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H.—No. 5.

18

AD INTERIM REPORT (No. I.) OE THE

be detected by persons conversant with the habits and language of the Chinese, as the packages containing the smuggled articles are marked in Chinese characters denoting the nature of their contents. I could give some very curious information on these matters, which came to my knowledge when I was Commissioner of Customs at Melbourne, but the limits of this report forbid. 7. European labour, 10s. per day; Chinese labour, 6s. per day ; domestic female servants, European, 20s. per week ; domestic male servants, European, 255. per week ; Chinese domestic servants, 15s. per week —tho domestic servants with board and lodging. Europeans cannot obtain the necessaries of life much under £1 per week ; board and lodging at from 255. to 30s. per week. The Chinese can live at about 10s. per week. I have, &c, W. J. Steward, Esq, M.H.R, ViifCENT Pyke, Chairman, Chinese Immigration Committee. AVarden. Mr. C. Broad, to Mr. AY. J. Steward. Sir, — Charleston, Province of Nelson, 9th September, 1871. I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your telegram upon the subject of Chineso Immigration ; and before replying thereto, beg to lay before the Committee some account of Chinese immigration to A rictoria, between the years 1852 to 1863, inclusive, during which period, as Government Emigration Officer at the port of Melbourne, all persons arriving and departing came under my immediate observation. The Chinese commenced to arrive in Victoria in small numbers at the latter end of 1852, and in larger numbers up to the end of 1855. At that time, the vessels invariably sailed from Hong Kong, which being a British possession, the provisions of " The Imperial Passengers Act, 1852," had to be complied with before the vessel's departure. Amongst those provisions were two by which the number of persons carried was regulated : Ist. That only one person should be carried for every two tons of the vessel's registered tonnage, including the master, crew, and cabin passengers. 2nd. That the vessel should carry a passenger list from the port of clearance, signed by the Emigration Officer. A penalty of not exceeding £5 was imposed for every passenger in excess of the number allowed to be carried, or in excess of the names on the passenger list. Notwithstanding this, however, hardly a vessel arrived but had large numbers in excess. In one instance, a vessel called the Ameer had some two hundred in excess, and from fifty to one hundred was not at all uncommon. The Magistrates before whom I brought these cases, inflicted a penalty of £2 per head in every instance but one, and in that case a penalty of £3 per head was inflicted. These fines were paid in every instance; aud no doubt the vessel, having obtained from £8 to £10 per head passage money, could well afford to escape with a penalty of £2. Further legislation having become necessary, partly on account of the easy manner in which the Act was evaded, and partly on account of pressure brought to bear from without, in consequence of the objection of the miners to the Chinese, an Act was passed by the Colonial Legislature, called " The Chinese Passengers Act." This imposed a capitation tax of £10 per head upon every Chinese passenger arriving in the Colony ; and further, reduced the number of persons to be carried to one to every twenty-five tons. This latter course, however, had to be abandoned, as clashing with the Imperial Passengers Act —the vessels sailing from one British port to another. The capitation tax, however, at once produced a diminution in the numbers brought, and a change in the class of Chinese introduced. Of course the Act was frequently evaded, by getting the Chinese to sign the ship's articles as sailors, or by landing them in a neighbouring colony, and letting them walk overland, but still the immense tide of Mongolian immigration was at once stopped; nor although the Act has now been repealed for some years, has it ever assumed its former gigantic proportions. It was found that we had two classes of Chinese arriving—namely, the Canton men, and the Amoy men, the latter fewest in number, and as a class better than those from Canton, who were picked up anywhere or anyhow from the small villages round Canton. The system that obtained then, and is still the case, is that the Chinese merchant obtains the men to be sent down, forwarding them in charge of trusty agents, advancing the passage money and outfit, &c. This has to be repaid; and it therefore follows, that for some considerable time after arrival, the produce of their labour goes to the person who had entered into the speculation of shipping them ; and thus it is that for some two years after arrival they consume but very little, and are working what is called a " dead horse." I shall now proceed to reply to the queries contained in your telegram. 1. State opinion of the effect upon the gold fields, of Chinese immigration.—ln answer to this question, it is very well known, that a very strong feeling exists amongst the mining proportion against the Chinese. The riots at Lambing Flat, in New South Wales, and at various places in Victoria, arose entirely from this source, and in conversation with miners you will hardly find one who looks upon them favourably. I have not been able, however, to obtain a complete explanation as to why this feeling exists. Some say "They are such thieves;" others, "They spoil the water for our washing;"— but, there is no question that by the presence of Chinese on the gold fields a feeling of bitterness is engendered, and in my opinion, not altogether deserved, but very much of it on the principle of " giving a dog a bad name, and hanging him." 2. What is the influence of the Chinese upon the general conduct of the mining population, especially as to gambling and disturbance of the peace ?—I do not think tho Chinese would exercise any influence upon the mining population. So far as gambling is concerned, it is confined to themselves; and the only matter likely to lead to disturbance of the peace would be the bitter feeling referred to in my answer to the last question. The Chinese would certainly not be the aggressors. 3. Is there any danger to the morality of the community, especially young children and girls ?— I think not on the gold fields ; but no doubt in large cities, such as Melbourne, great immorality exists. But, as a whole, the statistics of crime compare favourably with the European population. This may be partly owing to the difficulty of detection, but, with the exception of petty larcenies, other crimes are not frequent.

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