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The Colonial Office, in Downing Street, has received annually for a series of years a “ Blue Book” in manuscript from each Colony, containing a variety of commercial, financial, ecclesiastical, and general information for the use of Government. The “Blue Books” were commenced about the year 1828. Three blank books, with ruled columns and printed headings, are sent to each Colony every year ; the blank columns are filled in by returns from the different departments, under the authority of the Colonial Secretary in each settlement; these returns are then sent in duplicate to Downing Street, and one of the three copies is retained in the Colony for the use of the Governor. In 1836-7, a Committee of the House of Commons, then sitting to inquire into the financial condition of the Colonies, examined witnesses with reference to the feasibility and expense of reducing these “ Blue Books” into a form adapted for publication. In consequence perhaps of the time and expenditure, which the arrangement and publication of a vast mass of documents would occasion (about £10,000), nothing was done by Government; and, in pursuance of an object which has occupied a third of my life at home and abroad (namely, to make the condition of the Colonies of the Empire fully known to, and their importance appreciated by, the British public), I solicited permission from the Secretary of State to prepare, with my own assistants, and at my own expense, such a work as the Committee of the House of Commons was desirous of possessing. His Lordship's reply to my application was as follows :From Sir George Grey, M.P., Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies.

“ Colonial Office, Downing Street, "Sir,

7th February, 1838. "I am directed by Lord Glenelg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 2nd instant, and to acquaint you in reply that his Lordship has much pleasure in complying with your request for access to the information in this office, comprised in the “ Blue Books" annually transmitted from the respective Colonies. Mr. Meyer, the librarian, has received his Lordship’s directions to submit them to your inspection, on your application to him for that purpose.

Lord Glenelg will also be happy to afford you access to any other statistical information in this office respecting the Colonies.

“I am, Sir, your most obedient servant, "To Robert Montgomery Martin, Esq., &c. &c."

GEORGE GREY. An office was assigned for my use in Downing Street, and, by the courtesy of Mr. Meyer, I was supplied with upwards of two hundred and fifty volumes of “ Blue Books,” and with various documents of a public nature. The materials which these books contained were carefully examined, and the facts which I deemed it useful to publish were collated and arranged in a tabular form, together with an immense mass of facts collected from every public department, and from every quarter deemed authentic, so as to present consecutive views of the progress or decline of each Colony in population, education, religion, crime, commerce, shipping, staple products, finances, and in every thing which can portray the physical, moral, and intellectual condition of so large a part of the British Empire.

At the East India House also an apartment was assigned me, and the commercial returns from Bengal, Madras, and Bombay for forty years, were, by the urbanity of Mr. Peacock, placed before me. Mr. Melville, Secretary to the East India Company; Mr. Irving, Inspector-General at the Custom House ; Mr. Woodhouse, of the Plantation Office; Mr. Covey, Registrar-General of Shipping ; Mr. Brown, Registrar-General of Merchant Seamen; Mr. Porter, of the Board of Trade; and the Courts of Directors and Secretaries of

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the different public Companies connected with our transmarine possessions, all granted me their invaluable aid towards the preparation of this work.

The Colonies are arranged geographically, and divided into Books, thus :

Book I.–POSSESSIONS IN THE WEST Indies.—Jamaica, Trinidad, Tobago, Grenada, St. Vincent, Barbadoes, Antigua, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Christopher, Montserrat, Nevis, Tortola and the Virgin Isles, New Providence, and the Bahamas, the Bermudas, &c.

Book II.—PosseSSIONS IN South AMERICA.-Demerara, Essequibo, Berbice, Honduras, and the Falkland Islands.

Book III.-POSSESSIONS IN NORTH AMERICA. — Canada (Upper and Lower), New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, Prince Edward Isle, Newfoundland, Labrador, and the Hudson Bay Territories.

Book IV.—PosseSSIONS IN Asia.—Bengal, Madras, Bombay, Ceylon, Penang, Malacca, and Sincapore.

Book V.-PossESSIONS IN AUSTRAL-Asia. — New South Wales, Van Diemen's Island, Swan River, and Southern Australia, &c.

Book VI. — POSSESSIONS IN AFRICA. — Cape of Good Hope, Mauritius and Seychelles, St. Helena, Ascension, Sierra Leone, the Gambia, Accra, Cape Coast Castle, &c.

Book VII.—Possessions IN EUROPE.— Gibraltar, Malta and Gozo, Corfu, Cephalonia, Santa Maura, Ithaca, Zante, Paxo, Cerigo, and Heligoland.

Each Colony forms a separate chapter, which is again subdivided into numbered sections, according to a system which will shew at a glance under each head of Population, Commerce, Finances, &c. all the information which could be obtained relative to these subjects. In the Appendix a similar plan has been adopted, the documents belonging to each Book being classified according to their respective geographical arrangement.

In the West India Appendix will be found the general trade of the West Indies in the aggregate, and of each island for a series of years as regards the exports to England, and the duties levied there on sugar, coffee, rum, &c. Full details of the recent reports relative to education among the emancipated negroes, of sickness in the West Indies, of the prices of tropical produce, &c., will also be found in this Appendix. The Appendix to the book on North America contains several important statements relative to the lands granted in Canada, aggregate statements of the trade of the Northern Colonies, the value of Spanish dollars, &c. The Asiatic Appendix supplies a great variety of information, some of which was obtained at the East India House after the text was printed. The documents respecting the British feudatory, stipendiary, and dependent chiefs--the classified population of different districts—the rates of pay and regulations of the army—the commerce, coins, weights and measures, &c. of the Anglo-Eastern Empire, are all of the highest value. There will be found in the Austral-Asian Appendix copious details relative to population, crime, the treatment of convicts, secondary punishments, &c., in addition to the abundant facts given in Book V. The judicial, mercantile, and banking charters are given in the Appendix of the book to which the Colonies belong possessing such charters. Thus the Colonial Bank charter is in the West India Appendix, the British Guyana Bank charter under South America, the Hudson Bay charter under North America, the East India Company charter under Asia, and the Ionian Islands charter under the Europe Appendix. An Emigration Appendix, with a variety of data as to emigrants, rates of wages, regulations, &c., has been added, and at the conclusion is given a General Appendix of several documents relating to shipping, finances, &c. not applying specifically to any one Colony.

In order to render the work more complete for reference, a brief view of the manner in which each Colony has been acquired by Great Britain, and of its chief physical features,

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has been prefixed to the vital statistics. A full account of the history, geography, &c. of each settlement will be found in my History of the British Colonies,” in five large octavo volumes, and in my “ Colonial Library,” in ten smaller volumes. A large statistical chart shews, in an aggregate form and in round numbers, as being more easily retained by the memory, the condition of the Colonies in 1836, the latest year in which the “ Blue Books" are complete, and as accurate as existing documents will permit. In some of the columns, viz. those of religion and property, estimates have been obliged to be resorted to, in place of actual returns to Government.

A map of the world coloured, to shew the geographical position of our Colonies, has been appended by Mr. Wyld, geographer to the Queen.

The seals of each Colony, chastely designed by Mr. Wyon, chief engraver of the Royal Mint, are now, for the first time, laid before the public. The centre of the colonial seal is alone given : it is surrounded by the royal arms, as observed in the engraving of the Upper Canada seal, plate 1. I am indebted to Mr. Freebairn's skill with the patent anaylyptograph for the beautiful engraving with which this branch of the work is illustrated. My principal assistant, Mr. Frederick Medley, bestowed great care on a work which required unremitting industry, attention, and zeal — qualities which were rendered more useful by his personal knowledge and appreciation of the value of the Colonies. While adverting to the different individuals who have contributed towards the preparation of this work, I should not omit to mention the excellent typographer, Mr. Nicol, of the Shakspeare Press, Pall Mall.

A tabular Index, after a new and compendious plan, will enable the inquirer to find in a moment the pages in the Book and in the Appendix relating to any subject on which he may desire information.

With respect to the numerous tables and data, which the following pages present, they may be relied on as the nearest approximation to truth yet attainable. The “ Blue

of late years, more perfect than when they were first established ; and great credit is due to the gentleman in the Colonial Office with whom the statesman-like idea originated, and to those also who, undeterred by difficulties or disappointments, have succeeded in reducing the plan to a system, which every future return will bring to a greater degree of accuracy. It

may be observed, perhaps, that the gaol returns from several Colonies shew sometimes a great and sudden change in the annual number of prisoners. This can only be accounted for by supposing that occasionally the whole of the gaols in the Colony are included in the return, and in some years, only those prisoners confined in the chief town.

There are about three million figures in the volume, and a nearly equal number was required to form the additions, subtractions, &c. In order to get as much information as possible into a given tabular space, shillings, pence, and fractional parts, have been excluded, which will account for any slight apparent discrepancy in the summing up of the totals, and which it did not appear advisable to alter.

As the work may be deemed an official record, I have considered it right to abstain from all comment on the multiplicity of facts now collected and printed, and to suppress even an Introduction which I had prepared on ancient and modern colonization, and on the political and commercial importance of Colonies to England.

The statements contained in the following pages speak for themselves : they constitute the most extraordinary record of a Colonial Empire that man ever witnessed-an empire which has been the growth of ages, yet is still in its infancy, and on whose extension and improvement, so far as human judgment can predict, depends the happiness of the world. London, January, 1839.

ROBERT MONTGOMERY MARTIN.

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557 Anguilla

102 Annamaboe

557 Antigua

79 Ascension

524 Australia, East (or 413

N. S. Wales. Australia West 455

Ditto South 469 Bahamas

102 Barbadoes

60 Barbuda

86 Bermudas

111 Canada, Upper 179

Ditto Lower 145 Cape Breton Island 231 Cape Coast Castle 557 Cape of Good Hope 473 Caymans

22 Ceylon

369 Dominica

73 Falkland Islands

142 Gambia

552 Gibraltar

559 Grenada

40 Gozo

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Demerara 117
Essequibo 117
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117 Heligoland

601 Honduras

137 Hudson's Bay Ter. 272 India : Bengal

280 Bombay

280 Madras

281 Ionian Islands : Corfu

591 Cephalonia 592 Cerigo .' 593 Ithaca

. 593 Paxo

593 Santa Maura 503 Zante

592 Jamaica

1 Malacca

405 Malta

508 Mauritius Montserrat

89 New Brunswick 233 Newfoundland 256 New South Wales Nevis

87 Norfolk Island

113 Nova Scotia

212 Penang Prince Edwards Is., 245 Seychelles

518 Siera Leone

525 Sincapore

408 St. Helena

520 St. Kitts

93 St. Lucia

69 St. Vincent

50 Tobago

35 Tortola and Vir.

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23 Van Diemen's L. Wellesley Prov. 403 West Indies America, North Appendix, General

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