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OUR SYDNEY LETTER, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 343, 13 May 1881
OUR SYDNEY LETTER
(from our own correspondent.) Sydney, April 30. It is now not at all unlikely that Parliament will assemble in the course of a few days. Sir Henry Parkes is at present in Melbourne, and yesterday it was learnt that he had interviewed Mr Berry, with a view of getting the Victorian Parliament to meet immediately, to deal with a decisive measure on the Chinese question. Also, that Sir Henry Parkes was to frame a Bill and submit it to the Chief Secretary for Victoria, ~ and if Mr Berry concurred in the ■ provisions, both Premiers would introduce the same Bill in their respective' Parliaments. , '
The Mongolian invasion here is the general topic, and it being a mat-' ter of Intercolonial and,! news being unusually scarce.this;.week, I therefore will take the opportunity of present! ng to your readers a rough out-line of the doings of the “ Chows,” in what they consider a “ Land of Promise.” The newly arrived Chinese hail from the neighborhood of Canton and : Macao, where, owing to the failure of the crops, the farmers were unable,.not , only to pay wages, but to find food for the men they employed. They had only one alternative—leave, or die of 1 starvation, and the only country which would receive them was Australia. With few exceptions, the yellow strangers arrived in Sydney without .a ~ penny in their pockets. Despite all assertions to the contrary, it is an indis->. put able fact that several Chinese chants here were cognisant, and moved in the irruption now taken place, months and months ago, and further* if they choose to impart the knowledge, in their possession at present regarding the number of Mongolians likely to arrive, public indignation would, be greater than it is. It may be mentioned that the consignees of these living cargoes of Asiatic humanity feel tin-. comfortable at the excitement they‘have 1 aroused, and consequently, they.pre very reticent, and evasive to an unusual degree; although, to one acquainted with Chinese character, it is known that it would be practically impossible ' to ; get the slightest reliable respecting the number now swarming to our shores. A significant fact in connection with the arrival of the ' Mongols is that ■ each ship was ac-D companied by several Chinese who had previously been in Australia, and who act ashore as guides and friends. The<e can be little doubt that these Australian Chinese have been acting) as immigration agents in China for*; capitalists, who derive large from the introduction of the cheap labor, and, owing to their circulating glowing accounts of the easy .man.uer,. wealth is acquired in New South Wales, it has caused a universal desire among the lower classes to emigrate, and their minds becoming inflamed ...with, the brilliant prospects described to , them, that they will stand at nothing to y this colony. Families are clubbing together in order to send one of their number to the land of promise. Men ‘ pledge their wives and families, 1 and ' ' sell their liberty for a peripd of years, to get to New South Wales. The,;, modus opemndi of the agents in the Flowery Land appears to be as follows —Emissaries from. Chinese firms, with: agencies in Sydney, go about extolling Australasia; and as soon as they, think they have a sufficient number- of recruits together, they are sent to Hong Kong and coopedup lilla steamer ... is 1 They have to sigh - a ; 1 binding agreement to serve a certain time, at whatever the shipping firm may direct, and to pay passage money,. 42 dollars. They are hot allowed to gp } about Hong Kong, and . are therefore literally slaves to the agents. All the immigrants who arrived here were clad in their Oriental costuihe ; but] in order to divert attention, those whb were granted the sacred permission of, per-, < ambulating our streets were attired by| certain Chinamen in- old clothes pi European style. The greater number of the immigrants who left Sydney are - > now employed in the stanniferous regions ; the result of this will be to throw hundreds of European miners out of work, and compel many to break up their homes, and seek lab'df elsewhere. To this the Britisher must : put his back up, to see their wives and familes deprived of means of existence, and in their own colony simply to make room for hordes of hateful f whose habits are digustingand whose ini- ? morality has long since shocked the civilised world. It is well known that all the Celestials earn in a country they immediately transfer to China, cony. sequent! v wherever they are,, owing to 1 the non-circulation of their money, they - are bad colonists. Before this , last irruption of Chinese, Tenterfield was populated with about 1,600 Europeans ! and 1,000 Chinamen. Now it is estimated that over 2,000 of the almond-eyed are in that district Moreover, the Chinese are nearly all adult males, while the Caucasian population comprises men, women, and children. Really this is a pretty state’ - of things for a young and rising colony! A few, but very few, of the, arrivals intend to proceed overland to Queensland to evade the poll-tax., _ Some have engaged themselves' to . market-gardeners in the suburbs, Some/’ of the European clothiers and bootmakers in the lower part of George street thought they would run a trade with the “Chows,” but had the wind taken out of their sails by four Chinese storekeepers starting. Of course their own countrymenwill • \ patronise them. This 'shows that k* ' large influx of Chinese are anticipated; if not, it is hardly possible that the r Chinese storekeepers would have laid .’ in such large stocks. Nearly all the new arrivals were domiciled in the stores in Lower George street and Waterloo. As may be expected, they were packed together in a manner, . which prevented the rules of ordinary decency, let alone: sanitary measures; being observed. However, my readers can judge for themselves, the following being a description of one of the camps of the immigrants from the Flowery , r
Land: —The establishment presents a fair appearance to George street north, the front part of it being well stocked? .. with Mongolian, merchandise. Theback of the building is fitted up with small, but numerous bunks, packed closely together. There is' a ! small'” 1 ' vard, very dirty, and twp bidsheets.' 1 * During the day the new chums arq ..
cooped up like cattle in a oakj They wear their national dre-s aim look tired and weary. That child l --• and bland smile, as described !»y i . t Hart, is conspicuous by its absence, .-s also is the usual jabber indulged in 1 v Chinese. European visitors are gazed at nervously, as if they were frightened of their company. The scene at night, viewed by a dim light, could scarcely be called picturesque, although novel and instructive. There in the room to watch the weary-looking faces of the closely packed Chinese, relieved only by,',the glitter of their black, snake- . looking eyes gazing anxiously through the semi-darkness, would be a grand • subject for an artist icquiring some-, thing repulsive to depict. Parties visit the den nightly out of curosity, and, in the darkness, often walk over a dozen of their prostrate bodies, without a murmur escaping any of their lips, although the kicks received must have caused pain They seem used to being treated in their own country with contumely, and apparently do not expect any different here. It is fortunate there has been no bad
weather of late, otherwise there would have been a great deal of sickness. Some of the immigrants presented wretched spectacles, being only clad in very thin blankets, while others lay on the boards without any other covering but their ordinary clothes. In winter time their miserable condition would have been rendered doubly wretched. In feet,' they must have died of cold. The smell emitted by the crowded heathens’ was intensely abominable, and, taking everything into consideration, the accommodation was a disgrace to civilisation. Very few of them are educated, and as the vast majority of the Chinese are educated up to a certain standard, it at once confirms the impression generally held that the immigrants are the slaves of speculation capitalists. Public sympathy is strongly elicited here in favor of the unfortunate people who have been led into a peculiar position owing to the blundering of those directing the Marquis De Ray’s ill.fated expedition to New Ireland. Those who are the greatest sufferers are three gentlemen who were appointed : to offices of command in connection with the affair. They are Spanish gentlemen, all of whom have been officers in ■ the Army of Spain, and are now rendered destitute. The first lieutenant, ' Remolius, bad charge of the immigrants • from Noumea to Sydney, and the surviyersofthe starved peasantry cannot find words sufficient to praise the kindly treatment he bestowed on them. Subscriptions have been started with . the view of relieving these gentlemen’s wants, and to arrange for their return to their native country. It is a familiar adage that “It’s an ! ill wind that blows nobody good,” and we ! have had a practV.d illustration in case of the reported small pox on lipard a steamer which arrived here a few days ago from Cooktown. With, a -i wholesome dread of possible results, mothers have been wailing with unvaccinated children upon the medical fratfernity in large numbers, and a . thriving practice has been done in the ' application of lymph, Mr John Conway, so well known in . connection with cricket circles, has left Sydney for Melbourne, having received •the appointment of editor io a Mel’%ourtie: sporting journal. Major Smith the Minister for Education in Victoria, arrived in Sydney on Tuesday, in the Wakatipu, from Newi Zealand, where he has been on a lour for his health, which has been grea.ly improved. '• The hpn. gentleman remains in Sydney for a tew days, with _ the intention of inspecting some of our public schools.
OUR SYDNEY LETTER, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 343, 13 May 1881
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