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Immigration Report of 1838

From the British Parliamentary Papers 1839
Reports and Correspondence Respecting Emigration To The Colonies
Canadas

No. 2:

Copy of a Despatch from Lieutenant General Sir J. Colborne, Bart., G.C.B., to the Marquess of Normanby; with Annual Report of Mr. Buchanan.

Government House, Montreal, 12 April 1839.
My Lord,

I have the honour to transmit the annual report on emigration to the Canadas for the year 1838, which has been forwarded to me by Mr. A.C. Buchanan, junior, the chief emigrant agent in this country.

With reference to that part of the report (page 31), which relates to the capitation tax levied on emigrants arriving by sea, I beg to observe, that the Act has been renewed by the Special Council for six months longer from the 1st of may, as any Ordinance passed for the discontinuance of the Act could not be known at the ports in Great Britain in sufficient time to prevent the collection of the duty.

I have, &c.,
(signed) J. Colborne.

Enclosure in No. 2

Annual Report on Emigration to the Canadas for the year 1838.
Office for superintendence of Emigrants,
Quebec, 20 January 1839.
Sir,

I have the honour to submit to your Excellency, for the information of Her Majesty's Government, the annexed report of this department on the emigration to these provinces from the mother country and elsewhere, during the year 1838.

I regret to have to report a much larger decrease in the comparative amount of the emigration than has occurred of late years to account for which it is only necessary to refer to the unfavourable condition for the reception of the immigrant in which these provinces were placed in consequence of the rebellious outbreak of 1837. The circumstances of the Canadas having become known, and perhaps not without exaggeration, throughout the emigrating districts of Great Britain and Ireland in the spring of 1838, necessarily had a most detrimental effect, and the encouragement given to emigration to Australia must have enhanced the unfavourable impressions which were entertained as to the condition of these provinces.

On reference to paper No. 1, p. 32, of the Appendix, it will appear that the total number of immigrants recorded at this office, during 1838, amounts only to 3,266 souls, showing a diminution, as compared with the number last year, of no less than 18,635 souls.

According to the custom of former years, I have added in Paper No. 2, p. 33, in the Appendix, a detailed statement of the country and ports of embarkation, with the number from each respectively.

The decrease in the number of emigrants from England in 1838 is 4,590; from Scotland, 962; from Ireland, 13,082; and from Lower Ports, 1; Total number, 18,635 souls.

In Paper No. 3, p. 35, of the Appendix, will be found the comparative statement of the general immigration into these provinces during the last and nine preceding years The aggregate amounts is 264,054 souls.

A melancholy loss of life occurred in the ship wreck of a fine new vessel, the "Colborne," from London, at Port Daniel, Bay of Chaleurs, in the month of October last, on which occasion forty-two persons, many of them most respectable emigrants, met a watery grave. The cause of this disaster was the misconduct of the captain, who was totally unfit for his responsible situation.

It is satisfactory to assure your Excellency that the few immigrants who arrived during the last season were generally supplied with ample stores and sufficient pecuniary means. It may be remarked that most of these emigrants came out from home to join friends who have preceded them, and who; having advantageously established themselves in these provinces, had remitted money to Europe to enable their relatives to join them here. Your Excellency will observe that this may be considered the very best kind of emigration, and it is in itself a practical proof of the benefits which industry in another country will bestow on those who exercise it with steadiness and perseverance.

I am also happy in being able to report to your Excellency that no disease whatever has been noticed among the immigrants of last year.

I experienced great satisfaction during my visit to the eastern townships last summer in receiving favourable accounts of the new settlers established there during the last two years. All who have been satisfied with their location, and have had steadiness to remain on their land, are now in a state of comparative comfort and independence. The great scarcity of labourers, however, and the high price of wages which farmers are obliged to pay for the necessary assistance required on their land, continue to weigh heavily on the new settler, who has not sufficient physical aid amongst the members of his own family. Thus, strong inducements are held out to immigrants on their arrival to proceed to this part of the country for employment, where good out-door labourers can earn from 40s. to 50s. currency per month, with board and lodging found.

No. 1.-Statement showing the Weekly Arrival of Emigrants at Quebec and Montreal during the Year 1838; specifying the Number of Males, Females and Children under Fourteen Years; also the Number of Voluntary Emigrants and those that received Parochial Aid.

Week ending Males Females Children under 14 Years. Parochial Aid Voluntary Total each Week
May 12 81 36 31 -- 148 148
" 19 99 61 62 - 222 222
" 26 101 58 42 - 201 201
June 2 61 33 29 - 123 123
" 9 8 2 2 - 12 12
" 16 5 3 4 - 12 12
" 23 276 200 122 - 598 598
" 30 51 30 26 12 95 107
July 7 134 89 55 - 278 278
" 14 6 2 3 - 11 11
" 21 61 43 29 96 37 133
August 4 108 74 60 - 242 242
" 11 34 24 15 - 73 73
" 18 47 25 22 - 94 94
" 25 80 59 46 11 174 185
September 1 40 20 12 - 72 72
" 8 104 56 31 18 173 191
" 15 16 13 13 - 42 42
" 22 54 20 16 - 90 90
" 29 125 54 21 200 - 200
October 13 26 7 4 - 37 37
" 20 102 39 27 - 168 168
November 3 27 - - - 27 27
" 19 1,646 948 672 337 2,929 3,266

No. 2.-Names of Ports from whence Emigrants came during the Year 1838 with comparative Statement of the Numbers arrived at Quebec and Montreal during the Seven preceding Years.

England

Name of Ports 1838 1837 1836 1835 1834 1833 1832 1831
London 194 987 1,666 762 1,051 1,287 4,150 1,135
Chatham - - - - 22 17 - -
Shoreham - - - - 62 - 99 -
Portsmouth 123 201 778 247 163 251 932 -
Southampton - - - - 1 20 - 4
Newport - - - 4 20 2 156 1
Dartmouth - 14 76 30 82 81 196 9
Poole 52 73 74 6 1 84 150 100
Plymouth 35 403 88 211 350 440 1,398 474
Torquay - - - 10 - - 48 -
Exeter - 9 - 1 - - 6 -
Falmouth 17 3 11 - 59 31 107 77
Penzance - 1 - 13 12 - 28 19
Jersey - - 27 2 17 2 - -
Padstow 1 1 8 13 29 53 335 5
Bideford 8 - 16 - - - 60 51
Bridgewater - 6 - 2 37 16 306 280
Bristol 4 159 283 129 64 107 1,836 764
Gloucester
and
Frome
- - 22 3 10 7 - 6
Milford 3 3 7 1 5 35 138 15
Caermarthen - - - 6 - 22 - 45
Swansea 18 - - - 32 - 63 -
Aberystwith - - - 2 37 42 27 -
Llanelly - - - - - - 21 -
Liverpool 367 2,247 3,748 388 1,060 551 2,217 2,261
Lancaster - - - - - 61 45 43
Whitehaven - - 110 - 72 413 795 138
Maryport - 39 15 182 538 315 884 421
Workington - - - - 29 - 246 399
Berwick
and
Newcastle
7 94 16 210 459 208 340 239
Sunderland 7 36 155 16 57 40 206 86
Scarbro'
and
Shields
- 21 14 1 49 1 12 -
Stackston - - - 18 192 233 132 -
Whitby - 71 71 59 273 46 236 471
Brant - - 8 - - - - -
Hull 86 367 465 462 1,171 655 1,288 2,780
Ipswich - - 555 - - - - -
Yarmouth 49 617 3,025 203 345 171 793 514
Lowestoft - - 119 - - - - -
Colchester - - - - - - 145 -
Tynemouth
and
Wighton
6



-


21


-


-


-


-


-
Lynn 12 1,546 810 86 - 7 86 -
Portaferry - 12 - - - - - -
Stornaway 1 62 - - - - - -
  990 5,580 12,188 3,067 6,799 5,198 17,481 10,343

Ireland

Name of Ports 1838 1837 1836 1835 1834 1833 1832 1831
Dublin 135 2,535 2,438 912 5,879 3,571 6,595 7,157
Wexford - - 18 6 23 21 157 229
Ross 12 130 208 259 278 325 926 1,159
Waterford 14 859 629 205 1,008 197 877 1,216
Youghal - 246 249 65 203 53 159 210
Cork 149 2,699 2,588 861 2,261 925 1,987 2,735
Baltimore - 360 166 99 - - 184 -
Tralee 17 286 250 42 217 67 133 114
Limerick 96 1,055 906 641 1,097 602 1,689 2,759
Clare - - - - - 19 - -
Galway 4 - 83 - 79 190 425 452
Westport - - - 194 221 - 529 720
Killala - 223 288 - - - - 514
Sligo 187 1,813 1,687 893 2,114 657 2,961 4,079
Ballyshannon - - 122 - 154 71 86 200
Donegall 73 113 66 - 2 - 113 -
Londonderry 204 1,424 1,427 1,041 1,580 1,852 2,582 2,888
Larne - - - - - - 137 -
Belfast 548 1,999 1,209 1,350 3,024 2,637 6,851 7,943
Newry 17 282 144 537 945 725 2,374 1,591
Strangford - - - - 117 41 349 169
Drogheda - - - - - 60 90 -
Kilrush - - - - 4 - - -
Kinsale - 86 118 3 2 - - -
Newport - 378 - - - - - -
  1,456 14,538 12,596 7,108 19,208 12.013 28,204 34,135

Scotland

Name of Ports 1838 1837 1836 1835 1834 1833 1832 1831
Dumfries - - - 26 - 137 - -
Ayr - 11 - - 221 24 - 40
Kirkwall
and
Thurso
- - 149 - - - - -
Inverness - - - 183 - 138 - 361
Cromarty - 215 545 181 276 298 638 460
Greenock 145 698 519 597 1,140 1,458 1,716 2,988
Campbell Town - - - - - 192 110 -
Glasgow 12 45 32 80 462 168 160 176
Stranraer
and
Montrose
- 2 19 16 87 75 60 -
Peterhead - - - 42 29 41 18 13
Dundee 1 20 11 37 99 194 439 249
Grangemouth - - 6 1 - - - 196
Leith 41 253 45 247 661 622 1,145 664
Aberdeen 147 252 696 545 647 116 478 158
islay - - - 123 358 601 181 -
Lochinbar - - 28 - - - - -
Annan - - - 30 391 - 175 -
Lochindoel - - 174 - - - - -
Alloa 1 9 - 13 87 - 231 -
Leven - - - - - 39 112 -
Irvine - - - 6 - 6 37 -
Kirkaldy - 4 - - 33 47 - -
Tobermory - - - - 99 40 - -
Troon - - - - 1 - - -
Stornaway 200 - - - - - - -
  547 1,509 2,224 2,127 4,591 4,196 5,500 5,305

No. 2 Names of Ports from whence Emigrants came during the Year 1838, &c.-continued

Lower Ports

Name of Ports 1838 1837 1836 1835 1834 1833 1832 1831
New foundland 273 274 235 225 339 359 561 424
Nova Scotia
Cape Breton
West Indies
&c. &c.
Continent
Havre de Grâce - - 485 - - - - -

Emigration Department, Quebec,
20 January 1839.
A.C. Buchanan, jun.
Chief Agent

No. 3.-Comparative Statement of the Number of Emigrants arrived at Quebec since the Year 1829, inclusive.

-------- 1829 1830 1831 1832 1833 1834 1835 1836 1837 1838
England and Wales 3,565 6,799 10,343 17,481 5,198 6,799 3,067 12,188 5,580 990
Ireland 9,614 18,300 34,133 28,204 12,013 19,206 7,108 12,590 14,538 1,456
Scotland 2,643 2,450 5,354 5,500 4,196 4,591 2,127 2,224 1,509 547
Hamburgh
and
Gibraltar
- - - 15 - - - - - -
Nova Scotia
Newfoundland
West Indies, &c.
123 451 424 546 345 339 225 235 274 273
Havre de Grâce - - - - - - - 485 - -
  15,945 28,000 50,254 51,746 21,752 30,935 12,527 27,728 21,901 3,266

Grand Total 264,054

Emigrant Department, Quebec
20 January 1839.
A.C. Buchanan, jun.
Chief Agent.

No. 4.-Return of the Number of Emigrants arrived at New York from the United Kingdom, for the last Ten Years.

  England Ireland Scotland Total
In the year 1829 8,110 2,443 948 11,501
1830 16,350 3,499 1,584 21,433
1831 13,808 6,721 2,078 22,607
1832 18,947 6,050 3,286 28,283
1833 - - - 16,100
1834 - - - 26,540
1835 - - - 16,749
1836 - - - 59,075
1837 - - - 34,000
1838 - - - 1,359

Total

237,647

Emigrant Department, Quebec
20 January 1839.
A.C. Buchanan, jun.
Chief Agent.

No. 5.-Extracts from a portion of the Weekly Reports of the Chief Agent for Emigration

(This report starts with the week ending June 23.)

Week ending 23d June: The emigrants during the past week have in general proceeded to Upper Canada; a few of the labourers, servants and trades have obtained employment in Quebec. They apparently are all well able to pay their way, and a few possessed of considerable capital. The great demand for labourers here and in Montreal prevents the necessity of any applications being made to the emigrant society for assistance, as all who are disposed and willing to accept of employment can obtain it without difficulty, and with good wages.

Week ending 7th July: The arrivals during the past week are very respectable, and all in good health, and well supplied with means; they all proceeded to Upper Canada, and a few families went to join their friends in the United States. These people informed me that a great many of their friends are making preparation to emigrate in course of the fall. Labourers of all classes are in great demand in Upper Canada, and in the townships at high wages.

Week ending 21st July: The emigrants arrived during the past week are principally paupers, sent out by the parishes of Northiam[sic] and Berkley in Sussex, and from the house of industry, Isle of Wight. They are mostly young men, and all landed in good health. These people were forwarded to Montreal at the expense of their respective parishes, and were paid the sum of one pound sterling previous to leaving the vessel. The two families per Joseph have resided ten years in Cape Breton, and are now proceeding to join their friends in the township of Burford, London district. They are in very good circumstances.

Week ending 4th August: The emigrants arrived during the past week are all in good health, and with the exception of a few families from Liverpool are well provided with means; their destination is Upper Canada, where most of them have relations, who assisted them to emigrate. The families from the Bay of Chaleur have considerable prospects with them, and are going to settle up the Bay of Quente[sic]; they were furnished with every advice necessary for their future guidance, and the best route to proceed, from this office.

Week ending 25th August: The emigrants arrived last week are all in comfortable circumstances, and with the exception of a few tradesmen (who have obtained employment in town) have proceeded to Upper Canada. The Scotch emigrants in the Eliza from Greenock have brought out considerable capital with them; they have all gone to Upper Canada. In the Nereid from London were two families, eleven in number, sent out by the overseers of the parish of Edenbridge, Kent; their passages were paid to Montreal. There have been very few inquiries among the passengers arrived lately for employment.

Week ending 8th September: The arrivals during the last week are of a very respectable class, particularly those from Belfast; they have all gone to Upper Canada, and with a few exceptions they have friends and relations settled in the country. Their destination is principally in the Midland and Western districts, and are all in possession of sufficient means to pay their way to their respective destinations.

Week ending 29th September: The only arrivals during the past week were 200 Highlanders, brought out by the British American Land Company; they were all in good health, and proceeded immediately to Port St. Francis, on the route to the company's lands in the Eastern townships; they will prove a valuable acquisition to that part of the country.

Week ending 20th October: The emigrants arrived this week consist principally of tradesmen, farmers and labourers, of whom very few remained in Quebec. They have gone to Toronto, Hamilton, and the London district, where many of them have friends.

Navigation closed 3d November.

No. 6 - New York Law for Alien Passengers

An Act relative to Alien Passengers arriving in this State, passed 10th February 1838.

Section 1. The authorities of any town are authorized to tax the master, owner, agent or consignee of any vessel arriving there from any foreign country from one to ten dollars for every alien passenger.

Section 2. Makes it the duty of the master of the ship so arriving to furnish the town authorities with a list of his passengers, their respective ages, occupations and places of birth, within twenty-four hours, under a penalty of 500 dollars.

Section 3. Provides that no passenger shall be landed unless permitted from the city or township authorities, under fifty dollars penalty for each passenger so landing without permission.

Section 4. Enacts that the town so giving permission shall support any passenger who is or shall become sick, infirm, or otherwise incapable of providing for his or her maintenance, so long as the inability continues.

Section 5. Provides that the aforesaid penalties shall be sued for in any competent court, in the corporate name of the town where the forfeiture may have accrued; that the defendant may be held to special bail; and that the town may compound for the penalties either before or after suit, at its discretion.

The remaining Sections provide that this Act shall in no respect impair the existing powers of corporate towns.

-No.3-

(No. 68.)
Copy of a Despatch from Marquess of Normanby to Lieutenant General Sir John Colborne, Bart., G.C.B.

Downing-street, 15 August 1839.
Sir,

In reference to your Despatch of the 12th April, No. 53, enclosing Mr. Buchanan's annual report on the emigration of 1838 to Canada, I beg leave to acquaint you that I referred this report to the agent general for emigration, for such observations as he might have to offer; and I have now the honour to enclose for your information his reply.

You will perceive that Mr. Elliot's letter contains some remarks that appear of importance on the subject of the emigrant tax, which observations, however, I think it enough to refer you to, as the question is one which I should wish to be decided upon by yourself and by the council on the spot.

I have, &c.
(signed) Normanby.


2 Middle Scotland Yard, 27th July 1839.
Sir,

I have the honour to return herewith Mr. Buchanan's report on the emigration from this country in the year 1838.

It is satisfactory to observe that Mr. Buchanan is able to give a good account in all respects of the emigrants of 1838, both as to the supplies with which they were provided and the state of health in which they arrived.

Mr. Buchanan's impression, that in the unfavourable tendency of the insurrection of 1837 may be found the explanation of the great decrease of the emigration of the ensuing season, appears to be supported by the fact that there is known to be a considerable revival of emigration to North America in the present year. It has been further suggested, however, that the stimulus which has been given to Australian emigration must probably, to a certain degree, operate to the diminution of the resort to Canada.

The loss of a fine new vessel, the Colborne, with the death of forty-two persons, owing, as Mr. Buchanan states, to the misconduct and total unfitness of the captain for his situation, is an event that cannot be read without great regret. It is to be lamented that the alleged cause of the disaster is by no means rare or confined to this particular trade, but that twice during the last three years it has been mentioned by experienced witnesses, before Committees of the House of Commons, as a frequent source of destruction to British life and property, and as an occasion of injury to British in competition with foreign shipping. At this moment the Government has before it the case of a fine ship, in fair weather, run ashore and totally lost in entering no less well known a port than the Cape of Good Hope, through what appears almost beyond doubt the neglect of the master and the intoxication of the chief officer, to whom he improperly delegated his own duty.

I observe that the emigrant tax has been renewed by the Special Council of Lower Canada for the present season. This is a duty upon which I am aware that there has been a difference of opinion, and it might be out of place to enter at any length into the discussion of it on the present occasion; but I cannot refrain from annexing the accompanying copy of a brief incidental examination upon the subject before the Canada Commissioners in 1836, which seems to me to meet some of the ordinary exceptions taken to the tax, and I will candidly confess my apprehension that the withdrawal of the resources which it confers may be seriously injurious to emigration.

The only other subject in Mr. Buchanan's report which suggests to me any remark is the Passengers Act he mentions to have been passed in the Congress of the United States. The provisions of this Act certainly appear very stringent, but they have not yet produced the effect which Mr. Buchanan anticipated upon the course of emigration to the ports of that country. I find that the numbers already sailed for the United States this year are much larger than those of the whole of last year; and that, taking those places only which have resident emigrant agents, the returns of passengers from Great Britain and Ireland to the United States for the two first quarters of the year amount to 22,451.

I have, &c.
T. Frederick Elliot.


Extract of Evidence taken by the Canada Commissioners at Sherbrooke,

10th September 1836.

Do you believe that the emigrant tax has been imposed with a view hostile to emigration?
-That is our impression.

Are you aware that it was imposed at the instance of the Government at home?
-We are.

Do you then think that the object of the Government at home was hostile to emigration?
-Not so; but we speak of the part that the assembly took in it.

Being then of opinion that the law proposed by the Government for the benefit of emigration was passed by the assembly, because they believed it would injure emigration, which in your opinion will really be the effect of the law?
-Most of us think it will injure emigration.

Are you of opinion that the cause of emigration would be promoted if there were no provision for emigrants on their arrival?
-There ought to be a provincial grant.

Would you prefer that the accommodation of emigrants should depend on the annual bounty of the assembly, which you represent as hostile to the influx of British settlers, or rather on a lasting law?
-We would prefer it by a lasting law if the money were derived from some other source than the emigrants themselves.

But supposing that no appropriation could be obtained, either by permanent law or annual grant, from any other sources than the emigrants, would you have the existing provision, or none?
-Seeing the disadvantage that must accrue from the entire absence of a fund, we may somewhat differ on that point; the majority of us would be against the tax, but would rather trust to voluntary contributions when a public grant should be wanting.

You doubtless remember that occasions have been known when 50,000 emigrants have passed through Quebec in a season, 10,000 have landed in a week, and 2,000 in a morning. These people do not remain at Quebec, nor many of them at Montreal, but they proceed to the townships, to Upper Canada, and often to the United States. Under these circumstances, do you conceive it likely that either the means or the charitable disposition of the two cities would long sustain private individuals in making adequate provision for the sick or the indigent among such multitudes as pass through them on their way to other places?
-Emigration reached that great extent suddenly. If the tax had not been imposed, the people might have organized themselves better, and established societies on a more systematic mode. We are not, however, unanimous on this point.

Does it occur to you, that for the encouragement of emigration it is as important, or more so, that people should be able to have some feeling of security when they leave the other shore as that in case of need the relief should actually be given; and if so, do you think that this object could be accomplished as effectually by trusting to the changes of private charity, as by a certain and legal provision known to the emigrants before they start?
-That is a consideration, no doubt, in favour of a provision by law.


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