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Document - Act to Encourage Immigration to - WODEHOUSE, Sir Philip Edmond - 1859. [1276937]
British Guiana 1859 - Georgetown, Demerara, British Guiana, 4 February 1859. "An Ordinance Further to Encourage Immigration from China" which deals specifically with the immigration of Chinese females Original Act from the colonial Court of Policy issued and signed in the original by Sir Philip Edmond Wodehouse, Governor and Commander in Chief of British Guiana, and also by William Walker, Secretary for Wodehouse, and former Governor of the colony. Tall 8vo. 2 pages, one double-leaf, blue watermarked paper made by E. Towgood in 1858 and measuring approximately 19,5 x 31 cm, printed at the 'Colonist' Office. With official paper seal and two original signatures. Very good condition, crisp and bright. Rare. Sir Philip Edmond Wodehouse GCSI KCB (1811-1887) was a British colonial administrator, serving as superintendent of British Honduras from 1851 to 1854, and ruling the colony as Governor of British Guiana from 1854 to 1861. His administration is largely remembered by two enormous negro riots, the second being in response to the highly unpopular imposition of a Registration Tax, often referred to as a Head-Tax, which was instituted in 1856. The second riot was on 25 July 1857, the governor and his retinue being attacked and pelted by a large mob of negroes, and several persons injured. Vice-Admiral William Walker, was twice Lieutenant Governor and Commander in Chief of the Colony of British Guiana, from 1848-1849 and from 1853-1854. He entered British Colonial Service in 1836, becoming Lieutenant Governor and Government Secretary of British Guiana in 1847. He also served as Acting Governor in 1857 and in 1861, during the tenure of Lieutenant Governor Sir Philip Edmond Wodehouse, most likely when the latter took leave for rest or recovery from attacks by civilians opposing his tax laws. In 1867 he was part of a committee preparing for British Guiana's participation in the Universal Exhibition held in Paris. With this signed Second Opium War legislation document, British Guiana's colonial governor Philip Wodehouse provided incentive for plantation owners to draw in Chinese women, and effectively acknowledged the futility of the contentious Head Tax. The detested head tax imposed on British Guiana planters was still in effect when the present Ordinance was instituted. Designed to encourage planters to immigrate Chinese women specifically, as indentured labourers or simply as residents for a more balanced Chinese community, and essentially eliminating the problematic effects of said taxing policy, this ordinance in fact waived the head tax under certain conditions. Wodehouse was a coffee planter himself, and thus intimately acquainted with the subject of supplying labour for plantations. It is no surprise then, that he acted swiftly to recreate enticing emigration policies. The Governor was an instrumental party in the experimentation of emigrating Chinese labourers to British Guiana at the expense of the planters, and continuously promoted immigration. [Colony of British Guiana Head Tax: In 1856, purportedly to recover costs of damages done by the Portuguese Riots of 1856, a Registration Tax was imposed, known more commonly as the Head-Tax, being $2 per man and $1 per woman. Persons under the age of sixteen were exempt. Plantation administrators and indentured workers were both required to register, so that no one failed to be counted. Estate managers were permitted to deduct the wages of new immigrants to a maximum of 32 cents per month, thus fostering resentment in the workers. The plan was most ineffective; funds largely being applied to costs created by the process itself, including salaries for the collectors and registrars, travel and administrative costs, etc. The District Registrar was the collector of Head money. In 1894 the Head-Tax would finally be abolished.] Immediately following this Act, the first Chinese women were transported to British Guiana. On 24 December 1859 the clipper ship 'Whirlwind' sailed from Hong Kong with 304 men and 33 wo
      [Bookseller: Voyager Press Rare Books & Manuscripts]
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