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mous. The estimate for cost of passage given in the “Digest of Evidence” above referred to, is £30 for each family, or £6 for each individual; say, in all, £6,000,000, or £600,000 per annum. This estimate is founded on the evidence of John R. Godley, who seems also to think it essential that the emigrants should be a well selected class, comprising efficient labourers. This selection might be very useful to Canada, but would not so well serve the object of relieving Ireland. But even when properly located, a large amount would still be required for their employment and support, until they were fully in a condition to support themselves.” It is much to be feared, that they might consider themselves relieved from the necessity of over exertion, when they found the government bound to maintain them. Would not the £16,000,000 or £20,000,000 which might be required to carry out an effective system of emigration, prove much more useful if laid out at home 2 If facilities be afforded, by which this amount may be expended in the various works, which, in many parts of Ireland, are requisite, before the ground can be properly cultivated, will it not, in fact, afford the means of support at home to this million of people, either by direct employment, or by its indirect effects 2
* It appears, from the evidence of the same gentleman, that the cost per head incurred by government, for the passage and location of emigrants sent out to Upper Canada, in the year 1825, amounted to £21 5s., which would be about £106 5s. for an average family.—Digest of Evidence, page 568.
Another objection deserves to be noticed, namely, that any plan involving government assistance to emigrants, would greatly interfere with private emigration. Those who desire to go, instead of working to procure the means of paying for their passage, will spend their time in endeavouring to obtain a free passage at the expense of the state. The number emigrating at their own expense may be seriously diminished from this cause.
The Cultivation of the Waste Lands in Ireland has often been proposed, both as a means of improving the condition of the unemployed population, and of developing the resources of the country. No one can doubt the important results which must ensue, from a large application of capital and labour to the improvement of the soil. It is exactly what is wanted to raise the condition of the country. But the question for consideration is, how this can be best effected; whether by government interference, or by leaving it to private enterprise : and whether it be more judicious to bring additional land into cultivation ; or to expend the same amount of labour in draining or otherwise improv
ing the lands now cultivated, so as to render them more productive. It is well known that much waste land has been brought under culture for several years past. This has been effected, chiefly by allowing cottiers to take in a portion of the mountain side ; and when they had tilled it for a few years, and partially reclaimed it, calling on them either to give it up to the landlord, or to pay a rent. In some cases, they probably retained it, and became permanent tenants : but in others, they gave it up, and commenced anew; not unfrequently ending near the top of the mountain, at the bottom of which they commenced many years before. Thus cultivation crept up the mountain sides, or encroached on the secluded valleys heretofore untilled. This mode of reclamation required no capital on the part of the landlord. The cottier or tenant was the sole agent. He obtained a bare subsistence by very severe labour, and rarely effected any improvement in his own condition. It was practicable, on account of the facility with which the potato was cultivated; and it is very doubtful whether it be practicable with any other crop. But when the reclamation of the waste land has been proposed as an important means of improvement, the intention has been, that it should be done on a large scale, with money to be advanced from the Treasury. Such was no doubt the mode intended by the government, in the measure proposed at the commencement of last session of parliament; but which was afterwards dropped. This plan seems free from many objections, which may be urged against any national plan of emigration. It is less expensive. Its effect in relieving the labour-market will be immediately felt. It interferes less with private operations. It cannot injure those who are the objects of the intended benefits. It must increase the productive capability and general resources of the country. Still it seems very questionable, whether this may be the best plan of effecting, either the employment of the people or the cultivation of the land. All attempts to direct the application of labour or capital are dangerous, and quite at variance with those principles of free action as respects trade, which are now generally admitted, and which are of universal application. Remove the existing difficulties which prevent the cultivation of these wastes; faci. litate their sale and transfer, whether in smaller or larger portions, and if the speculation will pay, they will be reclaimed by private enterprise: if not, it is better to leave them as they now are.”
* The authority of Sir Robert Peel may be given in confirmation of this view of the subject:—“With respect to the cultivation of
A most important question still exists; whether it may not be more profitable to bring the lands now under culture into a more efficient state for cultivation, instead of attempting to reclaim the wastes; and this question will be decided correctly, if left to the decision of individual interests, uncontrouled by legislative enactment. The parliamentary assistance, offered by means of the several drainage acts lately passed, and by the act of last session for facilitating the improvement of land in Ireland, affords great facilities, which have been largely taken advantage of, and which will probably be made still more generally useful hereafter. The applications for loans under the last named act have been very numerous ; but not having yet come into effective operation, it is too early to speak of their results. Still we may anticipate that much improvement will be effected, giving extensive employment for the present, and increasing the future capabilities of the country.
Some persons suppose that these improvements, when completed, will enable the proprietor to
“bogs and waste lands in Ireland, I cannot help thinking, that with the “encouragement there has been to employ private capital in the culti“vation of land which would repay the outlay, if the noble, lord's bill “for permitting the sale of encumbered estates should be effective, “these enterprises for reclaiming waste lands will be undertaken by pri“vate individuals, if they are likely to be profitable; and if not, then “public money would only be thrown away on them.”—Times, Feb. 3,