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The Pleas for Emigration.

From ‘The Western Daily Mercury’- 17th July 1880

Lord Dunraven, on Monday night, in the House of Lords, expressed a hope that the Government would consider some means of relieving distress in Ireland by emigration. This is all very well as far as it goes, but the cure of distress by means of emigration is only pushing off the evil day. Ireland is not yet over peopled. There is space enough in it for far more than its present population, if the natural advantages of the fertile land could be utilised. Mr. Gladstone’s Government are endeavouring, in a time of distress, to protect the people, by exceptional means, from being driven from their homes and perishing for want of food. This is more needed just now than emigration. Yet the measure of the Government seems almost certain to be defeated in the Lords, even if it pass the Commons in anything like its present form. Emigration may be made a great means of usefulness – a great safety valve – in the future. England never yet, save in a few instances, has colonized quite after the manner of Tyre – never, save in those few instances, has sent out, as it were, readymade nations. That this could be done on a grand scale even now no-one can doubt. That it could easily have been done while the lands of Australia and New Zealand were inappropriate is certain. If it had been so the great nations in the Pacific had by this time been greater. The feeling is growing in favour of emigration on a national scale. But the feeling is also growing that no system of emigration can be put forward as a substitute for healthy and ameliorative legislation at home.

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