Every thing is jobbed Female Emigration to Australia, &c. (From a Correspondent.)
Our penal settlements appear to be very indifferently managed; and we are glad to find that such a man as Sir John Franklin is appointed to govern Van Diemen’s Land; and the sooner an improved system is adopted for New South Wales, the better. Not only are men sent out to govern who are ignorant of human nature, a knowledge of which is essential to the management of the heterogenous materials of our penal colonies; but when the Government at home opens its eyes to any proposal for improvement,it is mismanaged. Our rulers have the sense to see the importance of sending our respectable females to these colonies ; but they trust an Emigration Committee, and this committee trusts individuals who desire to make the most of the concern ; and we are glad to have an opportunity of making the public acquainted with the mode in which the business is conducted, in the hope that some humane Member of Parliament will take the subject up. The mode of managing female emigration is this :–
A temptation, in the first place, is held out of a free passage to Australia. A ship is hired, and this ship must ave a full cargo, to satisfy the owners. Advertisements are issued, and instead of hard working females, a parcel of decayed governesses, dressmakers, &c. &c., with a small mixture of better articles, is made up. But if, as almost always happens, a sufficient number of these to fill the ship does not come forward, a supply of sweepings is taken from a workhouse! Here, then, is such a mixture of good, bad, and indifferent, to the amount of two hundred and upwards, that there is enough of evil to corrupt the good. As to the comfort of the poor creatures they are crammed four into one bed !
Such is the power of jobbing, that we happen to know the fact, that some young women of respectability who wished to go to New South Wales with their friends, were refused a free passage, unless they went to London to go in the Government ship ! Thus we see that the interests of agents and shipowners overcomes the interests of the colonies, and actually obstructs the attainment of the object in view. We find blindness a very common ailment in every department of Government ; and however desirous our rulrs may be to reform every abuse, and to adopt useful measures, they are often thwarted by the necessity (which ought not to exist) of conciliating harpies and leeches, which devour the public substance, and suck the public blood. Reform has, as yet, only begun to clean the outside of the platter ; and it may not reach the inside in our day. It is the duty, however, of all patriots, to sharpen the knife that is to cut out corruption from the heart of the commonwealth, by means of exposure of every abuse that comes to be known, and to support those who are willing to apply it.
As in a matter of so much importance nothing should be concealed, there is no hesitation in stating that it consists with our knowledge that, after the Emigration Committee in Van Diemen’s Land, detailing the deplorable consequences of sending out young women from workhouses, a ship has actually sailed, nearly filled up as we have described. When any representation is made to a public office, the matter is said to belong to another department ; and that other department says it is not its province to interfere ; and thus humanity is made the shuttlecock to the battledore of jobbing and the blindness of office.
If our brethren of the press will take up this, the inhuman job will be put an end to.
Citation: Scotsman (Edinburgh, United Kingdom), 16 July 1836, available at the Scissors and Paste Database, http://www.scissorsandpaste.net/259.