[The Standard, 22. Januar 1869]

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The Standard, 22. Januar 1869. S. 5.
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Standard. Jan 22 Anmerkung von Jenny Marx

The last returns of metropolitan pauperism show that in the fourth week of December, 1868, there were 143,406 paupers in London, as compared with 147,610 in the corresponding week of the year before. The reduction was thus 4204. It is somewhat remarkable that the districts designated as the west, north, and south, all show an increase as compared with 1867, the only decrease being in the central district and the east. The union of Poplar alone exhibits a decrease of 2279 or more than half the total decrease of the metropolis. Poplar, however, still displays a formidable list, its aggregate of paupers being 7333. In the south district, Woolwich and Greenwich combined show a total of 11,155 paupers, as against 8446 for last year; an increase, therefore, of 2709. The cause of this latter augmentation is not far to seek, the abandonment of Woolwich Dockyard and the great reductions in the Arsenal having thrown an immense number of people out of work. The Woolwich Relief Committee has 2000 individuals on their funds. The materials for a great accession of paupers are now accumulating in that locality. Dire distress is overtaking hundreds of families, and it is by no means easy to say how the employment thus lost in Woolwich is to be obtained elsewhere.

Though we thus preface our remarks on emigration with poor-law statistics, it must not be inferred that we are going to describe a process of pauper emigration. For the present, we have simply to show how emigration may prevent pauperism. The East-end Emigration and Relief Committee have expended, for the purposes of migration and emigration, since July, 1867, the sum of 6370l. But it by no means follows that all whom they have sent cut of the kingdom have been paupers. On the contrary, the rule has rather been the other way, particularly during the season of 1868. Yet the effect has undoubtedly been to intercept some of those streams which otherwise would have gone to swell the great pauper list of Poplar may be partly attributed to the fact that most of the parties who were thus assisted to move off, either to another part of the kingdom or out of it altogether, were from Poplar. A certain amount of pauperism was thus prevented, and it is a circumstance not to be lost sight of that when a man once becomes a pauper, it is a very troublesome matter to induce the colonies to receive him. The difficulty which arose in the way of emigration to Canada last year was partly founded in this circumstance. It was alleged that England was shipping off her paupers to Canada with a view to get rid of them, and Canada, on her part, exhibited a very decided unwillingness to receive them—so much so that even the emigration of the poor, though non-pauper class, was for a time placed in jeopardy; and but for the kindly intervention of the Hon. Mr. Rose, the Canadian Finance Minister, who happened just then to be in England, the emigration movement in the direction of Canada must have been seriously checked.

The East-end Emigration Committee have now resolved to extend the sphere of their operations to all parts of the metropolis where their intervention is obviously called for—of course on the presumption that they have the necessary means to second their intentions. Woolwich is, therefore, a fair field for their labours. Unfortunately the funds at the disposal of the committee just now are very limited; nevertheless they have succeeded in assisting a small party of the Woolwich unemployed to set out for Queensland. Yesterday afternoon, these individuals, about twenty-five in number, reckoning men, women, and children, went on board the Flying Cloud, then lying in the East India Docks, and they are now on their way down the river. Of the vessel herself we may say that she is a fine clipper built sailing vessel of 1139 tons register, belonging to the Black Ball line. The accommodation provided for the emigrants seemed very good. The party sent from Woolwich is undoubtedly a small instalment; but if the opportunity be properly cultivated, it may be the beginning of great things. In addition to the Woolwich emigrants, there were others from all parts of the country, making up a total of 190 assisted emigrants, in addition to 50 who paid their own passage. The Queensland government makes grants in aid of emigration from Europe to their own shores, and both single men and married couples are thus assisted to go out. The voyage being long and the expense considerable, it was necessary for the Woolwich emigrants to be still further assisted by the East-end committee, the Woolwich committee also contributing a small sum per head. It is a fact of considerable importance at the present time, that from some cause or other, the government of Queensland, as well as that of South Australia, prefers acting independently of our Emigration Commissioners. In these days of economy and retrenchment, it might be fair to ask what the Emigration Board, established under the wing of our own Colonial Office, is really doing to promote emigration. Not even in the case of Canada can we discover that the board is of any essential service. With just one or two exceptions, the emigration movement in England seems to be carried on by volunteer committees and the agents of the colonial governments, all of whom act as if there was no Emigration Board in existence. It is commonly the case that correspondence of considerable importance, instead of being conducted by our government department, is really in the hands of private individuals, who communicate with the colonial authorities, and receive replies as regularly as if this were the only recognized mode of proceeding. The Emigration Commissioners look on, inspect the vessels, and collect the statistics, while the money is raised and expended without passing through their hands, and the work is done either by honorary agents or by those who are in the service of the colonial authorities. It may be well it should be so; but in that case the utility of maintaining an emigration department becomes |20 doubtful. On the other hand, it would seem desirable that the strength of the government should, if possible, be brought to bear on a task which demands large resources and the most powerful appliances.

The liberality of the Queensland government in making grants in aid of immigration enables them in some degree to choose their immigrants. As we surveyed the party on board the Flying Cloud we could not but regret that so many stalwart workers and promising families should be taken from our shores. We should add, by-the-by, that free passages are granted to single women, domestic servants, and to a limited number of married couples of the class of farm labourers or shepherds with not more than one child under twelve years of age. In all cases, whether the emigrants go free, or are simply “assisted,” the agent of the Queensland government selects the individuals or families, and, as a matter of course, he picks for the best. A significant incident occurred in the case of the Woolwich party. One man was rejected solely on the ground that he had been for the last three months in the receipt of parochial relief.


  • Social cases. 1869