Mr. E. T. WAKEFIELD
on the subject of
The Scheme may be briefly stated as follows:-
1. That the Government should purchase from the Colonial Governments suitable situated tracts of land in Australia.
2. Divide them into homesteads of 80 acres each.
3. Build thereon durable houses of wood or concrete.
4. Remove to them such emigrant families as choose to go voluntarily.
5. Provide each homestead with farming implements and seeds for a first crop, and, where necessary, open credits at district stores for the families' support till the first crop.
6. The homesteads, with an annual fee farm rent of 2s. 6d. per acre, or such other sum as will in each case pay 4½ per cent. on the cost incurred in the families' settlement, redeemable by the emigrants.
7. The average cost of emigrating each family and its settlement, if conducted on a large scale by a Government, would, it is estimated amount to 200l. [See App. No. 1.]
8. No rent to be payable the first two years, half the rent the third year, and the full rent the fourth year.
9. The emigrants should go straight from their old homes to their new ones.
Had such a measure been adopted 10 years ago, it would have ere this drawn off the surplus population, and thereby conferred more happiness and averted more misery than has, I believe, ever come within the scope of one measure to effect in the same period.
Thousands of families now dragging out a miserable existence on mountain and bog in Ireland, with its cheerless climate, would in their happy Australian homes, under its bright sun, live and bless your Lordship, and every other member of Her Majesty's Government who had done them this great good.
In this spirit, above all others, I would respectfully press the consideration of this subject on your Lordship, believing from your public utterances, that there is no statesman in England better qualified to appreciate it.
My Lord I beg to conclude with a grave statement which I make deliberately.
It is my firm conviction that unless this great pressure of population in Ireland (which recent legislation must increase) is relieved by some merciful measure like this, the separation of Ireland from Great Britain is certain, then civil war, and then the reconquest of Ireland will follow.
My Lord, I maintain that so long as this pressure of population retains a large section of the people steeped in poverty, verging on famine, so long will their leaders say (and they have a right to say) "See the cruel condition that an oppressive Government keeps you in!" and so long as this lasts, the people will remain seditious (and why not?) and will never be without leaders to trade on their sedition.
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