Local Intelligence. CHINESE IMMIGRATION.
A public meeting was held at the Courthouse, Nelson, on Thursday last, for the purpose of considering " what steps should be taken to prevent any Chinese immigraiion into the province ;" W. L. Wrey, Esq., in the chair. The Chairman briefly stated the objects of the meeting, and said that it was his impression, that of all the debased people on the face of the earth, none equalled the Chinese in their immoral, wretched, and he might say diabolical habits [hear, hear] ; and he thought the people of Nelson were called upon to endeavour to prevent such a race of beings from landing on these shores. He was glad to find by the large attendance that it was a matter in which the inhabitants interested themselves, and he should like to hear the opinion of any one present upon the subject. Mr. Rankin said that from all he had heard and read of the Chinese they were a filthy and despicable lot ; but he did not see how their landing was to be prevented, unless by memorializing the Superintendent to summon the Council and pass a poll tax. He considered it to be the duty of the Nelson public to try and prevent such an immigration, even if they had to load the port guns [hear, hear], Mr. Barnett considered that it was quite feasible to keep the Chinese from landing, by taking up arms against them, as was done some few years ago when an attack from the Maories was apprehended, on which occasion he was the first volunteer that enlisted [hear, hear, and cheers]. Mr. Sparrow was totally unacquainted with the moral habits of the Chinese in their own country, but thought that before any stringent resolutions were passed by the meeting, a strong case should be made out against them. Mr. G. Witney said that, according to a newspaper which he had in his possession, there were about 60,000 Chinese iv Australia, only about six of whom were married ; which fact of itself was sufficiently suggestive of the truth of the assertion that many abominations were practised by these people. It was no use hunting for fine language to express that which could be best said in plain words; and he hoped that if ever the Chinese should land here, his sons would some day be strong enough to oppose such ; and in case of such a thing happening during his own lifetime, he would invite his fellow-settlers to go down to the beach with him and say to the Chinese : — "I'll be if you shall land" [loud cheers]. Mr. Collins agreed with almost all that had been said by the last speaker, and thought that if a vessel laden with Chinese immigrants appeared in the harbour, it would be the duty of every good citizen to go down and prevent their landing [hear, hear]. Mr. Norgrove, from some experience in Australia, could testify to the filthy and degrading habits of the Chinese in that country. The people in Australia were now very anxious to get rid of these people ; and, as prevention was better than cure, he thought that the people of Nelson would be justified in doing all in their power to prevent the contamination to which an influx of the Chinese would expose them [cheers]. Mr. Webb was glad to see so much interest manifested in this matter by the public. But he thought that the only proper course for them to pursue was the constitutional one of memorializing the Government to take the necessary steps in the matter. Should the Government, however, pay no heed to their supplication, then it would be their duty, as Englishmen, to go and do their best to prevent the Chinese from landing. He had no doubt that the Nelson Gold-fields would attract the Chinese here, as the Australian Gold-fields had enticed them there ; and as there was a poll tax of £\0 upon every Chinaman landed in Australia, that would be an additional inducement for them to come here. He would move : — 1. That, in the opinion of this meeting, it is desirable that a memorial be prepared to the General and Provincial Governments, praying them to adopt such measures as will prevent the immigration of subjects of the Chinese Empire into this province. Mr. Norgrove seconded the resolution. Carried unanimously. Mr. Sharp wished to know what steps would be taken, supposing a ship with Chinese immigrants came in on the morrow 1 The Chairman said that he would take that opportunity of mentioning that, in course of conversation that morning, he had been told by a gentleman that it was his intention shortly to proceed to Sydney, where he should make arrangements for the passage to Nelson of some five hundred Chinese, of whose intention to proceed to this port advices had been already received. Mr. Collins proposed :—: — 2. That a Volunteer Roll should be formed, on which all males should be invited to enrol themselves, to be called "The Anti- Chinese Volunteers," for the purpose of preventing any Chinese from landing in this Province. Seconded by Mr. J. L. Bailey.
Mr. Travers supported the resolution, although he was of course aware that the course proposed was an illegal one ; yet it was a mitigated evil, and was only intended to prevent the Chinese from landing until more constitutional means could be adopted. The resolution was carried unanimously. Mr. Akersten said that, having had three years' experience in Melbourne, he could corroborate all that had been said about the filthy and immoral habits of the Chinese, and he thought their landing in this province should, if possible, be prevented. He would move the following resolution, although some part of it had been forestalled by the preceding one t— - That this meeting is of opinion that a polltax of £10 per head is wholly insufficient to prevent Chined Immigration to this Province ; and that, in lieu thereof, a polltax of £100 per head should be levied ; and that further, in the meantime believing that within six months we shall have 5,000 Chinese immigrants in this province, I propose to do as the Cape colonists did with the convicts— organize and resist by physical force the landing of the same, should the Government in the meantime not take measures for stopping the landing the same. After some little discussion the resolution was withdrawn. Mr. Travers said, that he considered that any one who introduced, or encouraged the introduction of, Chinese immigrants into this province after what had been heard of their character in the neighbouring colonies, would deservedly be looked upon as an enemy to the whole province, and ought to be treated as a Chinese and put away [a voice : Lynch him]. He would move the following resolution :—: — 3. That, in the opinion of this meeting, any person giving encouragement or assistance to the immigration of Chinese into this province should bo looked upon as a public enemy, and would deserve the reprobation of the whole body of his fellow-citizens. Seconded by Mr. Barnett. Carried unanimously. Proposed by Mr. Webb, seconded by Mr. Turner, and carried unanimously :—: — 4. That the following gentlemen be appointed a Committee to prepare the memorial mentioned in the first resolution, and the rules of action of the Volmi' teer corps, viz., Messrs. Wrey, Collins, O. Curtis, Norgrove, Akersten, Askew, Rankin, and Crowther ; three to be a quorum. It was proposed by Mr. W. M. Harris, seconded by Mr. Durrant, and carried unanimously : — 5> That a copy of the proceedings of this meeting be forwarded to the diggers at the Aorere j and that the Committee be requested to invite the co-operation of the diggers in this matter without delay. A vote of thanks to the Chairman concluded the proceedings. We omitted to state, however, that although the meeting was held in the middle of the day, and therefore at an inconvenient time to many persons, the crowded state of the Court-house proved the deep interest which our fellow settlers take in a matter which is so likely to affect the moral welfare of the province.
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Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, Volume XVI, Issue 40, 15 August 1857
Local Intelligence. CHINESE IMMIGRATION. Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, Volume XVI, Issue 40, 15 August 1857
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