Colonial Emigration

100 men, 40 women


Leela Gujadhur Sarup

An extract from a chapter on the Deficiency in the proportion of women among Emigrants (pages 159 to 160) in the above book written by Mrs Leela Gujadhur Sarup. The book is based on original archival records, as prepared by the British Government that ruled India at the time and is of immense value to descendants of indentured workers

From: F. Lamouroux, Esq.,
Emigration Agent for the French Colonies,

To: The Protector of Emigrants,
Calcutta. Dated Calcutta, the 25th January 1876.

Colonial Emigration 19th-20th Century Proceedings 1875 - August 1876 Vol. 7

I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your memorandum of yesterday's date, No. 91, forwarding
me copy of a letter, No. 292, from the Officiating Under-Secretary to the Government of Bengal, Judicial Department, regarding the deficiency in the proportion of women sent to Guadeloupe during the
present season, and observing (paragraph 2) that for the Surrey, now under departure, I only intend to
ship two women in excess of the regulation number towards making up for the deficiency of precedent

Paragraph 4 points out that in the beginning of this month I applied, and obtained permission to
despatch the ship Essex with whatever number of women I had then, on con¬dition of making up the
deficiency before the close of the season, adding that you were given to understand at the time that the
deficit would be only 60 or 70 women, but that it turns out now to have been 104, without my
proposing on the present occasion to make up any considerable part of the deficiency.

In answer, I beg to state—

Paragraph 2.—That in the memorandum, which I have submitted, to apply for a license for the ship
Surrey, I have only mentioned, as it is always the case, what should be the number of women required
by regulation on the quantity of adults for which the ship was measured, and it is only by a clerical error that that number was made 110 instead of 108.

My intention could not have been certainly to propose only to embark two women in deduction of the
deficiency existing, but as coolies are arriving every day in the depôt, at the last moment I would have
given as many women as I would have had over the regulation number in reducing the number of men
in proportion.

As to paragraph 4, I have simply to observe that when you asked me―

“What number of women I had in the depôt ready for shipment, and how many more I will require to
complete the proportion of 40 to every 100 men,” I replied to you that I had about 60 women in my
depôt, and that I still required 60 to 70 to complete the number of 127 fixed for the Essex. I cannot see, therefore, that my statement was not perfectly correct.

When I applied for permission to despatch the Essex with whatever number of women I had at the time, I fully expected to have been able within the two months I had before the close of the season to make up any deficiency, as all my contracts with the recruiters and others mentioned that they were to supply 40 women to every 100 men, and that they had engaged themselves most positively to make up soon any short number in the proportion of women.

But although I have taken every possible measure, and spared no expense to obtain as many women as procurable, I am now afraid, judging by the dificulties I am encountering, not to be able even, perhaps, to complete the necessary proportion for the two ships I have still to despatch. I never expected to be placed in such a position, as the precedent year we had more women even than we did require; otherwise I would have taken precautions in consequence by beginning recruiting much earlier.

I am therefore compelled to ask the Government to allow me to despatch this season the two ships I
have in port with whatever proportion of women I can procure, engaging myself to make up any
deficiency during the next season.

October 2011

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