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Immigration Papers of 1827

Extracts from the British Parliamentary Papers 1828 (112) XXI.621 "Despatches from Governors of N. American Colonies on Regulations for Conveyance of Passengers, 1827."

Saint Andrew’s, 1st August 1827.
My dear Sir,

It was only on the 30th ultimo that I received your esteemed favour of the 20th. I rejoice to find that the subject of the treatment of emigrants on the late relaxed principles of transportation has attracted the attention of His Majesty’s Government. Viewing the subject as I do, as one of great importance, affecting the health, comfort and safety of so many unfortunate, and I was going to add (but your communication proves the contrary) unprotected and disregarded human beings.

I do not apprehend that from the new system much injury will arise amongst such passengers as may arrive in regular established traders, where the masters have an interest in maintaining a character for humanity and attention to the cleanliness, health and comfort of those intrusted to their charge; but more than one half of the emigrants come out in transient vessels, chartered for the express purpose of making money, by men reckless of character or consequences, so long as they suppose the law will not reach them.

The brig William Henry, owned by N. Marks of St. Stephen, but chartered by a Dublin house, arrived here last month with 250 passengers (from Dublin), had no surgeon, and insufficient supply of provisions and bad water. Their sufferings were dreadful–of the number, 39 are chargeable to this parish, two have died, and others are not considered out of danger. This is a glaring instance of the evils arising from the new system, and it is not a solitary one, although the most prominent at this port. At Halifax, still greater misery has been exhibited, and from similar causes. I had omitted to state, that a large proportion of the passengers per William Henry are of the most useless description, mere beggars, squalid, loathsome, dejected; I trust in God, and I feel confident, that the paternal and watchful care of His Majesty’s Government is such, that no vessel will hereafter be permitted to leave the United Kingdom with passengers, without a minute and careful investigation that they are provided with medical aid, wholesome provisions and water, adequate to their probable necessities; and also, that the vessels shall not be too much crowded.

I feel confident, that the accounts you may receive from St. John, will substantially accord with my statement.

                                                                                                                  I am, with much esteem, &c.
Rich. Simonds, esq.                                                                                (signed) Peter Stuls,
Sec to the New Brunswick Agricultural and Emigrant Society          Secretary of the Charlotte County Agricultural and Emigrant Society.


To His Excellency Sir Howard Douglas, Bart., Lieutenant-Governor,
Commander-in-Chief in the Province of New Brunswick, &c. &c.
The Petition of His Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the City and County of Saint John, in Sessions assembled.
Humbly Showeth,

That they approach your Excellency on the subject of support for destitute emigrants with regret; well aware of the attention your Excellency has given the matter, and of how ineffectual the assistance granted has been, either in relieving every instance of misery, or in enabling your memorialists, as magistrates for this city and county, to reduce the assessments made upon the inhabitants for the support of emigrants.

That it is not necessary for your memorialists to question the policy of throwing so many of the helpless peasantry of Ireland on the shores of this colony, nor is this the place, even if to your Excellency such detail were necessary, to enter into a description of the general character of the emigrants–their poverty–the diseases they bring into the country–their inability, for a length of time, to do the work required here–or their vices; but your memorialists do conceive it to be their duty, fully to state to your Excellency that the fact of so many persons, from a distant country, being thrown on the scanty population of this city and county for support, (12 or 13,000 being the whole population,) is most oppressive, and even unjust. And that the taxes annually imposed by your memorialists for the support of these emigrants, and of numerous black persons brought from the United States during last war, and left here, are so deeply felt as to make this appeal necessary, more particularly as the evil, (owing to the former restrictions, in respect to emigrants from Britain, being at an end,) is much on the increase, as appears by the custom house books, which show the numbers landed in this port during 1825 as 1,865, for 1826 as 2,752, and for this year, to this date, as 3,200.

That as the passage money is paid to the ship master in advance, it becomes a matter of consideration with him, how many human beings he can take on board; and that of course the passenger vessels are crowded to excess, no regard being had to their age, the state of their health, or their capability to procure a livelihood in America. On landing here, the young and active push their way on to the United States (their destination on leaving Ireland, though they came this way, as being less expensive than a direct passage, where the numbers are very limited,) leaving the old, the infirm, the diseased, here.

That it appears to your memorialists there are only two plans by which the city and county of St. John, and the province in general, can be relieved from the burthen they now complain of, and that neither of those plans can be carried into effect by your memorialists; viz. either that an Act of the Imperial Parliament pass, authorizing the officers of His Majesty’s Customs to exact from any ship bringing passengers into the province fifteen shillings sterling (25s. being paid in the United States) for each passenger, (excepting only small vessels from the contiguous provinces of Canada and Nova Scotia,) which sum should be paid over to the province treasurer, and be applied only to the support of such emigrants as were, or might become destitute; or that an exact account, on oath, be kept of the expenses attending the emigrants, and that the British Government make provision for the same, on the requisite documents being sent to London through your Excellency or the Lieutenant Governor for the time being.

That your memorialists have suggested the above two plans, under the hope that your Excellency will take the necessary steps to bring the subject before His Majesty’s Government, and that they do so under the certainty of your Excellency’s being perfectly aware of the evil, and fully disposed to procure relief; and also that it appears to your memorialists that the first plan is not only a definite measure, and one attended with no difficulty in collecting, but likewise that it imposes no material tax on the parties paying the same, though relief would from it be given to your memorialists.

By attending to the prayer in the above petition, your memorialists will be obliged to your Excellency, and, as in duty bound, will ever pray,

                                                            By order of the Court,

St. John, 2d October 1827.                 (signed) Jas Peters, jun., Clerk.


Copy of a Despatch, and its Enclosure, from Sir James Kempt to Viscount Goderich, dated 7th September 1827.
Halifax, 7th September 1827.
My Lord,

It will be my duty, at a future period, to communicate with your Lordship more fully than I am now prepared to do relative to the pernicious effects that have come under my own personal observation resulting from the late repeal of the Act of Parliament “for regulating vessels carrying passengers;” but an alarming instance of this evil having been this morning made known to me, I think it right not to defer any longer calling your Lordship’s attention to the subject.

I always considered the 17th section of the 6 Geo. IV. C. 117, exempting vessels carrying passengers from Ireland to any of the North American colonies, from the excellent provisions of that Act, as an unwise enactment, notwithstanding the controlling power vested in the Lords of the Treasury over vessels desirous of availing themselves of such exemptions; but even that restriction, insufficient as it has proved to prevent abuse, is now removed, and the result is as might have been expected.

There this day arrived in the birg James, from Waterford, 120 passengers of the most wretched description, all of whom, as well as the whole crew, are labouring under the typhus fever, as will appear by the enclosed copy of a letter from the health officer.

One hundred and sixty embarked in Ireland; five died at sea; and the vessel being obliged to put into St. John’s, Newfoundland, for medical assistance and provisions, thirty-five were left behind there, too ill to proceed.

The disease among these miserable people was occasioned solely by their scanty nourishment during the voyage–by the crowded and filthy state of the ship, and by a want of medical assistance. I wish that this were the only case of a like nature that I could adduce.

During the summer five vessels have arrived at this port from Ireland, all crowded with passengers, among whom sickness, produced by the same causes, prevailed to so great an extent as to oblige me to establish an hospital expressly for the reception of these poor emigrants.

Nor are the fatal consequences of the repeal of the Act in question confined to the passengers, their disease is contagious, and many of the inhabitants of the town have been and are afflicted with it.

What I have stated will probably be sufficient to satisfy your Lordship of the expedience of re-enacting the Passenger Act, (with the exception of the objectionable clause to which I have alluded,) or of substituting some new regulations before next season, to guard against the continuance of the existing evils; but as the medical gentlemen in charge of the hospital, and the committee I have appointed to administer relief to those unfortunate emigrants, are preparing a report of their proceedings, and as your Lordship might wish for a more detailed statement than that I now offer, I shall do myself the honour of addressing your Lordship again upon the subject.

                                                I have, &c.
The Right Honourable            (signed) James Kempt.
Viscount Goderich,
&c. &c. &c.


Halifax, September 7th.
Sir,

I beg leave to state, for the information of his Excellency, the arrival of brig James, Grace, master, from Waterford, last from St. John’s, Newfoundland, which port she left 29th August, with 120 passengers, all labouring under typhus fever, which has extended itself to the crew who are dangerously ill; I have therefore ordered the said vessel to remain at quarantine till his Excellency’s pleasure shall be known; several deaths occurred during the vessel’s stay at Newfoundland, and two on the passage from Newfoundland here.

                                                            I have the honour to be, Sir, your most obedient servant,
Sir Rupert D. George, Bart.                (signed) Charles W. Wallace.
&c. &c. &c.


Copy of a Despatch from Sir Thomas Cochrane to Viscount Goderich, dated 25th September 1827.

                                    Government House, St. John’s, Newfoundland,
                                    25th September 1827.
My Lord,

In the month of May, a vessel named the “Freedom,” arrived from Waterford in Ireland, partly laden with salt, and having a number of passengers on board in a very sickly state, several of whom died on the passage, and a number were landed in a most deplorable condition.

Other vessels laden with passengers have since come in, either bound direct to this port or on their way to Quebec or Halifax, more or less similarly afflicted by disease, which has been communicated to the lower orders of people in this town, spreading itself in the first instance in a manner to excite much alarm; but I am happy to say the deaths only amount as yet to eighty-one, and all serious cause for apprehension has ceased.

Of the vessels that have thus brought passengers and disease to this port, I will now have the honour of bringing tow of them under your Lordship’s more immediate observation; the first is the “Freedom,” a small brig, burthened only 119 tons; the accompanying particulars contained in two reports from the surveyor of navigation, will more fully depict the state of that vessel than any detail of mine can give, nor will any remarks from me be necessary to excite your Lordship’s sympathies in learning that fellow-creatures have been so inhumanly dealt with as the poor wretches embarked on board this vessel; but it is incumbent on me to state to your Lordship, that from every information I at the time received, of the condition of these people either oral or in writing, I do really believe there are not many instances of slave traders from Africa to America exhibiting so disgusting a picture, and that the affecting narratives which the public prints so often detail of the state of slave vessels boarded by British cruizers would apply in all its force to the case of the “Freedom,” and might with almost equal truth have been published to the world by any foreign vessel of war, that unfortunately might chance to have fallen in with her; and I have no hesitation in assuring your Lordship, that the most favourable account that reached me of this vessel, admitted of no sort of comparison between her and a French slave brig, captured by me four years ago, when in command of a frigate on the Leeward Island station.

The second vessel is the brig “James,” of Waterford, bound to Halifax, having on board 164 passengers, 21 of whom, and 4 of her crew, were ill with typhus fever on her arrival, and who put in here for want of provisions. There is no complaint made of the room in this vessel for the number of persons on board, but the system adopted in her, and which now very generally prevails of making the passengers supply themselves with provisions during the voyage, is one which calls for your Lordship’s serious consideration. Many of the individuals who came out in these vessels probably never saw one before, and all of them are totally ignorant of the necessary provisions to lay in for so uncertain a voyage as that of crossing the Atlantic; and even were the stock of each calculated on first sailing to meet the longest passage, it may with as much reason be expected that sailors, if supplied each with an adequate allowance for a voyage round the globe, should make it last until their return, as that these ignorant people should economize their provision for the period it was provided for; and it is to be apprehended that some serious consequence will ensue if the present system is permitted to continue, for a vessel named the “Maria” came in under similar circumstances to the “James,” with the addition of the passengers in a state of mutiny, several of them in irons, and the master armed to protect his own provision form seizure by the remainder.

Until the year before last the Passenger Acts applied to Newfoundland, except in the case of hired servants, when another Act was passed, from the operation of which Newfoundland and the Labrador were altogether expressly excluded; upon what principle such exclusion took place, or at whose instigation His Majesty’s government were induced to make the exception, I am entirely ignorant; and I have little doubt but false representations must have been made on the subject, by those persons who make a trade of importing paupers here in the spring, and provided they can get a freight for their vessels, which would otherwise come in ballast, are indifferent as to the consequences that result from it.

I must further trespass upon your Lordship’s time, while I explain the system at present pursued by those who carry on this unprincipled trade. Proclamations, such as I have the honor to enclose, are posted up in different parts of Ireland, &c. as your Lordship will perceive, totally falsifying the real state of the vessel intended to transport those wishing to emigrate; the parties either pay down four pounds and find their food, or six pounds and are victualled; if they cannot pay themselves, they procure a bond from their friends, to be cancelled if they can, on their arrival at the port of debarkation, obtain the required sum upon the strength of their future labour; if not, the bond is sent home and enforced; the more passengers, therefore, the merchant can put on board his vessel, the greater his profit; and although disease may assail the whole or part of them, the advantage to him is the same, who is not even at the expense of the meanest medical attendant for the moltey [sic] and dense crew he takes on board.

Should it hereafter be deemed advisable to re-enact the Passengers Act, or enact a new one, I must beg to draw your Lordship’s attention to that part of it (6 Geo. IV. C. 116,) which exempts from its operation all hired servants coming to the fishery. I am not aware of the grounds for this exemption; if inserted from the supposed interest the hirer would have in the welfare of his servants, it quite fails to secure them the expected advantage, for in point of fact it scarcely ever occurs, except at some few establishments in the out-ports, that the hirers make use of them in the fishery; the ideal master only so shipping them as servants, to evade the operation of the Act, disposing of them on his arrival at the port of destination.

If I may be permitted to offer an opinion, I would observe, that at once to do justice to the shipper and passenger, medical men duly qualified, and others conversant on these subjects, should be consulted as to the extent of space absolutely necessary for the health of each individual who embarks; the quantity of water and provisions that should be provided per diem, and the rules and regulations that should be adopted for cleanliness; and when this is once satisfactorily ascertained, it would be as cruel to the passengers to admit of an increased number on board, as it might be unfair to the merchant to restrict him to a smaller limit; but the law should then make it penal, by summary process, the transgressing the prescribed bounds and regulations; and I would further beg to suggest to your Lordship, that the offenders should be liable to be proceeded against in the colonies, as well as in Great Britain, a defect in the late Passenger Act, which limited the proceedings in such cases to the mother country.

                                                            I have, &c.
                                                            (signed Thos Cochrane.
The Right Honourable Viscount Goderich,
&c. &c. &c.


Extracts from the British Parliamentary Papers 1828 (148) XXI.379 “Appendix to Report to Colonial Dept. By Lieutenant-Colonel Cockburn on Emigration (Canada).”

Rules to be observed in victualling Troops when embarked
Six Soldiers’ Allowance, for every Day in the Week.

----

Bread, Pounds

BEER

Gallons, or half Pints SPIRITS, or Pints WINE.

BEEF,

Pieces of 8lbs.

PORK,

Pieces of 4lbs.

Pens.

Pints

OATMEAL,

BUTTER,

Pounds

CHEESE,

Pounds

VINEGAR

WATER

Sunday

4

4

-

1

2

-

-

-

One
Quart
in
a
Week

A
sufficient
Quantity
for the
Time
they
may be
on board.

Monday

4

4

1

or 6lbs of Flour, ½ lb. Of Suet, and 1 lb of Raisins

-

-

4

½

1

Tuesday

4

4

-

-

-

-

-

Wednesday

4

4

-

2

4

½

1

Thursday

4

4

-

1

2

-

-

-

Friday

4

4

-

-

2

4

½

1

Saturday

4

4

1 or as above

-

-

-

-

-

Women are to be victualled at three-fourths of the above allowance, and Children at one half of Women’s allowance.–The above are to be served out by full weights and measures.


Herwith I have sent you a list of the lots of land granted, but not settled; in this I am not exactly correct, as I have only been guided by my general knowledge of the district, and reference to plans. Three or four thousand acres in addition would probably cover the omissions in my statement. I have counted all those lots settled, on which, though containing 500 acres or more, there is one settler. Your several recommendations I shall carefully keep in view.

                                    I have the honour to be,
                                    Sir,
                                    Your most obedient humble Servant,
                                    (signed) Peter Crerar,
                                    Deputy Land Surveyor.

To John Spry Morris, Esq.


RETURN of Granted Lands unsettled in the District of Pictou in 1827
(Note: this table runs several pages and has been recorded here as one table.)

GRANTEES NAMES

No. Of Acres granted

No. Of Grant upon General Plan

WHERE SITUATED

REMARKS

James Armstrong, Esq.

500

54

2d Division, N. Side of Pictou Harbour

Settled by Intrusion, but abandoned

James Robson, Esq.

500

53

ditto

 

John M'Culla, Esq.

240

437

Scotch Hill, N.W. of Pictou

 

Heirs of Phil. Marchinton

1,400

182

Between Three-Brock and Carabou River

 

Ditto

200

-

Big Carabou Island

 

Minister's Lot

500

436

Scotch Hill Road to River John

 

Glebe ditto

500

-

ditto

 

Schoolmaster's ditto

500

-

ditto

 

John Mackay

500

897

2d Division, E. Branch River John

Sold, but not settled

Peter Kilgour

200

420

Rear of Milne's Grant

ditto

Alexander M'Donald

450

-

ditto

ditto

William Ridston

500

950

ditto

ditto

Phil. Merchinton

1,400

182

Gulf Shore, Cape John

Some few Settlers by leave

Robert Stewart

250

750

2d Division, Gulf Shore`

 

Thomas Davison

500

299

River John Road

 

George Logan, senior

200

-

S. Of River John Road

 

George Logan, junior

100

-

ditto

 

James Logan

100

-

ditto

 

Robert Logan

100

-

ditto

 

John, George, and D. Mingo

400

633

2d Division, E. Branch River John

 

John Tullis

500

998

N.S.E. Branch ditto

 

John Stoddart

250

-

ditto

 

John and David M’Gill

400

-

South Side ditto

 

Windsor College

5,000

-

River John

 

William Robertson

362

419

E. Side ditto

 

George Davison

282

-

ditto

 

Samuel Langille

150

-

W. Side ditto

 

Alexander Thain

200

640

2d Division W. Side River St. John

 

Robert Allan

250

1,152

ditto

 

George Pallrigan

450

633

N.W. Corner of College Land

 

John G. Marshall

250

494

Upper Settlement, E. Side of River John

 

William Rankine

200

881

ditto

 

John Taylor

300

626

River John Road, Upper Settlement

7 or 8 Acres cut down, but not settled

David Creichton

300

-

ditto

ditto

James Stewart

250

644

W. Of Mount Dalhousie

 

Peter M’Lean

200

626

ditto

 

Alexander Craig

200

763

ditto

 

James M’Cara

350

623

Head of River John

 

James M’Intosh

200

645

ditto

 

Elizabeth M’Gill

384

-

ditto

 

Rev. John Mitchell

300

376

ditto

 

James Miller

200

507

S. of Mount Dalhousie

 

John M’Lellan

200

764

ditto

 

Robert Paterson

300

897

ditto

 

Andrew Marshall

400

882

ditto

 

Alexander Archibald

300

-

ditto

 

John Boyd

500

-

Mount Thomas Road

 

William M’Kenzie, senior

200

796

Head of W. River of Pictou

 

William M’Kenzie, junior

200

-

ditto

 

Daniel M’Kenzie

200

-

ditto

 

Thomas W. James

410

131

Between E. And Mid. River

 

John Campbell

200

1,085

Toney River

 

James Milne, Esq.

5,000

-

Toney River

About 1,600 acres sold

James Robertson

500

598

Barney River, Merigomish

 

Eliza Fraser

100

142

Between Mid. And W. Branch Barney River

 

Hugh Fraser

500

797

W. Branch Barney River

 

James Gilles

300

-

2d W. Branch ditto

 

John Waggoner

200

-

ditto

 

Robert Gillies

200

-

ditto

 

Donald Robertson

100

-

3d Division, rear of 82d Grant

 

John Smith

50

598

ditto

 

Robert Sturgeon

150

499

ditto

 

John M’Owen

250

-

ditto

 

John M’Kay

500

678

4th Division ditto

 

Alexander Fraser

500

162

5th Division ditto

 

John Fraser

500

-

ditto

 

Lawrence M’Cabe

500

-

ditto

 

Samuel Cameron

400

-

5th Division, rear of 82d Grant, Merigomish

 

William Fraser

200

-

Ditto 2d Range, E. Of Sir J. Wentworth’s Grant

 

Donald M’Donald

200

-

ditto

 

John M’Kinnon

300

-

ditto

 

Angus M’Donald

500

597

Range - ditto

 

Charles M'Vicar

200

-

Range next Wentworth's

 

John Thompson

350

-

ditto

 

Angus M'Vicar

200

-

ditto

 

Valentine Laws

300

-

ditto

 

James Brown

200

-

ditto

 

John Johnston

200

-

ditto

 

Matthew White

200

-

ditto

 

Constantine Adamson

500

-

S.E. Corner Wentworth's

 

Archibald M'Lean

300

-

W. Branch Barney's River

 

Alexander M'Donald and Sons

700

-

1st Division, rear of 82d Grant

 

John Cameron

200

-

ditto

 

Hugh Cameron

200

-

ditto

 

John Smith

420

-

82d Grant, 3d Division

 

Alexander M'Queen

200

-

ditto

 

Donald M'Donald

200

-

ditto

 

David Simpson

300

-

2d Division, 82d Grant

 

Lawrence M'Cabe

200

-

ditto

 

James Campbell

200

-

ditto

 

Robert Dunn

200

-

ditto

 

William Hattie

200

-

E. Branch Barney River

 

Sir J. Wentworth

20,000

-

Merigomish

About 7,000 sold, and about 1,000 occupied by Intruders


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