British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

Are the same observations you made with regard to the saving to individuals in emigration to Canada, by the assistance of Government in the expense of emigration, also applicable to emigration, to the Cape?--I do not think that the same advantages would exist with respect to emigration to the Cape, as that would entirely depend upon the expenses of passage; it would require no arrangement but their reception in the families of those settlers who were willing to take them as articled servants.


13
JOHN ASTLE TO R. J. WILMOT HORTON 28 April 18241

Dublin.

SIR,

The Act of Parliament for regulating passengers passed in last session2 being found by the mercantile body in this country quite unfit for its intended purpose as regards Ireland, and being informed by Sir H. Parnell that it was introduced under your auspices, I have ventured to trespass on your attention a few remarks on the subject. Should you think it worth referring to the Commissioners of Customs or their solicitor in Ireland, I am confident you will find that the Act in question has been the cause of more references and opinions than any other law regulating a particular trade. It has been evidently framed with the benevolent purpose of providing a better and larger description of shipping for emigrants, but Sec. 3 is worded so loosely, as to what is intended by 2 decks, that the smallest vessels obtain a licence, and at this moment one of only 140 tons is taking in 70 passengers. This clause wants alteration, as timber ships have rarely 2 standing decks, but only make one temporary for passengers. . . . Perhaps the most objectionable section for Ireland is the 11th. The emigrants from this country being most poor Catholics are not accustomed to beef and biscuit and do not like it, in fact they are not able to purchase it, if they did. This year I sent out a ship to Quebec in Lent, and was obliged to supply large quantities of beef and biscuit merely to comply with the Act, although it will be brought back untouched, a clause for Ireland for each grown person bound to America might be say 112lbs. oatmeal, 50lbs. oaten or wheaten biscuit or flour, 2cwt. potatoes, and 20lbs. beef, pork or bacon, and 50 gallons water. . . .

Sec. 23 nominally places foreign vessels under its regulations, but the United States by treaty being on the footing of British ships,

____________________
1
C.O. 42/202. John Astle was a Dublin shipowner of strong laissez-faire views. 24 Geo. IV, cap. 84, a statute reverting to the more stringent conditions of 1803, been passed in July 1823 due largely to the gross overcrowding of a ship to Van Diemen's Land.

-408-

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