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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 24

From Mr. H. W. Farnall to Mr. A. O. Ottywell. Belfast, Feb. 12, 1873

page 6

From Mr. H. W. Farnall to Mr. A. O. Ottywell.

Dear Sir,—


I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of 11th February, in which you say, on the part of the Agent-General, "I am of opinion it will be well to instruct the local agents to send the papers of applicants to this office direct; time will be saved in correspondence by this plan, and the commission accounts of the agents will be more easily adjusted."

As my opinion is the very reverse of this, and as I have devoted a great deal of time to obtain results the very opposite of those likely to be obtained should the Agent-General carry out the intention expressed in this sentence, I would feel obliged by your informing me, at your earliest convenience, whether the opinion expressed is simply intended as an opinion, or whether I am to look upon it as a specific instruction on the part of the Agent-General to alter the course of my procedure in this matter in future, I would venture to point out in support of my own opinion on this subject,—

1. That it is absolutely impossible to exercise from the London office that local supervision, and, if necessary, personal inspection of emigrants before approval, which at present acts as a wholesome check in preventing the selection of emigrants utterly unsuited for New Zealand,

2. That under the altered regulations, where much greater facilities are given for emigration, a still closer supervision is necessary; and if the new-regulation concerning money advances to emigrants (for passages to London) is to be administered by the sub-agents, the door will be opened for a considerable amount of abuse of these privileges.

3. I have taken great pains, and have had a great deal of trouble, in instructing the agents in their duties, which, simple as they are, required a deal of personal explanation and correspondence. I fail to see how transferring this business, hitherto transacted by this office, to the London office, will save the latter correspondence. I am at all times careful to see that the sub-agents' names are legibly written across the top of the forms, so there need be no difficulty in crediting each agent with his proper commission. I also keep books showing what each is entitled to, in case of any difficulty arising.

4. Should the supervision of the Sub-agents and the inspection of emigrants be removed from me, I am at a loss to see in what my duties will consist.

With respect to the absolute necessity of local supervision, I would point out the disgraceful disclosures concerning the class of emigrants shipped on board the unfortunate North fleet, married men shipped as single, and men shipped as navvies that had never handled a pick or shovel * * *