Page:A lecture on the evils of emigration and transportation.djvu/9

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.


were gratuitous. But allow me to inform you, that Mr. Marshall receives out of the funds obtained to forward emigration upwards of £500 yearly; and that the other members connected with the committee are connected also with the shipping interest, therefore ships might have remained in the docks unemployed had emigration to the Australian Colonies never been brought into practice. Upwards of £150,000 per annum has been expended in this measure,—a sum sufficiently large to induce them to be active in obtaining victims to the system, and living cargoes for their ships. It was soon found that this plan would not answer altogether the views of the Home Government, for the money paid through the treasury department had to be accounted for to the Colonial Government, and the Colonial Government had in like manner to account to the British Government; therefore, the Government in England, in order to make emigration beneficial to themselves, determined to have a share in the profits, and adopted the following plan:—they had circulars printed and sent to all parts of the United Kingdom, addressed to the Chelsea Pensioners: giving them a description of the beauties of the Colonies; the great demand there was for men to do nothing—merely to look after the convicts and see that they were not idle,—with extravagant wages for the same, and the extremely low price of provisions and liquor.—This deception took well: hundreds of these unfortunate men immediately offered to leave their native land, and Government gave these poor deluded beings four years' pension on condition that they (the pensioners) signed a deed, got up for the occasion, declaring that the money they received for four years' pension should satisfy all their claims upon the British Government, for their wounds and a life of warfare and misery. Thus were these hoary headed victims, in the decline of life, thrown upon their own industry; for, bear in mind, that those men had to pay their own passage, and some of them had large families. So that on landing in the Colonies, with the expense of passage and the unavoidable outlay necessary previous to sailing, they were almost destitute. I saw the first ship-load of deluded pensioners land, and believe me, my mind was filled with disgust and indignation towards the authors of their misery. Need I go into particulars, and tell you how those men were treated by monsters who considered them even worse than use-