British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

subsistence, but they carry infection among those who may charitably receive them. The law which restrained these evils is no longer in force in Great Britain, and we have no legislative enactment here to prevent the recurrence of the calamity which we have endured this year, or to punish the authors of it. The United States on the contrary have most wholesome regulations upon this subject, and, while this state of things continues, it is obvious that the refuse only of the superabundant population at home will come to us, while all the valuable and useful emigrants will embark for the United States. No decent person who has the means of procuring a comfortable passage for himself or family will venture on board one of these receptacles for filth and disease. He will seek for accommodation in some American vessel which will convey him to the United States, where he will be lost to his country for ever, while we shall be overwhelmed with as many emigrant paupers as the artful and unprincipled men who carry on this traffic can delude.

Your Committee therefore suggest the propriety of bringing this matter under the consideration of His Majesty's Government without loss of time, in the hope that those useful regulations may be revived, or that some legislative enactment may be resorted to, to prevent the recurrence of so alarming an evil.1

JAMES STEWART, BRENTON HALLIBURTON, S. B. ROBIE.


18
FINAL REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONERS FOR EMIGRATION TO LORD GODERICH 15 March 18322

Colonial Office.

MY LORD,

We have the honour to enclose herewith the information which we have caused to be printed for the use of persons desirous to emigrate, or to assist others to emigrate, to the British colonies in North America. . . .

____________________
1
As a result of such reports, and protests by shipowners alarmed at the effects of evil reports of the passage by emigrants, a new Passenger Act was passed in May 1828 (9 Geo. IV, cap. 21). Although more strict than that of 1827, it was a compromise and was quite inadequate. Todhunter considered that it would still permit such overcrowding as 'nothing in the annals of the slave trade could equal'. From the date of the Act, however, responsibility passed from the Customs and Treasury to the Colonial Office.
2
Parl. Papers, 1831-2 (724), vol. xxxii, pp. 3-7. The Duke of Richmond, Henry Ellis, Viscount Howick, R. W. Hay, and Francis Thornbull Baring were appointed by the Colonial Office in June 1831 to supervise the giving of aid and advice to intending emigrants. Their appointment terminated in August 1832 and the Colonial Office undertook their work until J. D. Pinnock was made Agent-General for Emigration in 1834.

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