumstances, so much delay should have occurred in making the preliminary arrangements for affording the increased space so urgently needed, and now that these arrangements have been completed by the final transfer to the Government of the lands and buildings which it is proposed to bring within the limits of the depôt, I trust that I shall be held justified in directing the work to be proceeded with immediately, without awaiting the result of a reference to Her Majesty's Government.
4. I have the honour to enclose copies of the Acting Surveyor General's
*Not printed. letter,* dated the 29th March, forwarding the estimates and plan, in accordance
Enclosure No. 3.
2. The importance of securing ample accommodation for the immigrants, during the time for which they are required to remain at the depôt, can hardly be overrated; and there is, at present, scarcely sufficient room for housing 700 men there, with due regard to cleanliness and health, whereas the number for whom accommodation is required frequently amounts to 1,200.
Encl. 1, in No. 19.
with which the work is to be executed; my Minute of Reference, under date of the 7th May, in pursuance with which the Council voted the sum of 4,420 l. 19 s. 10 d. for this service, subject to the investigation and report of their Finance Committee; and an extract of report, No. 6, of the Finance Committee, dated the 28th May, in which their views are recorded in favour of this expenditure.
I have, &c.
(signed) William Stevenson.
Enclosure 1, in No. 19.
Immigration Office, 16 July 1857.
I HAVE the honour to request you will inform His Excellency the Governor that in consequence of the arrival of four coolie ships on the 12th, when the depôt contained already 456 people for embarkation, I have been able to land on the 13th the immigrants of two ships, only those of the " Appleton" and "James Fernie," that is, between 700 and 800 people.
2. The depôt is calculated to accommodate about 700 people, allowing that each adult occupies no more space than on board ship, that is 12 superficial feet, making all allowance for a portion of the people keeping in the open air whilst the weather is fine; it has been impossible to receive more than these two ships' complements at the same time, which made the total number in the depôt above 1,100.
3. I informed the captains of the two other ships of the necessity I was in of leaving the people on board for two or three days; as nothing is said in the charterparty about keeping the immigrants on board after the ship's arrival, the captains have declared they would claim an indemnity for the detention of the people on board.
4. In Her Majesty's Order in Council, it is enacted that the immigrants shall be provided with two days' provisions by the captain when they are landed; the object of this, I nceive, being that the maintenance of the men for two days should put them in a position of independence for that time, in making their conditions of service, I would not consider myself authorised to dispense with this condition, on account of the unavoidable delay in landing them.
5. As the circumstance of several ships arriving at the same time is likely to happen frequently, I would think it desirable that the agents should be instructed to make it one of the conditions in the charter of ships, that in cases of necessity, from the accumulation of more people in the depôt than there is accommodation for, the captains will have to keep the people on board on the allowance they received during the voyage, for which they would receive an indemnity.
6. The increasing proportion of females and children amongst the immigrants introduced renders it urgent that a large addition should be speedily made to the accommodation for immigrants arriving and leaving. With 222 men received per "Appleton," there are 154 women and children; in the following years the proportion will be greater still.
7. Although not a scientific man, the experience I have had in India leads me to express the opinion that there is more real danger to the public health in this accumulation of hundreds in the dirty state in which they land, in too confined a space, than in the sickness that has prevailed during the voyage. In India, cholera has been known often to break out previously in prisons before it has been heard of in the locality.
8. The immigrants, under present circumstances, cannot remain less than two days in the MAURITIUS. depôt; they have to be inspected by the officer in medical charge of the department, their declarations of marriage have to be certified, and the bounty paid to them.
9. Last year, when the rise in the price of sugar had not yet created a great demand for labour, its price varied little in the Colony; it remained at 12 s., which was in proportion to the 10's. which newly arrived immigrants had received hitherto. On the earnest demand of the planters, and with the conviction that there was no chance whatever of be ter conditions for the immigrant when bands had been formed, and no other planters but those who had formed them remained in the depôt, I allowed them to take the people out; but this indulgence, which had great inconvenience for the work of the office, could not be allowed now without injustice to the immigrants, as it would deprive them of the chance of better conditions.
10. Although the majority of the men arrived in the two first ships have engaged at 10 s., no inconsiderable number have obtained wages of 12 s. and 14s. a month; a number of planters appear to have agreed to offer no more than 10 s., but there are others who, hard pressed for men, are willing to give to the immigrant arriving part of the higher price of labour which obtains in the colonial market.
11. Several planters have applied to me to interfere on their behalf in that respect, but I have declined doing more than explaining carefully to the people, that they are quite free to make the conditions of service most advantageous to themselves, and profit by the state of the labour market, and that they will be furnished two days' food from the ship, which will make them independent of every one for that time.
12. To allow the planters to remove the people without settling the conditions, and whilst others are on the spot offering better conditions, which are not readily accepted only from the influence of returning sirdars, would be interfering to deprive the people of their chance, and leading them to believe (which is the expectation of the planters) that the Government imposes on them the obligation of accepting certain conditions of service. I shall always feel disposed to do all that lies in my power to save planters trouble, but I can do it only so long as it does not interfere with the interests of the immigrants.
The Honourable the Colonial Secretary,
I have, &c. (signed)
Enclosure 2, in No. 19.
I HAVE the honour to submit the following papers for the consideration and vote of the Council.
WORKS AND BUILDINGS.-New Works.
A letter from the Acting Surveyor General, dated 29th March last, with reference to the enlargement of the immigration depôt, enclosing plans with estimates of the cost of carrying out the proposed extension, amounting to the sum of 4,419 l. 19 s. 10 d, should tiles be employed in covering the buildings, or to that of 4,054 7. 5 s. in the event of tin being employed for that purpose. I should observe that the estimate includes the cost of purchasing land and premises in the neighbourhood of the depôt, valued at 800 l.
This is a work which has long been projected, and is of a highly important nature. But as it is not provided for in the annual estimates, I am induced, on account of its great urgency, to anticipate the sanction of the Secretary of State for the expenditure, and to ask the Honourable Board to vote the amount required, that the works may be commenced without delay, subject to the report and investigation of the Finance Committee.
7 May 1858.
Encl. 2, in No. 19.
Enclosure 3, in No. 19.
EXTRACT from the Finance Committee's Report, No. 6, dated 28th May 1858.
3. THE Committee have considered various papers connected with the proposed enlarge- Enlargement of ment of the premises used as a depôt for the Indian immigrants, and have placed them- Immigration selves in communication on the subject with the Protector and the Acting Surveyor Depôt. General.
Encl. 3, in No. 19.
No. 20. Governor Stevenson to the Right Hon. Sir E. B. Lytton, Bart., 5 August 1858.
It appears that these additions would double the present accommodation for coolies, and a more airy and healthy disposition of the sheds would be obtained, with better drainage than at present, and increased cleanliness.
The estimated expense of this undertaking (including the purchase of land) is 4,420 l. 19 s. 10 d., and the Committee fully impressed with the necessity of encouraging, in every possible way, the Indian immigration, have no hesitation in recommending to the Council a vote for the above amount.
COPY of a DESPATCH from Governor Stevenson to the Right Honourable
Mauritius, 5 August 1858. (Received, 21 September 1858.)
I HAVE the honour to report that, after repeated and urgent representations from the Surveyor General's Department, respecting the impossibility of obtaining a sufficient supply of labour for the repair of the roads, I have, with a view of rendering the service more popular, solicited and obtained a vote of Council for the expenditure, in rations to be granted to the lawful wives of labourers employed on the roads, of a sum which would be equal to about 1,300 l. a year, if we had in our road service the full number of men required, of whom, however, we have not one-half our proper supply.
2. I have the honour to transmit herewith copies of a letter from the Inspector of Roads, and a report from the Acting Surveyor General, by which this measure was suggested to me; and a copy also of my minute of reference, bringing the matter under the consideration of the Council.
3. The dislike with which the road service is regarded is attributed to one of the many evil results of the influence of the "middle men," who, under the name of Sirdars, have perverted the opportunity offered to the immigrant of choosing his own master into an occasion of selling his services to any planter whose exigencies may force him to give the "middle man" the highest bribe for practising those arts of intimidation and deception, by which he, in fact, induces the immigrant to choose the master to whom it may suit his own purposes to allot him.
4. By the baneful influence which these men exercise upon the credulity and ignorance of the newly-arrived immigrants, all efforts hitherto made to obtain labourers for the road service, under Ordinance No. 12 of 1855, have been completely frustrated.
5. The Government cannot, of course, bid against the planters for the advocacy of the intriguing "middle man," and that advocacy is, therefore, employed in prejudicing the Indian against our service; nor will any increase in the rate of wages offered avail to counteract the false impressions thus engendered; neither is it advisable to resort to the course now adopted by the planters, of paying large and unreasonable premiums to the Indians for engagement in their service, a resort to which, to some limited extent, we have, however, in some instances, been obliged to have recourse, from the positive necessity of the case.
6. The measure now under consideration is an attempt to counteract this baneful influence by legitimate means, which, however, are not very satisfactory to my mind. But it will offer an inducement to the steadiest of the married men to adopt the road service, and to persevere in it, so long as this trifling assistance is afforded.
7. I cannot hope that it will be entirely successful, but it may serve to palliate the evil to which the roads of the colony are now being sacrificed; and the urgency of the occasion will, I trust, justify my having anticipated your sanction for giving effect to it, under proper precautions, as a temporary expedient to be tried, in the first instance, during the remainder of the present year.
8. 1 have