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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 68

Scheme for colonization by pensioners, drawn up by a sub-committee ... Ein two parts] To which is attached, Some considerations as to the benefit to be derived by the colony from settlements of pensioners, by Captain Daveney

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Scheme For Colonization by Pensioners

Aukland: Printed by Wilsons and Norton, Queen and Wyndham Streets.

Part I.: Capital. For Men about to be Discharged (Army). For Men Already Discharged (Army). For Pensioners from Royal Navy and Marines.
Part II.: Colonial Arrangements. For Reception and Start of Pensioners in Colony.
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29, S. James's Place,

My Lord,

I have the honour to forward for your consideration a skeleton scheme in connection with the subject of pensioners' emigration.

It will be within your recollection that I brought the subject under discussion in the House of Lords, in the form of a motion for papers, in July last, in reference to the Colony of New Zealand, where the homestead settlement exists, and where the pensioner settlements formed by Governor Sir G. Grey proved successful.

The enclosed scheme is not drawn with regard to any special colony, but its terms are applicable to all.

On page 2 is an extract from the Financial Statement of the Premier of the newly-elected House of Representatives in New Zealand, which shows a desire on the part of the Colonial Government to take action in the matter.

I venture to forward the enclosed scheme for your consideration, in consequence of your favourable reply on the 21st of July last, viz., that the subject should receive further attention at the hands of the Secretary of State.

I am, my Lord, Your obedient Servant,


The Under Secretary of State, War Office.
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Extract from Financial Statement

"The time also apparently is favourable to the establishment of pensioner settlements. Much interest is being taken in this subject by leading men in the United Kingdom, and a good deal of thought and attention has been given to the details of a scheme by a gentleman in Auckland, who has devoted a large amount of time and energy to the matter. The Government are of opinion that every effort should be made to induce a considerable immigration of this class of persons to the colony. As an essential means towards accomplishing the above important objects—and, indeed, the settlement of the country generally—the Government propose to amend and simplify the land laws, and as far as possible, make them uniform throughout the colony; to allow selectors full freedom of choice as to tenure, and above all, and as the dominant idea, to enable the bonā fide settler, to get possession of, and a title to, his land with the least possible delay and expense. It is, perhaps, desirable here to declare that the Government fully recognise the wisdom of the principle which has been acted on since 1879-80, namely, that the proceeds of the disposal of our lands should be treated, not as ordinary revenue, but as a special fund for opening up the country and promoting settlement."

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Before attempting to propose a scheme for Colonization by Army Pensioners, we would point out that, if it could be arranged, the Pensioner and the Colony would both benefit by it. The Pensioner: first, because, instead of finding himself a surplus hand in a labour market already overcrowded, he would have an opportunity of utilising and improving his resources; health and steadiness, perseverance and work, alone being required to ensure success: and secondly, because, whereas in England he would find it most difficult to provide for and start his children in life, in the Colonies they would be of great assistance to him, and able eventually to start themselves.

The Colony: because Pensioners—men of from 38 to 46 years of age, medically examined and passed constitutionally fit, would be desirable men for it to assist, inasmuch as every 100 Pensioners would represent, at £120 a head, £12,000 capital, and a further annual payment from the Home Government, which, if capitalized, would represent about £16,000. Now, capital and eligible men are what all Colonies require to develop their resources and increase their revenue.

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Part I: Capital. For Men about to be Discharged (Army).

In considering the question of Capital, the first point is—How much is absolutely necessary?

As a basis on which to calculate this, we have taken Mr. A. Simmons's "Approximate cost of a family of five persons," as given in a "Table of Colonization Schemes," submitted to the Parliamentary Committee (1887), and we have added to his calculation £10 for outfit..

This gives a total of £160 for the more distant Colonies (for details see estimate on p. 5 for first year's expenses), which £160 the Pensioner must be in a position to expend during the first year of Colonization.

To meet this outlay he has—

1st. Any money he may have in the Savings' Bank.
  • Many soldiers have considerable sums of money in the Savings' Bank, but we do not think it would do to reckon on this, and savings are not considered in these calculations.
2nd. His deferred pay (after 21 years' Service).
  • A soldier discharged in 1888, after 21 years' service, will receive about £11 deferred pay, and each succeeding year this source of capital will increase by an additional £3, and interest thereon for nine years at 2½ per cent. In 1891 deferred pay, with interest, will be about £22. In the following years this sum will be increased yearly by and interest thereon at 2½ per cent, for fifteen years, till 1897, when a man's deferred pay, at the end of 21 years' service, will be worth about £46. It will continue at this till 1901, when men so discharged will have had no interest on their deferred pay, which will then be worth about £36.
3rd. His Pension.
  • At present the only way a soldier discharged to pension, after 21 years' service, can use his pension to raise a sum of money, is by obtaining a six months' advance, but this is quite inadequate for purposes of Colonization.
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If, however, the Secretary of State for War would permit a Pensioner to commute, that is, capitalize, a portion of his pension on a fair basis, the necessary funds for Colonization would be forthcoming.

We should strongly urge only allowing as much pension to be capitalized as would produce the necessary amount, because, in cases of men failing as Colonists, they would then still have something left, and would be kept from actual starvation. Moreover, we should attach certain conditions, to prove the bonā fide intention to colonize, and to ensure the best application of the funds.

Pensions differ under circumstances of service, but average pensions, after 21 years may be taken as—
Private 1s. 0d. per diem
Rank and file N.C. Officer 1s. 6d. per diem
Sergeant 2s. od. per diem

By calculations founded on 300,000 pensioners' lives, it is found that a pensioner's life is not so good for insurance purposes as average life,—large numbers dying during the two or three years following discharge,—but the lives of those medically examined and passed fit for Colonization would undoubtedly be of at least equal value to average life, and therefore it might be hoped that if Government allowed pensioners to commute a portion of their pension, the tables would not be calculated on a basis of interest at 5 per cent, like that for officers, but on a basis like Government annuities.

A soldier enlists between 17 and 25, and completes 21 years' service between 38 and 46. We have taken 40 as an average age on discharge in following calculations.

A 1d. a day = £1 10s. 5d. per annum, which capitalized on Government annuity basis, gives about £26; 6d. a day capitalized gives £156.

Capitalized on basis of 5 per cent, interest in accordance with Tables for Commutation of Officers' Pensions, 1d. a day gives capital value of about £20; 7d. a day gives £140.

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From above data an approximate estimate can be compiled for first year of Colonization as follows, for a family of five persons, to most distant Colonies:

Passage 45
Implements, seeds, stock 25
Buildings 30
Maintenance for 1st year 50
Outfit 10
To meet under-estimate or unforsten expenses 16
Commuted Pension. 6d. on Annuity basis 156
Do., 7d. on 5 per cent. basis, £104 Deferred pay 11
Uncommuted pension, receivable during year 9

We have not taken credit for a Colonial assisted passage, but as pensioners are small capitalists, and nearly all the Colonies at one time or another have given, and three Colonies are now giving, assisted passages to this class, there is little doubt but they would be granted.

With a view to the practical working out of the above, we would suggest that these and following proposals should be submitted to the Secretary of State for War, and that he should be requested to consider whether they, or some modification of them, cannot be carried out.


A Royal Warrant or other necessary authority to be obtained for Army Pensioners, after 21 years' service, to be allowed to commute a portion of their pensions, as follows:—

In case of Private Soldiers, if on basis of Government Annuities, 6d. a day; if on basis of 5 per cent (like Officers), 7d a day.

  • In case of Rank and File Non-Commissioned Officers, 6d. a day, or such sum as will leave them not less than is a day.
  • In case of Sergeants, 9d. a day, or such sum as will leave them is. 3d. a day.
  • In case of Senior Ranks, at same rate as Sergeants, viz., at rate of 9d. in every 2s.
  • In 1894, deferred pay will be larger by about £20 than in 1888. If £180 has been found sufficient, we should suggest the amounts allowed to be commuted by Private Soldiers should become either 5d. or 6d., according to basis of commutation.
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Above privileges to be granted only to men registering their names for Colonization, and signing a paper authorising sum resulting from said commutation of pension and their deferred pay to be applied to expenses of passage, etc.; residue to be paid them in Colony selected by them, under certain conditions proposed below.

Men wishing to avail themselves of the above privilege, to send in their application through their Commanding Officers, stating what Colony they wish to go to, a given number of months before date of discharge, and the Commanding Officer to insert thereon whether he considers the men fit candidates. (Number of months would depend on where their Regiment was serving, and how long it took to make arrangements. It is most desirable that men should go straight from their Regiment to port of embarkation.;

The Officer commanding to forward the application, together with—
  • A Medical Certificate of the physical fitness of the man and his family; (the form of this certificate to be approved of by the Colonial authorities.)
  • A copy of man's Medical History Sheet;
  • A copy of man's Record of Service, with probable date of discharge inserted thereon;
—through the General commanding the District in which the Regiment is serving, direct to the Pension Commissioners Department.

That Department having checked record of service, and noted data for commuting pension, to forward the papers to the Colonial Office.

Colonial Office to forward to Agent-General of Colony selected by intending emigrant.

Agent-General, if satisfied with the case, to arrange for passage as soon as possible after date of discharge, and to send notification to port of disembarkation; returning papers, with date and port of embarkation and name of ship noted thereon, to Pension Department, who, adding necessary information of pension and commutation, would return the papers to the Regiment

Authority to be given by Secretary of State for War for page 8 soldiers about to Colonize to remain on, and be discharged just in time for them to proceed to port of embarkation.

The natural wish to see their relations before leaving England to be met by granting the furloughs generally given before discharge.

Contracts to be arranged whereby outfits, in accordance with voyage and Colony, should be supplied to men and families; payment being made by Regimental Paymasters.

Money for passage to be paid by Paymaster; money equal to cost of sending the man to his place of enlistment, whatever that might be, being credited towards it.

Surplus from commutation and deferred pay to be transmitted (telegraphic transfer, if necessary) to Department in Colony charged with payment of pensions.

Authority to be given Colonial Pension Department to advance six months of reduced pension from date of arrival, if necessary.

The reduced pension accumulated during voyage to be also in hands of Colonial Pension Department on arrival of pensioner.

For Men Already Discharged to Pension (Army).

In their cases there would be no deferred pay available, and it would be necessary to capitalize for them from 7d. to 9d. of their pension, according to basis of commutation and the man's age at date of application for permission to colonize.

The pensioner would have to forward his application and medical certificate through the District Pension Officers, who, in these cases, would do what the Commanding Officer and Paymaster do in the others. In all other particulars the action would be the same.

It would be a matter for grave consideration whether men who took their discharge after a Colonization of Pensioner Scheme was working, without availing themselves of it, should be allowed afterwards to have the privileges given to men already discharged, of commuting a larger portion of pension.

Pensioners from the Royal Navy & Marines.

The case of pensioners from the Royal Navy and Marines is much the same as that of pensioners from the Army.

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With a very few exceptions, sailors join the Navy as boys between the ages of 15 and 16½ Their time begins to count towards pension at the age of 18, and they serve 22 years from that age to qualify; that is, they become entitled to pension at 40 years of age.

Their pensions vary from £18 to £54 a year, but very few are so low as £18; the average is said to be about £30.

Under these circumstances, we do not see any reason against commuting £10.

On the basis of Bank Annuities, at age of 40, £5 19s. 4d. per annum would produce £102.

Therefore, £1 would produce about £17, and £10 would produce about £170. This would leave the lowest pensioner only £8 a year, but men really fitted for Colonization would undoubtedly have more. £178 in the first year would meet all requirements, which would be precisely the same as given for soldiers.

The proceedings for commuting would be much the same as in the army.

The man would have to apply and sign necessary documents a given time before discharge, which documents would be forwarded by the Officer commanding the ship from which he was to be discharged, to the Naval Pension Department, who would forward to Colonial Office, as in case of Army pensioners.

The man would have to be kept on his own ship or a guard ship pending completion of transaction and date of his sailing for the Colony.

It is probable that, as a sailor, a man's passage money might be lowered in consideration of his services, but this would be a matter for arrangement.

Sailors already pensioned, like soldiers in a similar position, would have to arrange through their District Pension Officer.

All men, whether soldiers or sailors, discharged—or time expired abroad—should have the option of either returning to England or going straight to the Colony they select. This would not cost the country anything, and might save the men their passage money out to the Colony. If they choose to go to Colony direct, their families, if not sent out free, would be sent out to them with proceeds of commuted pension.

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Part II. Colonial Arrangements for Reception and Start of Pensioners in Colonies.

In the first place, it would be necessary for the Colonial Office to communicate with the various Colonial Governments, pointing out the position and means of pensioners, and inviting them to assist in Pensioner Colonization. If any Colony responded and made necessary arrangements, Pensioner Colonization could begin; other Colonies being added to list of those available as they chose to give facilities.

The way in which a Colony might be fairly asked to assist would be as follows:—
  • By authorising their Agents-General to act for pensioners as to providing passages and notifying their departure to proper persons in Colony. (This has been done at different times for emigrants by most Colonies.)
  • By giving free or assisted passages. (This has been done by many Colonies, and the latter is being done now by three Colonies for small capitalists.)
  • By providing accommodation at ports of disembarkation for Colonists, and proper persons to receive them and pass them on to their locations at once. (This has already been done by some Colonies.)
  • By free passages up country. (This also, we understand, has been already done at times.)
  • By having suitable localities previously selected; that is to say, localities which are healthy, well provided with water, of productive soil, and at such a distance from, and with such communication with, a market as shall enable the Colonists to dispose of such portion of their surplus produce at a fair profit, as is necessary to enable them to obtain those necessaries of life which their own farms do not produce.
  • By having said suitable localities divided into lots for "Village Homestead Settlements," and a capable page 11 head man appointed. (Definition.—"Village Homestead Settlement": A suitable block of land divided into small lots of acres and a settler on each, forming a village, under a head man.)
  • By—in above Village Homestead Settlements—giving free grants of lots containing a certain number of acres;
  • Or, by letting on long leases, with power of renewal, such lots;
  • Or, by sale of such lots on deferred payment system.
  • (The Village Homestead Settlements are working in one Colony. The above three systems of allotting land are working in various Colonies.
  • By advances on loan at interest of giving sums, to assist in putting up buildings, and, at so much an acre, to assist in clearing land. (This is done in one Colony.)

In Part I. of these proposals we advocated all the surplus money in the hands of Government being transmitted to the Pension Department in the Colony, but did not go into the question of its after distribution.

We would suggest that no money be given to the pensioner till he arrives at the place where he is to settle. All necessaries on landing and while travelling up country to be provided and paid for by Pension Officer out of the man's funds. This will prevent any temptation to spend money on landing, and prevent persons at port of disembarkation taking advantage of newly-landed settlers.

Further, we believe it would be well, that of the surplus, such sum only should be given on arrival at settlement as shall be found desirable—(this sum to be fixed after careful enquiry made beforehand)—and that the rest should be paid in certain fixed sums, according to estimated requirements, with the quarterly payments of uncommuted pensions.

Moreover, as a man might soon after arrival be tempted to mortgage or sell his land, and so be ruined, whereby the object of commuting his pension, namely, to assist and render him independent, would be frustrated, we recommend that all pensioners should, in their original application for commutation, undertake page 12 not to raise money on or sell their holdings without permission of the Pension Department, until they have been a given number of years in possession.

If the above suggestions be adopted, a clear agreement to it would have to be embodied in every man's first application to be allowed to commute his pension and Colonize.

Some Considerations as to the Benefit to be Derived by the Colony from Settlements of Pensioners, By Captain Daveney, Officer Paying Imperial Pensions in Auckland.

It is presumed that Government could, during the present depression, purchase from the Natives at Te Kuiti a block of land of 50,000 acres, fit for the settlement of Imperial Pensioners, for the sum of £10,000, this being at the rate of four (4) shillings per acre.

Taking the rate laid down by Sir E. Walter of £25 per man as average amount to be paid to each pensioner, this would make an annual payment to these men of £25,000: money to be spent in the settlement.

The Imperial Government allows to the Colonial Authorities for the trouble and expense of disbursing these moneys 3 per cent.; this would amount to £750 per annum, so that in about 13 years Government would receive back the whole of the original cost of the land.

In the laying out of the Village or Township for such a prosperous settlement, it is but natural to suppose that very good prices would be obtained for each site, because 1,000 pensioners means 1,000 wives and say from 2,000 to 3000 children, consequently the settlement would contain from 4,000 to 5,000 souls. The money obtained from these sales would more than recoup all moneys spent by Government in surveying and in laying out the roads within the settlement.

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By the scheme which Lord Sandhurst has submitted to the War Office to enable a pensioner to commute 6d. per diem of his pension, for the purpose of colonization, he would receive during the first year in the Colony, the sum of £176. This money is to be applied towards passage, buildings, implements, seed, stock, and maintenance for the first year; therefore supposing the settlement to contain 1,000 men, the enormous sum of £176,000 would be spent during the year, and this does not include the private means each pensioner may possess.

In a letter from a warrant officer on leave from India, to the Government of this Colony, it is shown that his own pension would be £216 per annum, and that many of his comrades had requested him to find out the details of what they might expect should they make New Zealand their home. The pensions of these men average £100 per annum, and as a rule they possess some private capital. Definite and distinct information on this subject is looked for from many would-be settlers.

The passage of a pensioner from India is paid by the State. It is the privilege of a soldier to elect to come to a Colony instead of returning to England.

Very many men from the Royal Irish Constabulary, whose pensions vary from £70 to £90 per annum, would willingly make this Colony their home, provided some inducement was offered to them to this effect

It must be borne in mind that the pensioner of the present day is a very superior man to the one of the olden times. For years past no man has been taken on for his second period towards pension, whose character was not good, and sobriety is a sine qua non. All are now taught trades, and the school is an institution in every regiment, so that a most intelligent class of settlers would be introduced.

As regards the manhood of the offspring of pensioners, those who are sceptical about the matter should visit the pensioner settlements inaugurated by Sir George Grey, and they will find that the most robust and stalwart citizens of this Colony are the descendants of those pensioners. How could it be otherwise, seeing that only the fittest of the manhood of Great Britain and Ireland, who have served the State for 21 years in all climes, survive to receive pensions, and that these are their descendants.

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The Colony has completed at great expense the railway as far as Te Kuiti, some 35 miles beyond Te Awamutu, and to all appearance years will elapse before it is further extended. The land is totally uncultivated and belongs to Natives, consequently there can be no traffic on it to repay the enormous outlay incurred. But should the proposed pensioner settlement be located near or at Kuiti, then that which seemingly was a most unprofitable undertaking, would at once be converted into perhaps a paying concern.

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Wilsons & Horton, Printers, Auckland.