Emigration to New Zealand– The Chartists Again.
( From the Glasgow Argus..
On Monday night a public meeting, chiefly composed of the working classes, was held in the Justiciary Court Hall, Glasgow, for the purpose of memorializing Lord John Russell in favour of obtaining the Lord Provost in the chair. The hall was crowded to excess, and it was perfectly evident from the first that the Chartists had mustered in great strength to carry out their usual course of obstruction to the particular business of the evening.–Mr T. Gillespie proposed a resolution in favour of emigration to New Zealand through the medium of funds raised by the sale of lands in the colony, and addressed the meeting at some length in support of the resolution.–Mr R. Malcolm, jun. a young lad, and a Chartist spouter, after a long speech, proposed an amendment; to the effect that while the meeting was favourable to emigration to New Zealand, or any other part of the world, by those so disposed, they objected to any application being made for a grant of public money for any such purpose–that they were opposed to the question of emigration being allowed to occupy public attention, &c. and concluded with the statement that emigration would not afford even temporary relief to the oppressed operatives, and that bad laws were the chief cause of all their present sufferings, &c. This amendment which was supported by the most trifling arguments we ever heard brought forward in public, was of course loudly cheered by the Chartists. The Lord Provost repeatedly explained that he had agreed to take the chair on the understanding that the subject of emigration to New Zealand was to occupy the attention ; but here a matter, perfectly foreign to the business for which they were convened, was introduced by way of amendment ; there was an attack made upon the general policy of the country–and he had positively to state that, if such an amendment was carried, he would not remain in the chair. This was received by cries for “a new chairman” and much confusion, one party cheering, and the other hissing and yelling alternately during the greater part of the evening. A discussion followed, in which a boy named Jack took a prominent part ; and it became perfectly evident that the Chartist speakers were woefully ignorant of the subject they had the impudence to discuss. It was gravely and indignantly averred, that by going to New Zealand, the working men would incur the risk of being swallowed by cannibals! Till informed of the contrary, the Chartists seemed to think that the means of emigration were to be supplied from the public exchequer ; and when told that the funds were to be raised by the sale of lands in New Zealand, one of them sagely observed that it would be much more humane and just to appropriate the proceeds of those sales of land to employ it in sending out emigrants ! Another favourite argument was, that every person had a right to subsist in the land that gave him birth, and that it was barbarous and cruel to send a man, however wretched, out of his native country ; also, that emigration would produce no benefit to society at home, as the places of those sent off would soon be filled by others. Of course, if these arguments had always been held good, and acted upon, the whole human family would, to this day, have been crowded together in the cradle of our race in the East, provided only the thing had been possible; the extension of mankind to other parts of the world must have been wicked, and cruel, and useless–for “for every inhabitant of a country is entitled to a subsistence in the land that gave him birth,” and, on his removal to another land, his place would just be filled by others ! The above is a mere specimen of the worse than childish arguments used by the Chartist spouters, and which the men who are now ” knocking loudly at the door of the constitution for admission,” cheered as if they had been fraught with the choicest wisdom !–Mr John Crawford, Secretary to the New Zealand Land Company, endeavoured, by some sensible remarks, to place the question of emigration to New Zealand on its proper footing ; but in vain ; they were determined to have the charter only–and till then starving workmen, willing, but unable, to emigrate, must starve on. On a division, the amendment proposed by Mr Malcolm was carried by a large majority, and, after a vote of thanks had been given to the Lord Provost, the meeting broke up. This was not done, however, till the Chartists were called upon to be at their posts at the meeting to be held to-day to address the Queen–to render themselves, of course, a little more odious by another stretch of their obstructive power–if they can.
Citation: Scotsman (Edinburgh, United Kingdom), 05 December 1840, available at the Scissors and Paste Database, http://www.scissorsandpaste.net/296.