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"PORTUGUESE IMMIGRANTS"

Port of Spain Gazette, Friday, November 6, 1846, p.3

We copy, for the information of our readers, the following notice issued by the Agent General of Immigrants, with regard to future arrivals of Immigrants from Madeira:-

PORTUGUESE LABORERS

NOTICE

The following Rules will be adopted respecting the next and any future arrivals of Immigrants from Madeira.

The Immigrants will be permitted to remain on board ship for forty-eight hours after the arrival of the vessel.

At the same time from the day of the ship‚s arrival a locality in Port of Spain will be appointed by the Government, which will be applied solely for the use of the Immigrants until they have engaged themselves in service.

The attention of the parties desirous of engaging the service of Portuguese laborers is particularly directed to the eleventh Clause of the Ordinance, "For regulating the relative rights and duties of Masters and Servants," which states:-

Clause XI. - And it be enacted, That no contract for service not made within this colony and on the land of the colony shall be a contract within the meaning of this Ordinance, or valid and binding on the parties thereto or any of them, unless such contract shall be in writing and shall be made and entered into by the person who is therein bound to perform such service whilst such person is within the limits of the Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, or in some other part of Europe, or in the United States of America or some British Possession in North America, or in the West Indies; and no contract for service shall be valid or binding on either of the parties thereto for any longer term than the period of one year from the time when the service under such contract shall be commenced according to the terms of the contract.

THOMAS F. JOHNSTON,
Agent General Immigrants
Government House, 2nd Nov., 1846

The delay accorded the Immigrants on their arrival in the Colony before removing their effects from on board ship, and the provision of some suitable premises where they may stop until they can obtain suitable employment, are measures which were much needed, and which we trust will have a most beneficial effect.

With regard to the clause of the Masters and Servants‚ Ordinance to which the attention of the parties desirous of engaging the services of Portuguese laborers is particularly directed, we presume it was the latter part of it - "and no "contract for service shall be valid or binding on either of the "parties thereto for any longer term than the period of one year "from the time," &c. - which was sought to be brought under notice; but on perusing carefully the first part of the clause, we see - strange to say - that Madeira is not one of the places out of the Colony where a contract for service can be legally entered into - the places named are the Kingdom of Britain and Ireland, or some other part of Europe, or the United States of America, or some British Possession in North America or the West Indies. None of these descriptions will suit Madeira, and yet there is no reason why the intelligent peasant of Madeira should not enter into a contract of service to be performed in Trinidad as readily and at as little disadvantage as an inhabitant of Portugal, Spain, France, or any other part of Europe. The omission was evidently accidental, but it is well that public attention should - whether purposely or not - be drawn to the circumstance - as parties here might have procured contracts of service to be entered into at Madeira with laborers of that Island, and have suffered serious loss and inconvenience from the afterwards discovered nullity of such contracts.


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