Immigrants to Canada
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Immigration Report of 1868
Immigration Report of 1868 from Sessional Papers, 32 Victoria 1869 (76)
- The arrivals compared with 1867, are as follows:
- The emigrants were conveyed in 66 steamers of 85,788 tons burthen, and 69 sailing vessels of
- The average passage of the steamers from Liverpool was 13 days; from Londonderry, 12; from
Glasgow, 16; and from London, 19 days.
- The sailing ships averaged 38 days from ports in the United Kingdom, 50 days from Germany
and 51 days from Norway.
- Of the whole emigration from Great Britain and Ireland, only 155 came by sailing ships and 20,
527 came by steamer.
- The first arrival of the season with passengers was the S.S. Hibernian, which came into port on
the 2nd of May, and the last arrival was the S.S. Austrian, which arrived on the 16th of November.
- The general health of the passengers of the season was good; out of the passengers from the United Kingdom only 11 deaths occurred on the passage, and of the 337 deaths recorded in the sailing ships from Germany and Norway, the greater number, viz: 311 were children who died from infantile diseases incidental to the long voyage, closeness of atmosphere and the want of proper nourishment suitable to their age.
- The following is a return of the destinations of the emigrants arrived at the Port of Quebec by steamers, compiled from the Reports furnished to me by the Grand Trunk authorities at Point Levi. (Given as Adults which means children count a half.)
|West of Toronto in Canada
|Total remained in Canada
|Total to US
- The emigrants by sailing ships, nearly the whole of whom wee foreigners, (with the exception of 90 Norwegians sent on by the advice of the Local Government to the Eastern Townships, and about 900 Germans who proceeded to the Central districts) passed as usual through to the Western States.
- Many causes tend to produce this result. In the first place nearly the whole of the foreign emigration arriving here, both by steamers and sailing vessels, has a fixed destination, and the emigrants merely land here on their way to join their friends and countrymen in the Western and other States of the Union. The same, in a great measure, may be said of the Irish, many of whose passages are paid by relatives in the United States, and they therefore land here provided with through tickets to their places of destination.
- The various lines of steamships sailing from Great Britain to North America have Agents in every Town and Village in the United Kingdom. These Agents are paid a commission in proportion to the amount of money they receive for passage tickets, and it can be easily understood that it is their interest to advise emigrants applying to them for information to book themselves to places as far in the interior as possible. The consequence is that fully nine-tenths of the passengers arriving at Quebec by steamers, hold through tickets to places in the United States and Canada. In fact it is only the emigrant who is too poor to pay who arrives here without a through ticket, and he of course has to be sent by the Department to the nearest field where work can be obtained for him. The futility of attempting to induce emigrants holding through tickets to deviate from their settled course, even where employment is offered, must be sufficiently apparent and may be advanced as an explanation of the difficulty the Agent has to encounter in controlling or directing emigrants landing at this Port. It shows, besides, the necessity of having correct information supplied respecting the Dominion, its wants, resources and advantages to intending emigrants previous to their departure, so that they may be in a position to decide for themselves the particular locality most suitable to their circumstances and inclination, and be thus guided when procuring steamship and railway through tickets to the places where they intend to settle.
- Total number of emigrants arrived and intending to settle in his neighborhood [refers to Mr. Rae, the Hamilton Agent] during the season, both by the St. Lawrence and Suspension Bridge, 2,768; consisting of 1,244 English; 419 Irish; 493 Scotch; 594 Germans; 3 Norwegians; 2 Italians; 7 Welsh, and 6 Bohemians; showing a decrease of 93 souls when compared with those of 1867, and the emigrants denominated "American citizens" were 1,878 against 3,147 in the previous year, exhibiting a diminution of 1,269.
- Mr. Rae does not speak in very complimentary terms of the first batch of emigrants sent out by the East End of London Emigration Society in May and June last, by the steamships St. Lawrence and Thames, whom he characterizes as an unmanageable and a discontented lot of people. The eight families, however, who were sent out by the same Society in August, appear on the contrary to have been exceedingly well behaved and to have given little or no trouble; they were at once satisfactorily provided for. The Agent expresses a hope that any families the Committee may send out hereafter, will be of a similar class, and come provided with means to pay for their inland transport after reaching his Agency, as this materially assists the Agent's efforts in procuring employment for them.
- Mr. Donaldson, the Agent at Toronto, reports as follows: Number of arrivals at his Agency, during the season, 28,786, of which 23,339 came via the St. Lawrence, and 447 from the States. Of this number 5,197 appear to have remained in Canada, and the remainder chiefly foreigners, passed through to the Western States.
- The demand for Agricultural laborers and female domestic servants during the entire season
continued large and far in excess of the supply, and no difficulty was experienced by the Agent in
finding ready employment for all comers.
- The mechanics and laborers sent out by the East End of London Emigration Society, with few
exceptions turned out well, and the Agent expresses a hope that in future due care will be taken
by the Society to select suitable families for emigration.
- The Kingston Agent, Mr. Macpherson's report, furnishes the following particulars: Total number
of emigrants arrived at Kingston during the season 1,797, viz: 339 from Europe and 1,458 from
the United States-101 of whom applied for and received temporary relief....Servant girls were
also in much request, and places can be found at fair wages in almost every township in his
district for from 20 to 50 of them.
- From the report of Mr. Wills, the Ottawa Agent, the following facts are gathered: Number of emigrants arrived at Ottawa during the year, 1,284, viz: 1,169 via the St. Lawrence, and 115 by way of the States;...188 remained in the City of Ottawa; 100 proceeded to the County of Carleton; 45 to Russell; 514, Renfrew; 59, Lanark; 16, Grenville; 3, Prescott; 121, County of Ottawa; 52, Pontiac; 7, Town of Guelph; 6, Toronto; 20 Berlin [now Kitchener]; and 153 left for the States.
- A body of 88 souls, sent out by the East End of London Emigration Society, and formed chiefly of dock laborers, all found work. They arrived at Ottawa in a destitute condition, and seven families are at present provided with employment in the city.
- The German emigration, which reached the Agency in 1868, was, so the Agent states, largely in excess of that of any previous year, being 477 souls over the emigration in 1867. The majority of these people proceeded to the German settlements in the Counties of Renfrew and Pontiac, and many others who left for the States would have remained and settled in Canada had they been able to have acquired free grants of land in the Ottawa country, upon which they could locate.
- The report of Mr. Daley, the Agent at Montreal, supplies the following facts: Mr. Daley speaks well upon the whole of the emigrants sent out by the East End of London Emigration Society. He says he found but little difficulty in obtaining employment for them, and gratefully acknowledges the assistance rendered him in the matter by Mr. Pell, of the "St. George's Home," as well as by the St. Patrick's and St. Andrew's Societies. He suggests that in future the Committee in England
should supply their people with bedding, as this would facilitate proper accommodation being found for them upon landing.
- With respect to Miss Rye, the Agent states that all the girls left by her at Montreal, about 40 in number, turned out well; and had she left the whole of them there, they could have been easily disposed of and thus have saved the expense of their Western journey.
- The reduction of the Parliamentary grant for immigration purposes necessitated the
discontinuance of the system hitherto pursued of granting free transport to foreign pauper
emigrants, landed at Quebec, on their way to the Western States of the Union. The determination of the Government to abolish such form of assistance was made known, at the commencement of the season, to the Prussian and Norwegian Consuls at this port as well as to the various Agents interested in passenger traffic. Before the news of this decision, however, reached Europe, the bulk of the emigrant fleet had sailed for our shores, having on board the customary proportion of indigent poor.
- On the 26th may, the first ships having any considerable number of poor arrived, and the Captains
were at once informed by me that no free transports would be granted by the Department to any of their passengers. The emigrants were consequently kept on board ship a few days, and ultimately landed at the Grand Trunk Wharf, Point Levi. Those amongst them who possessed the means, purchased railway tickets to their several destinations, and left by the cars for the West; the destitute remaining in the Grand Trunk Sheds. I notified the Prussian and Norwegian Consuls of the condition of these poor people, thinking that in their official capacity they might be empowered to relieve them, but they replied that they had no authority to render any assistance in the matter. (See copy of letters in Appendix.)
- As the foreign emigrant vessels continued to arrive, and the number of poor families daily to increase, the Grand Trunk Sheds became insufficient for their accommodation, and the greater portion of them were removed to sheds attached to this building, and supplied daily by the
Department with the necessary provisions. A few of the families, after a few days' delay,
received remittances from their friends in the States, and immediately left for their destinations;
their places in the sheds being quickly filled up by fresh arrivals. This state of things lasted until
the Order in Council was issued prohibiting the landing of paupers altogether, when the poor,
then occupying our sheds, as well as those who had been subsequently landed at Point Levi, viz:
126 souls, equal to 85 adults, were forwarded to the Western limits of Canada.
- It is only just to remark that previous to the promulgation of the Order in Council referred to, many of the Masters of vessels, sooner than their passengers should suffer inconvenience or detention, had paid for the transport of their poor, on did so in all cases. Afterwards they admitted the propriety and indeed the necessity of the measure, and only complained of the injustice they conceived had been done to them by their not having been warned, before sailing, of the contemplated action of the Government in this respect.
- Several of the German Captains sent their poor, on economical grounds, to the Ottawa district.
Some of these people have since left for the States, but the majority of them, as will be inferred
from Mr. Wills' report, remained there, and according to more recent accounts are doing well,
and are likely to become permanent settlers.
Ninety souls, (a portion of the destitute poor), from the Norwegian ship Ifferde November, which arrived on the 16th August, were, at the instigation of the Honorable Solicitor General for the Province of Quebec, sent on at the expense of the ship-owner to the Eastern Townships. A few of these people also left for the Western States, but most of them settled in the Townships, and appear to be satisfied with their prospects.
- With respect to the number of emigrants sent out from London by the East End of London Emigration Committee, and by the Honble. F. Hobart's Committee, these people were almost entirely composed of mechanics and dock laborers, (with their families,) who had been thrown out of employment by the closing of several large ship-building yards on the Thames. The first detachment sent out by the S.S. St. Lawrence, in May, had, contrary to the practice in 1867, no
provision made by the Committee, either for supplying the people with food upon landing, or for defraying the cost of their inland transport, and assistance in both instances had to be rendered them by the Department here, the various inland Agents having also to contribute to their support. The transport of the second batch, by the S.S. Thames, in June, was (agreeably with
instructions from the Committee,) paid by the Consignees of the vessel, but the Department had again to supply them with food, and the third lot were also assisted by us with railway transport, so that the total relief afforded by us to these people during the season was the means of increasing our expenditure to a considerable extent.
- I must also make allusion to the number of female servants brought out by Miss Maria S. Rye, a
lady well known throughout the United Kingdom as the pioneer of female emigration to
Australia. She arrived at Quebec by the S.S. Hibernian on the 9th June, having in charge 21 male
adults, 119 females and 5 children. Six of the women were engaged at Quebec, and many more could have obtained places here, but Miss Rye objected to leaving a larger number at a shipping port, and preferred taking them West. Forty were disposed of at Montreal, and the rest went on with her to Toronto. They were assisted with free transport by the Department, and all found employment on arriving at their respective destinations.
- Encouraged by the success attending her first efforts, Miss Rye, upon her return to England, organized a fresh expedition on a similar footing, and arrived here for the second time by the S.S. Nestorian, on the 4th November last, with a further detachment of 90 females. I had the pleasure
of presenting her with the sum of $500, which had been granted by the Dominion Government to promote her object, and which had been remitted to me for the purpose. She proceeded with her party to Montreal and Toronto, where no difficulty was experienced in providing situations for all.
- Previous to Miss Rye's arrival in Canada, it was expected that the women she proposed to emigrate and accompany would be of the better class of domestic servants, but owing to their coming chiefly from large cities in England, those brought out were not generally suited for farm servants, although from the difficulty, always existing, of obtaining female servants of any description, they easily found employment.
- The general results of the past season's emigration may, I think, be summed up in a few words, and be accepted upon the whole as of satisfactory character.
- According to the reports of the Inland Agents, the estimated number of emigrants settled in the country, and the amount of capital introduced by them, have together formed a valuable addition to our wealth and population. The necessaries of life were cheap and abundant and the demand for skilled farm labor and for the female domestic was much in excess of the supply, and employment was readily found at remunerative wages for all who were in search of it.
Signed.. L. Stafford, Agent
Appendix to the Report
- From a letter dated Quebec, 2 June, 1868 from L. Stafford to G.J. Pemberton, Acting
Prussian Consul, Quebec: "I consider it my duty to inform you that a party of Prussian
emigrants, numbering 83 souls (equal to 58 adults), landed from the ships Anna and Shakespeare, from Hamburgh,[sic] and Shakespeare, from Bremen, and destined to the
Western States, are at present in the Grand Trunk Sheds at Point Levi, in a totally
destitute condition, not having either the means to pay their Railway fares to the West, or
to purchase the common necessaries of life." The reply was: "I have the honor to
acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 2nd instant, informing me that a party of Prussian emigrants landed from the ships Anna and Shakespeare, and destined to the Western States, are now here in a totally destitute condition. You further inform me that you are unable to render these unfortunate people any assistance. I regret to state, that as Consul I have at my disposal no funds for their relief and am powerless to help them. It is much to be deplored that no intimation was given to the Prussian authorities of the intended withdrawal of the system hitherto existing. Steps might then have been taken on the other side to prevent such a catastrophe as now seems likely to occur. I shall,
however, communicate immediately to the Consul General in London the substance of
your letter, and I trust that you will represent to the heads of your Department the urgent
necessity for continuing the former system of relief until such time as the authorities in
Berlin shall have received and acted upon my communication."
- From a letter dated Quebec, 10 June, 1868 from L. Stafford to The Baron Falkenberg,
Norwegian consulate, Quebec: "It is my duty to inform you that a party of Norwegian
emigrants, numbering 85 souls, equal to 64 adults, at present on board the ship Caroline,
from Christiania, (now lying in the stream,) and destined to the Western States, have been
represented to me as having neither the means to pay their fares to the West, nor to
provide for their daily support. I have already, I believe, informed you that the system
hitherto existing of affording temporary relief and land passage to destitute emigrants is
abolished by the curtailment of the grant for immigration purposes, and I shall, therefore,
I regret to say, be unable to render these poor people any assistance. The Captain of the
Caroline expresses his intention to land them in city this afternoon, ans as our sheds are
already fully occupied and we have no room for their accommodation, I trust that your
official position may enable you to adopt some means of affording them protection and
relief. I shall also feel obliged by your communicating the substance of this letter to your
Government, and I hope you will explain to them the hardships to which all emigrants
must necessarily be exposed, who land here without sufficient funds to carry them
through to their destinations." The reply was: "I am duly in receipt of your esteemed favor
of the 10th inst., and note contents. With reference to the poor emigrants lately arrived per
Norwegian ship Caroline, I beg to inform you that on the arrival here of Norwegian
emigrants, who have no complaint to make respecting breach of contract, which, in the
present instance is not the case, my function ceases, and I can officially take no notice of
them. I must, of course, advise the Master of the Caroline to land his passengers
whenever he thinks proper, within the limits of the law, and if through over-crowding or
otherwise, malignant fevers should break out, the responsibility does certainly not fall on
my shoulders. I consider the present case, as well as the subsequent ones, which, no
doubt, unfortunately will occur as great hardships, particularly as your communication of
the 4th May last, conveying the Canadian Government's intention not to assist indigent
emigrants for the future has barely had time to reach Norway, and be made publicly
See also Letters regarding the immigration of 1868.
UWInfo | Young Immigrants | Genealogy | Local History | 19th Century Immigration
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