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Emigration

PMP

There is no evidence that Matthew’s “Scots New Zealand Land Company” directly sponsored the sending of emigrants to New Zealand, but it’s clear that Matthew was a local champion and protagonist for the benefits of emigration as expounded in his book Emigration Fields. He also practiced what he preached, in that one of his sons (Alexander) emigrated to Germany, and three others (James, Charles and John) moved first to California in around 1851, then on to Australia (where John stayed) and eventually New Zealand (where James and Charles are reported by Errol Jones (a descendent of James) to have arrived on the Gazelle from Australia in 1854).

 
Matthew (1854-02-24): “Two Guineas Reward”. Dundee, Perth, and Cupar Advertiser, 24 February 1854
This short notice from 1854 illustrates that Matthew cared enough about the principle of emigration to counter false rumours of “disaster and loss of life of emigrants” that were apparently circulating in the local area at the time. It seems likely that Matthew had encouraged many, including his erstwhile foreman, William Dunbar, to emigrate to Australia and elsewhere.

 
Matthew (1864-08-10): “Extension of the Principle of Selection to Emigrants”. Dundee Courier, 10 August 1864
Matthew writes about the need for selection to act upon emigrants, in order to allow the best stock to be the progenitors of the new colonizing population: “the elite of the species should certainly be the coloniser”, and this “seems to be the especial vocation of the Germanized British”. To do otherwise would be unfair to the “poor untameable savage” who is to be “crushed out of existence”: “it is right that the savage should be superseded by the very best selected colonists”. Thus, Matthew supports the “crimping” (tricking into military service) of newly arrived emigrants, as this will weed out the weak-minded who “would not be what a wise and beneficent Providence would select or think fit to lay the foundations of future empires”. Very similar ideas were expressed by Matthew in On Naval Timber and Arboriculture (Note C, p.373).

 
“South Australia”. Dundee Advertiser, 18 July 1865, p.2 col.5 (pdf image)
A report “from our own Correspondent” in the Dundee Advertiser on conditions facing colonists in South Australia. Matthew is cited as a “high authority” (perhaps sarcastically?) on “the practicability of reclaiming the African desert by sinking artesian wells in it”. The report proves that Matthew’s views were considered noteworthy enough to be cited in 1865. The exact source of this view by Matthew is unclear. It may come from an undiscovered letter to a newspaper, or it may come from Emigration Fields (1839: p.83), where Matthew discusses the Cape in South Africa: “In countries where extreme droughts are occurring in particular districts … an agricultural population would be destroyed unless they could procure foreign supplies, or retained in magazines sufficient store of grain for one or even more years, and had artesian wells, or large deep tanks capable of affording a sufficiency of water”. The excerpt from the report refering to Matthew is as follows:

The squatters, who represent our cashocracy, have expended thousands of pounds in well-sinking and tank-building. By degrees the farmers, as the native vigour of their land begins to decline, will have to nourish it by similar means; and thus the most barren wild in the interior may be coaxed into fertility. For this apparently Utopian expectation have we not the high practical authority of men like Patrick Matthew, of Gourdiehill, who insists on the practicability of reclaiming the African desert by sinking artesian wells in it?

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