No. 27, Miscellaneous
14 July 1863
My Lord Duke,
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Your Grace's Circular Despatch of the 11th April 1863 referring to the great distress which still prevails among the Manufacturing population oftheManuscript image the Northern Counties; and to the several schemes which have been proposed for rescuing the people from their present condition, and for enabling them again to earn an independent livelihood: Your Grace also mentions, that among these schemes, Emigration occupies a prominent place, and points out the great importance to Her Majesty's Government ofknowingManuscript image knowing accurately to which of Her Majesty's Colonial Possessions the Emigration of any portion of those people, might be directed, with the best prospect of advantage to the people themselves, and to the Colony, and Your Grace requests me to furnish the best information in my power on the subject, and to state what is the opening in this Colony for each class of thedistressedManuscript image distressed operatives referred to in your despatch.
2. In reporting on this subject I may premise that few of the industries, this Colony is capable of, are so developed as to afford a very extensive field for the employment of labour. The total white population does not exceed eight thousand (8000) souls; about two thirds of these are engaged in tradeandManuscript image and mechanical pursuits; the remaining third are agricultural Settlers, and day labourers working for wages. The agricultural classes are, with few exceptions, persons of small means and not possessed of much enterprise or intelligence. Their operations are of the most limited kind, and chiefly effected by their own labour—hence they have neither the disposition nor the power toprovideManuscript image provide employment for immigrant labour. The demand among the Merchants and Mechanics is chiefly confined to domestic Servants, who appear at present to be numerous enough to satisfy the wants of those classes; and there is generally no lack of common labourers to meet the ordinary requirements of the Colony.
3. From these premisesYourManuscript image Your Grace will perceive that this Colony offers but a poor field for destitute immigrants, unaccustomed to privation and unfitted by early habits, and previous occupation to the arduous labour of emigrant life: instead of improving their condition, it is to be feared, that by emigrating in great numbers, to this Colony, they would only be involved in a more hopeless state of distress and poverty.
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4. With the object of procuring precise information on this important subject, I have consulted the principal inhabitants of this place, in regard to their individual ability to provide employment for the classes of distressed persons mentioned by Your Grace that is, 1tly Married men with families who have been accustomed to outdoor, though not agricultural labour. 2dly Married men with families who have beenaccustomedManuscript image accustomed to indoor labour only. 3dly Single men of average health and strength who have been employed in out-door and in-door labour respectively. 4hly Young women of good character who have been employed in the Mills, but who may have had some experience of domestic service or seem capable of undertaking it.
5. The opinion, elicited from those persons whom I have consulted, is in favor of alimitedManuscript image limited emigration to this Colony, confined to twenty (20) married couples with not over young, or large families, of the first class, and One hundred and fifty (150) young women of the fourth class; and I have much pleasure in informing Your Grace that I feel satisfied they will meet with every Kindness, and consideration from their fellow subjects here, who deeply sympathize in their distressandManuscript image and are sincerely disposed to contribute, with their utmost ability, towards their relief. I may also mention that the female Emigrants who through the Kindness of Miss Burdett Coutts, Miss Rye and the Female Emigration Society were last year, sent by the "Tynemouth" and "Robert Lowe" to this Colony have, with very few exceptions, been comfortablyprovidedManuscript image provided for, as Your Grace will perceive by the accompanying interesting report from the Revd Mr Cridge Rector of Christ Church whose benevolent exertions contributed very materially to the gratifying success of the experiment.
6. I would in conclusion ask Your Grace to advise me of any steps taken in this matter inorderManuscript image order, that if necessary due preparations may be made.
I have the honor to be
My Lord Duke
Your Graces most obedient
Humble Servant
James Douglas
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
To the Emigration Commrs in L[edger] F[olio].
GG 29/8
Prospects of Emigrants. Transmit as proposed.
TFE 29 Augt
N 31
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Copy, Reverend Edward Cridge to Douglas, 14 July 1863, reporting on the successful emigration of ninety-three women into the colony in September 1862 and January 1863, promoted by the Female Emigration Society, as per despatch (eight pages).
Douglas, James to Pelham-Clinton, Henry Pelham Fiennes 14 July 1863, CO 305:20, no. 8485, 235. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria. https://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/V63027.html.

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