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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 62

People we do not Want

People we do not Want.

Don't let anyone suppose, however, that I am holding out a golden bait for the British public to clutch at. I wish to guard myself against being misunderstood, and I do not wish anyone to be misled by anything I have said, or may say. I will therefore state plainly some of the classes we do not require in the colony. Generally and broadly, I would first state that we do not need any accessions to the population of our towns and cities, unless in the shape of those who have ample resources and independent means. The same causes which are tending in this "land of the brave and the free" to bring page 38 about the steady flocking of the rural population to the towns and cities are at work even in New Zealand. I admit it is very nice, for those who can manage it, to live where the advantages of our civilization and social life may be enjoyed to the full. But unfortunately there are far too many (who are consumers merely, and not producers), and who to their own detriment and the injury of their families are simply existing in the centres of population, when they might be living a more free, independent, and healthful though more solitary life in the country. This is certainly true of New Zealand, where there are abundant facilities and inducements towards a country life. Well, our towns are already congested by the accession of those who only assist in flooding the labour markets, and cause an undue competition for the work that is available. Hence we do not require any more labourers or artizans, and most certainly none of the clerical class. I mean those who look for positions in offices, banks, insurance companies, and the like. Let no such look to New Zealand town life as a field for them. Our towns are full, many of them too full of such classes as I have named, and I know of many splendid tradesmen who cannot get one week's work in a month in their own particular trade.

As to accountants, clerks, &c., I have often had occasion to advertise for such when a vacancy occurred, and my box at the P.O. has been filled with letters from applicants, including decayed merchants down to schoolboy's, all anxious to have light and gentlemanly employment in an office, rather than think of the hard and uncongenial life of a settler, and most willing to accept small pay from 20s. to 30s. weekly. Such statements as these will surely be sufficient to protect me from any charge of misrepresenting the Colony as a grand place for the emigration of all classes. Nor do we require any of the small shopkeeper class for our towns; we have already a superabundance of these. And we most emphatically object to any of the class represented by what is known to us as the "remittance man." You English folks, by reason of the accursed trade in strong drink, occasionally have a scapegrace youth who has by his conduct, brought shame on some hitherto unblemished escutcheon, and seems likely to bring his parents' grey hairs with sorrow to the grave. Every effort to reform him by inducing him to take up some useful calling in life having failed, and he having page 39 become alike a disgrace and a nuisance at home, some friend suggests that he should be shipped off to the Colonies. We have had too many of this class, and require no more, as they only serve to augment the already over-abundant class of public-house loafers, who develop into the "habitual drunks," if not something worse. These remittance men are promptly pounced upon by the besotted class, which we are unfortunately manufacturing annually, through our drink traffic, inaugurated by our British civilisation. While the quarterly or half-yearly allowance is unexpended, these hangers-on assist in merry-making, till by and bye the money is all gone, and the off-shoot of some reputable house is on his beam ends till his next remittance arrives. He "cannot dig, to beg he is ashamed." If, however, he has any real expectations when the "old man" dies, there are moneylenders who will lend him something (!!) on an assignment of the same, or of his future remittances. Thus assisted to anticipate the future, and aided in his disposition to spend all the money he can handle in riotous living, what wonder that in a comparatively short time the youth who was his mother's pride and joy sinks into a premature grave "unwept, unhonoured, and unsung." As a colonist I enter my protest against this system of treating the recalcitrant son, which I denounce as little better than murder.