31st March 1849
Back to List

IRISH EMIGRATION TO SOUTH AUSTRALIA We have watched, with the deepest interest, the free Emigration now in progress, under the auspices the Government, from this country to South Australia. Almost daily, for some weeks, have seen accounts of the transmission of numbers of orphans, of both sexes, from the various Workhouses to Plymouth, from whence they embark for their destination. Tho manner in which the Emigration of those poor children has been conducted*the admirable arrangements for their moral guardianship, as well upon the voyage as subsequently to their arrival in the Colony, are creditable in the highest degree the Colonial Secretary, Earl Grey, to the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners, the Irish Government, and, we roust add, to the Guardians of the Unions, who have given their cooperation. All those arrangements are fully described the following highly interesting official documents, which we have copied from the South Australian Government Gazette, dated the 24th August last:

[Dublin Evening Post - Saturday 31 March 1849]

Colonial Secretary's Office, Adelaide, August 22, 1848. His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor has directed the publicatian of the following extracts of despatches received from the Right Hon. the Secretary of Stale, on the subject of an intended emigration of Irish orphan boys and girls this colony ;

Downing-street, 28th February, 1848. Sir I have been led favourably to consider the proposal contained in the enclosed Report from the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners, that with a view of keeping up the supply of labour required, free passage to South Australia should offered to certain classes of orphans of both sexes in Ireland between the ages of 14 and JB. Although 1 have not yet received any official communication of the assent of the Irish Government to the condition of Che proposal, I have no leason to doubt that it will be given, and 1 have therefore to desire that immediate measures may taken to prepare for the reception of the intended emigrants. With this view such a committee is suggested by the Commissioners should formed, on which hope that the prelates of both the churches of England and of Rome will consent to serve, and also some of the leading clergymen of the other denominations. ** The first object of such ooimnittee when formed would to obtain a list of the roost respectable persons in different parts of the colony, to whom these orphans may be apprenticed as servants. In making the selection amongst the applicants for apprentices (who will probably he numerous) the preference should be given to those who will be able to offer to these young persons the greatest advantages in the way of instruction in the occupations which in after life will be roost useful to them, and also in regard to their being placed within reach of the superintendence of some clergyman of their own religion. The terms upon which they are to be apprenticed roust fully explained, and it will be one of the duties of the proposed committee to act as guardians to the orphans, and in case o their masters* failing to discharge their duty towards them, to Cake measures for cancelling the indentures. The enclosed Report from the Commissioners will point out to you the advantages which they anticipate to the colonv from this species of emigration. They are thus euable<! to obtain a quicker supply of eligible emigrants than would otherwise have been practicable ; while, by sending out a proportion of unmarried females, they are enabled to selec; good and useful labourers, who, from being unmarried, would otherwise have been ineligible ; and, at the same time, under the arrangement proposed, the casual expense# attending the outfit, superintendence, and instruction of the intended emigrants, will be defrayed from the funds ot this country.* I have the honour, &c., (Signed) GREY  The Officer Administering the Government of South Australia. 

 

REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONERS ABOVE REFERRED TO: Colonial Land and Emigration Office, 17th Feb., 1848.  In order, however, to succeed in obtaining so large number of emigrants, it will be necessary to bare recourse to some additional measures beyond those which have hitherto employed ; and we bare, in accordance with Lord Grey*s directions, inquired whether an eligible class of Irish emigrant.- niight not be obtained from among the orphans now maintained in the Irish workhouses, of whom many are approaching the age of adole-cence. _ e hare the honour to report that the result of onr inquiries leads us to hope that this will turn out to be the case. are inclined to think that males this class, approaching the age of 18, who from no fault of their own have been bred in workhouse, receiving such education as is there given, and submitting to the restrictions imposed in it, might prove by means inferior to the ordinary Irish labourer. But, we should anticipate more decided benefit from the adoption of this plan in respect to female orphans. Lord Grev well aware of the necessity which exists for preserving the proportion of the sexes in any largs emigration to a new country. Single men, willing to emigrate, are to be found in abundance; but learn fro the reiterated complaints of our selecting agents that the difficulty of procuring single females of an eligible character is one of the greatest embarrassment.* against which they have to struggle. is said, however, that large number of well conducted young women are to be found *awag these orphans. The emigration of these persons will be of material service, by placing us at liberty to accept from other sources a corresponding number of single men, whom might otherwise have been compelled to reject. We have therefore drawn up a paper, which, with such modifications as Lord Grey may deem fit, might, think, transmitted to the Irish Govern nent, with a request that they would take the proper means for communicating it to the guardians of the different parishes from which emigrants mai expected. is, we think, obvious that the character of this emigra* tion, consisting entirely of young persons, will necessitate a closer moral and religious superintendence than has hitherto been thought expedient or even practicable in emigrant ships ; and it has been suggested to us with this view that teacher should be attached to each ship. It will be observed that in the enclosed memorandum we have adopted this suggestion ; but would submit that considering the peculiar character of the emigration which renders this expense necessary, it could not with propriety charged against the colony, and should, therefore, be defrayed from British funds. Nor (we may here add) we think it unfair that the parishes which will be relieved from the necessity of supporting these emigrants. should have the expense of forwarding them to the port of embarkation. This suggestion likewise, have, therefore, embodied in this paper which we submit for Lord Grey*s approval. We apprehend that nnder the local act 5 William TV. No. 3, the Governor would have the power of apprenticing these young persons, proposed in the clause of the acccompanning paper.*We have, fec. (Signed) T. Vi. C. MURDOCH. FREDERIC ROGERS. Herman Marivale, Esq., <fec., Sec.* 

(Extracts.)

"1. Her Majesty*s Land and Emigration Commissioners having been instructed by the Secretary of State to make arrangements for considerable emigration from Great Britain and Ireland to New South Wales an 1 South Australia, during the present year, and having been informed that an eligible class of Irish emigrants may be found among the orphan children now supported at the public expense in Ireland, will prepared to offer to such of these persons as may on enquiry be approved, and may be willing to emigrate, free passages the above colonies. None will be accepted who are le-s than or more than 18 years of age, and the nearest to 18 will be taken in preference.

 3. The males and females are intended to be conveyed separate ships ; teachers will appointed to them and mean* will be taken to provide for the instruction of the emigrants conformity with their respective creeds. The books furnished to the vessels will consist exclusively of those authorised by the National Board of Education. In those of the ihips which carry female orphans, there will be trustworthy matron to take charge of the emigrants, under the direction of the Surgeon, who will be entrusted with the general management of every ship. 

4. The emigrant ships will be despatched every month during the present year from Plymouth, to which place the emigrants must be conveyed the expense of the Board of Guardians. Emigrant ships can be despatched from Plymouth only, because is only at Plymouth (with the exception of Loudon) that the Commissioners have an emigrant depot, which will enable them to collect the emigrants previous embarkation ; and officers under their contruul, who can ascertain by inspection that the emigrants are all in a fit state of health to embark, that tbeir persons are clean, and their clothes clean and sufficient. The calamities which would result from the introduction of any infectious or contagious complaints on board one of these vessels render this arrangement indispensable.

6. The Governor will be directed on the arrival of the emigrants in the colony to make such arrangements in regard to their employment, may be moat their benefit, accordi ng to their age and circumatances. 

7. Every pains will taken to find the emigrants respectable employers. When tbeir age and circumstances render it fitting, they will be bound apprentices under laws which are force in the colonies. It will be stipulated that fair wages shall be paid by the employers, according to the current rate prevailing in the district, and after deducting such portion as may be required to pay for clothes and other current expenses, the remainder of their wages will be reserved, to be given to them the expiration of the contract, or, in case of females, their marriage, provided it be approved of the Government, or the committee appointed to act on behalf. 

A power will retained of forfeiting the reserved wages any of the children who may abscond, or whose indentures may cancelled for misconduct.

8 The Governors of New South Wales and South Australia will directed to appoint a committee in each colony, at *li request the co-operation in New South Wales ifishop of Australia, and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, and in South Australia, of the Bishop of Adelaide, and the Roman Catholic Bishop, to see that the stipulations are duly observed by rbe employers.

9 The Board of Guardians will determine whether in orcer to obtain these advantages they will provide the outfit and conveyance to the port of embarkation on behalf of the orphans in their respective workhouses, and on their communicating their decision to the Poor Law Commissioners, officer will deputed by the Emigration Commissioners the workhouses in order to ascertain whether they contain any suitable candidates for emigration, of the above class. 

10 This emigration will watched with the utmost interest by all who are concerned in colonies to which it is directed ; and upon the manner in which it is conducted will depend the power of the Government encourage its contiouauce. I colonists are desirous of adding to their body, the idle and the worthless, but those whose education and wok reli loa,, afford a reasonable guarantee that will become active and useful member* of a society which is in progress ; and it will therefore be imperative the Colonial Land and Emigration Comm ssioners, to select those young persons only, whose education has been attended to and of whose conduct they receive a satisfactory report from the competent authorities.

With reference to the foregoing despotch, his Excellency the Leiutenantt-Governor has been pleased to nomioate the Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of Adelaide ; the Right Rev. Dr. Murphy Roman Catholic Bishop; the Rev. Mr. Haining ; the Retr. Mr. Draper; the Hon. the Advocate-General; the Hon. Jacob M.L.C. : the Hon. Captain Bagot, Davenport, Eeq.; William Gilei, ilham Younghusband, Lnq.; Matthew Moorhouse, Esq., to be a committee (any three of w hom shall be a quorum to transact business), for the protection and guardianship of the said expected orphans. 

Applications for the services of these orphans, under apprenticeship, may be addressed the said committee, to the care of the Colonial Secretary, at this office, the following

 [Here follows the form referred to.] 

The terms on which the orphans are to apprenticed will learned from the indenture to be approved by the committee

By his Excellency's command, AM M MUNDY  Secretary.

 

Some communities associated with this timeline

Close this