HOGSFLESH, James, 1820 Settler
National Archives, Kew CO48/43, 704
11 Gt. Chapel St. Soho
August 12, 1819
I humbly beg leave to claim a portion of your Lordship's indulgence, to a perusal of this letter, and trust that my presumption will be pardoned by your Lordship on a consideration of the circumstances of the case in question.
Feeling an inclination to apply for a portion of the Parliamentary grant, under your Lordship's circular, induced me to endeavour to get as much information as possible, i heard much said at different times & places by different parties wishing to emigrate, and i found the general observation was that Government gave a decided preference to the Capitalist, who has no just claim to the parliamentary grant, whilst the Labouring Man for whose benefit it professed to be intended, would lay at their mercy, knowing a little of the state of the public feeling, i could not help observing that those observations was founded on prejudice and a hostile feeling towards Government.
I attended a meeting at the Crown & Anchor, Strand last Monday evening, which was very numerously attended and I beg your Lordships patient attention to the state of the public feeling manifested there. I mixed amongst the different parties who was talking over the subject, and what i then heard respecting the proceedings of the Capitalist, i must confess staggered my former opinion and impressed on my mind that the Capitalist who is generally thought to be the bane of the country, is now in reality striving to be the only gainer, to get the whole of the fertile Land in their possession, whilst the Labouring Men they take out, under the most unjust and hard contracts, will have no Land, and be in a much worse situation than he is at present in this Country, thus the Labouring Man is made justly jealous of the Capitalist and is one of the principal reasons for such numerous individuall applications to your Lordship; another circumstance I must not omit noticeing, Dr WATSON of Spa fields notoriety, and a party of his reforming attendants was there and seized on every unfavourable circumstance, or narrative with avidity, to cry down the measure, representing it as a most heinous crime of Government. Some of their observations was:
- that the Emigrants would be stiffled in the vessels for want of room
- that they would be kept on short allowance
- that pretexts would be created to forfeit a part of if not all of the 10£ advanced
- that on landing they would have to fight for every inch of ground, and keep their arms continually in their hands to repress the incursions of the natives
- that the Climate was unhealthy
- that the Locusts very frequently in a few hours destroyed all the Crops
- that the Colony was under Dutch Laws administered in the most arbitrary and tyrannical manner possible,
- and to sum up the whole that each head of a family would have between 20 & 30£ per year of taxes to pay.
I now beg leave to state that his Majesty's Government possesses the power at present to do much towards alleviating the distress of the Labouring Man, occasioned by the stagnation of trade and overwhelming use of Machinery, introduced by the Capitalist, and humbly submit to your Lordship's consideration the following regulations towards accomplishing that desirable object.
First, to explain by Circular,
- what accommodation & tonnage will be given on the voyage
- what security the Settler will have on his 100 acres of Land for himself exclusively
- what Laws the Colony will be governed by
- what taxes he will have to pay
- what agricultural implements will be allowed by Government (could not the old Military stores be brought in use)
- will any tents be allowed by Government until Houses are built
- will any grants be made in New South Wales, which many prefer.
Secondly, to prevent the Capitalist from interfering in the grant of Parliament, or makeing any contracts with the Labouring Man.
Thirdly - to give a decided preference to those who by their Sober habits and Industry have saved a few pounds say 50 and all applications in addition to the other particulars to state the sum of money the Applicant has by him.
Fourthly - to appoint a place with two persons to attend daily for 3 or 4 months to receive all applications either individually or in a body, the expence of which appointment could not exceed 100£ but would do much good.
Fifthly - that at a certain time his Majesty's Ministers do select such applicants as they approve of, and form them into companys of mutual support & assistance for 5 or 7 years, each company to sign articles to Government to that effect, which will be better attended to and kept more inviolate than if made between man & man, but other parties forming themselves may go together, under the same regulations.
Sixthly - that those companys do be composed of of [sic] about 20 Settlers, takeing care that one or more of the most useful & necessary Trades do be in each company, but particularly persons well versed in Husbandry and care of Cattle - that Husbandry do be the grand focus of every ones exertions, by adopting this measure, each Settler will imbibe so much of the general knowledge from such an union of talent as will enable him individually at the expiration of his articles, to assume the whole management of his 100 acres of Land for his own Benefit and Advantage.
Encouragement might also be extended to some of the most Intelligent, Sober, and deserving applicants (without funds) by one of the following regulations, -
First - that each Company do be regulated to take out one or more of these persons, the Company jointly to pay the passage quota, and all expenses after landing, such person to live and work in every respect the same as the Company, such person is to repay such Expences in manner following - the Company on makeing up their Annual Account will lay by one equal share [offered] for each such person, and to continue so on each year untill those reserved sums is sufficient to pay the Company the Principle, and Interest, so advanced to such person. Each person is then to be put in possession of his 100 acres of land subject to the same terms and conditions as the rest of the Company - that if the Debt and Interest is not paid in seven years, such person will forfeit his claim to the land and also all claims on the Company, and the land is to be equally divided between the Company.
Second - that any one of the Company do have liberty to advance for such person the whole of the money requisite to place him on an equal footing with the Company - the person so advancing the money is to have such person's annual share of Profit untill the Principle of Interest is paid, agrandizement not being the object no one person can receive forfeiture of the 100 acres, but if by the free will and consent of both persons properly certified (the Lender & Borrower) they solicit the Company jointly to discharge the Principle and Interest, the Company may have liberty to do so & divide the 200 acres equally, and the person so relinquishing the land to forfeit all Claims on that and the Company.
Thirdly - that a portion of the land do be set apart for those persons to be located on, and Exchequer Bills to a certain amount issued to defray their expences untill the Harvest comes round - such portions of Land to go at a stated rent per acre, sufficient to pay of the Interest and Principle in a limited number of years - such rent to begin within 3 or 4 years - those settlers to have a smaller allotment of Land, which will provide for more persons.
My lord being fully satisfied in my own mind that if some one or other of these measures, is adopted by his Majestys Ministers, the Labouring Man will take Confidence in the Interest taken to mend his Situation, and will leave his native Country with chearfulness to reap the Benefits by such means liberally given and secured to him by Government. On the other hand, my Lord, please to consider what will be the state of the Colony, and the expence of retaining it, if the Capitalist is allowed to ?? their measures with a high hand, and goad the Labouring Man to a state of desperation, by first taking him from his native land, and then depriving him of that which Parliament and the Crown granted for his exclusive benefit.
My lord with due respect and submission I beg leave to state that any communication your Lordship may be pleased to favour me with will be duly attended to.
I am, your Lordships humble & obedient servant
PS I much question if the influence of the Capitalist will not reach the Colony first, to buy up all the stocks and oblige the settler to pay an advanced price for his necessarys.
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I am about joining a party on the Principles of mutual support and Assistance by uniting our few Pounds for the purpose of Colonizeing - I beg leave to ask your Lordship if articles signed here by the whole of the Party will be binding on each and every one at the Colony, - if his Majesty's Ministers will sanction it - and will it be necessary to have it stamped having saved about 60£ i should not like to risk it unsaftely - I am not singular on this question, I have heard many want an explanation on the same subject.
[Comment in GOULBURN's hand:Acknowledge receipt of his request and in reply to the latter part of his letter acquaint him that there is no objection to any no. of persons uniting but that in any proposal which they may make to Govt they must select some person to be the medium of their communication]