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Thursday, 9 November 1905


Senator DE LARGIE (Western Austra) (Iia) . - I have b'een somewhat surprised to observe that almost every time a question of this sort arises for discussion in the Senate, Senator Pulsford should be on the side of the foreigner against his own countrymen. The whole tenor of his remarks this afternoon was a constant reflection on Australians and the views of Australians, in regard to such questions. I gather that the honorable senator is extremely friendly to the Asiatic, but has verv little sympathy indeed for the Australian.


Senator Sir William Zeal - I think he made an admirable speech.


Senator DE LARGIE - He made a very lengthy one, in the course of which he cited copious extracts. But it struck me as singular that he should have omitted to quote from one of the most remarkable documents, that has been published in recent years as affecting this question, especially as it was written bv Herbert Spencer, a freetrader and an individualist who in many respects belonged to the same school of political thought as does, Senator Pulsford. We might have expected that he would have given us the benefit of the opinions of that great philosopher on a question of this kind. Now, what was Herbert Spencer's opinion as to what the

Japanese ought to do in relation to immigration ? His, views are much more drastic and extreme in the direction of keeping foreigners out of the country than are any of the views to which we have sought to give legislative expression in Australia. lt will be seen from the letter which I am about to read that Herbert Spencer practically advised the Japanese to carry out a policy similar to our White Australia policy for themselves. In fact, he advised them to set up a cry of Japan for the Japanese, just as some of us declare for the policy of Australia for the Australians. I may state that I take this extract from the Melbourne Herald of 2nd February of last year. Herbert Spencer wrote to a Japanese who had communicated with him the following remarkable letter : -

My Dear Sir - Your proposal to send translations of my two letters to Count Ito, the newlyappointed Prime Minister, is quite satisfactory. I very willingly give my assent. Respecting the further questions you ask, let me, in the first place, answer generally that the Japanese policy should, I think, be that of keeping Americans and Europeans as much as possible at arms' length. In presence of the more powerful races your position is one of chronic danger, and you should take every precaution to. give as little foothold as possible to foreigners.

Just" as we have' been saying that the position cif Asiatics in regard to Australia is one of chronic danger to us, the Japanese are advised by Herbert Spencer to keep out Americans and Europeans. He goes on to say -

It seems to me that the only forms of intercourse which you may with advantage permit are those which are indispensable and exportation of physical and mental products. No further privileges should be allowed to people of other races, and especially to people of the more powerful races, than is absolutely needful for the achievement of these ends. Apparently you are proposing by revision of the treaty with the powers of Europe and America " to open the whole Empire to foreigners and foreign capital." I regret this as a fatal policy.


Senator Dobson - What was the date of that letter?


Senator DE LARGIE - It was written some years before Herbert Spencer died ; but. singularly enough, the condition was attached that it should not be published until after his death. It was a strange thing for a philosopher of his character to try and conceal his opinion from his countrymen on such a matter.


Senator Gray - Is it twenty years old ?


Senator DE LARGIE -No, nor anything like that.


Senator Gray - He might have changed his opinion.


Senator KEATING (TASMANIA) - Then why did he not revoke it?


Senator Gray - The conditions have entirely changed since then.


Senator DE LARGIE - The letter goes on -

If youwish to see what is likely to happen, Study the history of India. Once let one of the more powerful races gain a point d'appui, and there will inevitably in course of time grow up an aggressive policy which will lead to collisions with the Japanese; these collisions will be represented as attacks by the Japanese which must be avenged, as the case may be ; a portion of territory will be seized, and required to be made over as a foreign settlement; and from this there will grow . eventually subjugation of the entire Japanese Empire. I believe that you will have great difficulty in avoiding this fate in any case, but you will make the process easy if you allow of any privileges to foreigners beyond those which I have indicated.

In pursuance of the advice thus generally indicated I should say, in answer to your first question, that there should be, not only a. prohibition of foreign persons to hold property in land, but also a refusal to give them leases, and a permission only to reside as annual tenants. To the second question I should say decidedly prohibit to foreigners the working of the mines owned or worked by Government. Here there would be obviously liable to arise grounds of difference between the Europeans and Americans who work them and the Government, and these grounds of quarrel would be followed by invocations to the English or American Governments or other powers to send forces to insist on whatever the European workers claim, for always the habit here and elsewhere among civilized peoples is to believe what their agents or sellers abroad represent to them. In the third place, in pursuance of the policy I have indicated, you ought also to keep the coasting trade in your own hands, and forbid foreigners to engage in it.

That is a peculiar view for a free-trader to express.


Senator Gray - The honorable senator agrees with it. does he not?


Senator DE LARGIE - I agree with it as a protectionist, but I cannot understand how a free-trader such as HerbertSpencer was should give expression to views of that kind.


Senator Gray - He was not a true prophet in regard to the future of Japan.


Senator DE LARGIE - He certainly seems to me to be inconsistent. But, as the time has arrived when private business gives way to Government business. I ask leave to continue my speech on another occasion.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.







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