Immigrants to Canada

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Famine Information From the Boston Pilot

The following information was provided by Michael J. O'Neill. It was mostly extracted from the newspaper the Boston Pilot.

Additional Names of Emigrants Who Died Without Relatives at Grosse Isle, Quebec

Taken from the 16th of May to the 21st of October 1847. This was published in Boston, MA, Saturday, Dec. 11, 1847.
Name Ship
Andrew Layton Argo
James M'Kay M of Abercorn
Martin Sullivan Sir H. Pottinger,
Patrick Sheehan John & Robert
John Irwin John & Robert
Catherine Frazer Broom,
Alice Mahan Ann Kenny
Mary A. M'Kay Yorkshire
Patrick Carns Broom
James O'Brien Johnston
M. O'Donoghue Pandora
Edward English Pandora
Joseph Pogue Araininia
Eliza. Thompson Araininia
Furlong Progress
Bridget Lennon Progress
Thomas Birne Progress
Patrick Walsh R. Adelaide
Mary Walsh Avon
Lawrence Gilmour XL
Timothy Brennan John Munn
John Birne John Munn
Mary Clancy Westmoreland
John Blake Zealnts
Dennis M'Inerney Ellen Sampson
Nicholas Smith Yorkshire
Michael Sullivan Sir H. Pottinger
Edward Quinn Lotus
Mary M'Carvey Jantor
William Coveney Triton
William Bryon Jantor
Mary Cranney Lady Cambell
Bartholomey Hare Marmus
Peter Walsh Free Trader
Mary Hare Larch
Mary Ranigan Ganges
Bridget Cain Maritius
Mary Coffey Larch
Anthony Burke Erin's Queen
Margaret Foley Ellen Sampson
Michael Flynn Yorkshire
Bridget O'Malley Erin's Queen
James Tucker Larch
Bridget Wallace Virginia
George Gorden Saguenay
Bridget Corcoran Washington
Richard Dwyer Washington
John Troy Odessa
William Irwin John & Robert
Daniel Cline Naoom
Michael Conway Orderly
Edward Earle Sew. Hamilton
Connaagter Sew. Hamilton
Dennis Burns Covenanter
Denis Conway Sisters
Sarah M'Aveney Pursuit
Eliza Jackson Junior
Cochrane Junior
John Morintry Sir H. Pottinger
Thomas Murphy Odessa
Wm. Broderick Naoirana
Denis Burns John Muna
Ann Mylan Free Trader
Richard Mechan Covananter
Ther. Dolly & Margt Covananter
John Cennedy Bridgetown
James Keenan Erin's Queen
John & Mary Fox Virginia
Ellen Courtin Saguenay
Sarah Hodgins Odessa
Catherine Casey Covenanter
Johanna Loughlin Covenanter
John Cassin Sobroan
Peter M'Donough Larch
Anthony Manly Canges
Johanna Mead Ann Kenny
Florius Sullivan Bridgetown
Catherine Rine Superior
Bridget Lawless Saguenay
James Priest Wellington
Araon M'Fadden Sir R. Peel
Isabella Tombe Sir R. Peel
Edward Gilroy Argyle
Cath. M'Garachen Nurse
Hugh Hetherington Dykes
Martin Highlands Emigrant
Michael Murphy Avon
James Dooley Washington
Comelium Jeffry Free Trader
Bryan Ready Greenock
Mary Clark Champion
James English Coromandel
Honora Callacher Sir H. Pottinger
R. and Peter Hay Broom
Thos. Roblinstall Yorkshire
Samuel Long Rankin
Alex. Sutherland Agnes
Martin Soucha Aberdeen
Robert Stoba Lady Milton
E Connell & sisters Urania
J. & M. Denzon Columbia
Rich. Griffin & Bros. Clarendon
Patk. & Edw. Syrell Syria
Dennis Courtney Agnes
Dr. John Benson Syria
Catherine Coulin Achilles
Thad. Regney Clarendon
James Watson Unicorn
John Brien Avon
Mr. Tracey Ann Kenny
Thomas Robinshall Yorkshire
Robert Tweedy Broom
Cath. & Ellen Sool Lady Cambell
Daniel M"Donald Ann Rankin
Catherine Brady Superior
Mary, John & Alice M'Cabe Superior
Sarah Hayes Jessie
Not Known, one orphan no ship
Cath. And E. Wax no ship
Sarah Taylor Westmoreland

Emigration to Canada-Letter from the Archbishop of Quebec

"The following important letter relative to the prospects and condition of poor Irish emigrants arriving in Canada has been addressed by his Grace the Catholic Archbishop of Quebec, to the Catholic Archbishops and Bishops of Ireland. We deeply regret to find that so many of our unfortunate countrymen have fallen victim to disease and want. They fled from Ireland to escape those foul destroyers: but alas! they were inadequately provided with the means to make a healthy or comfortable voyage, or to locate themselves in their adopted country, so as to be able to reap the reward of their toil and industry:--"


Quebec, the 9th June 1847.

"MY LORD AND VENERABLE BROTHER--The voice of religion and humanity imposes on me the sacred and imperative duty of exposing to your Lordship the dismal fate that awaits thousands of the unfortunate children of Ireland who come to seek in Canada an asylum from the countless evils afflicting them in their native land.

Already a considerable number of vessels overloaded with emigrants from Ireland have arrived in the waters ot the St. Lawrence. During the passage many of them weakened beforehand by misery and starvation, have contracted fatal diseases, and for the greater part have thus become victims of an untimely death.

This was but the natural result of their precarious situation. Crowded in the holds of the vessels, unable to strictly adhere to the rules of cleanliness, breathing constantly a putrid atmosphere, and relying frequently for nourishment upon insufficient and very bad provisions, it was morally impossible to escape safe and sound from so many causes of destruction.

Anchoring at Grosse-Isle, about 30 miles below Quebec, where they are compelled to perform a quarantine, the transatlantic vessels were most commonly infected with sick and dying emigrants. Last week at that station more than 2,000 patients, of whom scarcely more than half could find shelter on the island. The others were left in the holds of their respective vessels, in some cases abandoned by their own friends, spreading contagion among the other healthy passengers who were confined in the vessels, and exhibiting the heartrending spectacle of a morality three times greater than what prevailed ashore.

Our provincial government has undoubtedly manifested the greatest zeal and most parental anxiety in assisting the unhappy emigrants, but yet could not in due time employ the requisite precautions to meet their manifold wants. The consequence is, that vast numbers sighed, and do still sigh, in vain after the charitable care so necessary to the preservation of human life.

Already more than a thousand human beings have been consigned to their eternal rest in the Catholic cemetery, precursors of thousands of others who will rejoin them if the stream of emigration from Ireland continues to flow with the same abundance.

One Catholic clergyman alone, in ordinary circumstances, ministered to the spiritual wants of the quarantine station; but this year the services of even seven at a time have been indispensably required to afford to the dying emigrants the last rites and consolations of their cherished religion. Two of these gentlemen are actually lying on the bed of sickness, from the extreme fatigues they have undergone and the fever they have contracted in visiting the infected vessels and the hospitals on the island to accomplish the duties of their sacred ministry, and gladden the last moments of the Irish emigrant.

The details we receive of the scenes of horror and desolation of which the chaplains are daily and ocular witnesses, almost stagger belief and baffle description; most despairingly and immeasurably do they affect us, as the available means are totally inadequate to apply an effectual remedy to such awful calamities.

Many ot the more fortunate emigrants who escape from Grosse-Isle in good health, pay tribute to the prevailing diseases at Quebec or Montreal, and overcrowd the hospitals of these two cities, where temporary buildings are erected for the reception of a greater number, without still affording sufficient accommodation.

Amid the present confusion, we have had neither leisure nor opportunity to ascertain the number of orphans and families that are thrown for support on public charity.

I deem it necessary to mention that those who have escaped from the fatal influence of disease, are far from realizing on their arrival here, the ardent hopes they so fondly cherished of meeting with unspeakable comfort and prosperity on the banks of the St. Lawrence. To attain so desireable an end, they should possess means which the greater number have not, and which cannot be rendered available and efficacious, unless emigration be conducted on a more diminished scale.

I submit these facts to your consideration, that your lordship may use every endeavor to dissuade your diocesans from emigrating in such numbers to Canada, where they will but too often meet with either a premature death, or a fate as deplorable as the heartrending condition under which they groan in their unhappy country. Your lordship will thus open their eyes to their true interests, and prevent the honest, religious, and confiding Irish peasantry from being the victims of speculation and falling into irretrievable errors and irreparable calamities.

I have the honor to remain, my lord and venerable brother, with sentiments of profound respect, your most humble and obedient servant."

Archbishop of Quebec

The Emigrants at Quebec

"The condition of many of the Irish immigrants who have reached the St. Lawrence in British ships is truly deplorable. The quarantine station is at Grosse Island and about fifty miles below Quebec. Accounts from that place, state that during the week, ending the 13th inst., out of 1440 sick in the hospital and on shipboard, no less than 249 had died. On the 19th inst., there were 29 vessels at quarantine, and sickness and death were on the increase. The Quebec correspondent of the Montreal Herald wrote, on Monday last 21st ult., that three or four more ships had arrived at Quarantine with deaths and sickness.

This season, (May and June) 29,248 settlers from Europe had reached Quebec and Montreal, up to last Monday, and many more were at quarantine. Four Liverpool ships, on the 20th, brought 1535 settlers, and the Agnew, from Belfast, 413. Dr. Douglas, Health Officer, Grosse Isle, writes to Quebec that all the seamen of the Elizabeth and Pursuit, from Liverpool, are sick in Hospital save one; that there have been 70 deaths in the Lotus from Liverpool; that the Rose McKinlay, had nearly 80 deaths; that the Lady Flore from Cork had buried 35, and 50 were still sick, and the Jesse from Limerick had buried 30, and 45 remained sick; also, that his mate and ten of the seamen were ill."

Emigration Deaths

"We are indebted to the Montreal Herald of the 6th and 7th inst., for the following particulars on immigration disease and death. Eight ships arrived at Grosse Isle, the quarantine ground, fifty miles below Quebec, on Saturday, July 3; they brought 2259 passengers from Ireland and England; 132 emigrants had died while crossing the Atlantic; the captain, mate, and 42 passengers of the Lively, from Cork, were down with fever, as was the Captain of the Venillia, from Limerick. Five ships, with over 1,000 passengers, arrived the day before. The deaths, at quarantine averaged 25 per day; clergymen, physicians and sea-captains, were sickening and dying of the epidemic.

There arrived at Quebec, during the four days, up to the 5th inst., over six thousand passengers in 25 ships, namely--956 from Bremen, 953 from Liverpool, 851 from New Ross, 771 from Newry, 446 from Dublin, 393 from Glasgow, 474 from Belfast, 274 from Waterford, 213 from Southampton, 110 from Donegal, and 35 from Youghal."

Excerpt from a Letter to the Editor of the Boston Pilot from Historian Thomas Mooney

....."Look at the dreadful scenes of the quarantine and fever hospitals near Quebec. It takes frequently from twelve to twenty days for a sailing vessel to get up the river St. Lawrence from the Atlantic, though the distance is but five hundred miles. If the Government (British) cared anything about the people crammed into these emigrant ships, they would have a couple of their idle war steamers to tug the vessels right up, which could be done in forty hours, instead of taking, as it now does, two or three weeks. Half the misery and sickness would thus be saved to the wretched emigrants. I met an Irshman in Oswego, who informed me that he and his friends got across from Liverpool to Quebec in thirty days. The ship was allowed by the Government agent in Liverpool, TO PACK INTO THE HOLDS SEVEN HUNDRED PASSENGERS; yet they arrived all healthy save a few children; and for this trivial cause the whole passengers were obliged to remain in quarantine nineteen days, in the course of which time, half of them became sick, and many died, though they had been permitted to land, they would all have gone to their destination in spirits and health."............

Thomas Mooney
On Lake Ontario
October 22, 1847

Another Update

"We quote the following particulars of the progress of fever and death in Quebec, and Montreal, from the Quebec Freeman's Journal of the 16th July:

We are sorry to announce the death of the Rev. W. Chaderton, Protestant Minister. He contracted the disease in his zealous and indefatigable exertions in attending the sick and dying of the communion of the Church of England, at the Marine Hospital.

With the like sorrow for the worthy deceased, we regret to inform our readers that the Rev. Mr. Roy, Curate of Charlesbourg, is also dead from the spreading epidemic, contracted during his attendance on the sick at Grosse Isle. We are personally acquainted with Mr. Roy, and can vouch that the Catholic Church in Canada, did not possess a more amiable, charitable, zealous member. His deportment was such as to command and merit the respect of all men. The vacuum caused by his death will be long felt in the parish.

We are also informed that on Tuesday last, the Rev. Mr. Caroff, priest of the Seminary of St. Sulpiee, died of fever at the Hotel Dieu, in Montreal.

The Rev. Mr. McInerney, a Catholic Clergyman, who resided with the Curate at La Chine died lately in consequence of his great fatigues and the disease he contracted in his labors of charity in administering comfort to the bodily and spiritual wants of the sick and dying.

One of the Nuns, Saurs Grises, is also dead from the same causes.

The Rev. Mr. Willoughby, Protestant Clergyman of Montreal, has fallen a sacrifice to the malady. The Rev. Messrs. Lonsdell and Parkin, ministers of the Church of England are lying sick with the fever which they both contracted in discharging their clerical duties at the Quarantine Station.

Another paper says:--

In 13 vessels, containing 4,950 passengers, there were 434 deaths, or nearly one-tenth part of the whole; of the remainder, many are sick.

It appears by a statement in the Quebec Mercury of Tuesday, that the total number of deaths at Grosse Isle up to the 30th June, was 821; on board ships and buried on the island, to July 8th 715; died at sea, 2,559; making a total of 4,095.

The number of deaths at the Marine Hospital, from the 3rd to the tenth instant, was 54; discharged 228; remaining 827.

The Montreal Witness of Monday says it is asserted by the best medical authorities, that there is scarcely a street in the city in which there are not two or three cases of fever, and that the only effectual means of stopping the disease would be the removal of all the sick at once." -------

From The Boston Pilot, December 4, 1847------Emigration. Comparative Mortality in Canada and the States.

"The Kingston (Canada) News gives some interesting particulars of the comparative number of emigrants who have died in Canada and the States. That paper alludes in an especial degree to those arriving at New York and Quebec.

The number of passengers who arrived by sea at the port of New York between the 5th May and the 10th September was 101, 545. Of those nearly 7,000 came under the immediate charge of the Commissioners, either through disease or indigence.

The bill of mortality embraced 700, of the whole emigration, say 1 in 145; or of those which came under the direct charge of the commissioners, 10 per cent.

The arrivals at Grosse Isle and Quebec have been around 80,000 in number. Of this mass of emigrants it is within the mark to say that 12,000 or a little less than one-sixth, have fallen victims to disease, at Grosse Isle, Quebec and Montreal, independent of the number of deaths on shipboard and along the route westward of the last named city. These added will present a terrible total of fully 20,000!--one out of every four who left their native land during the season to find a new home in this Province!

Let us present the comparison in the enormity of its disproportion.

The casualties attending the emigration via New York, were 1 to 45; the same via Quebec, 1 to 4.

We believe that when a report of the emigration at this port (Boston) is made, it will be found that even a less number have died than at New York. This may be accounted for by the timely precaution taken by our City Authorities to procure a hospital for the sick immediately on their arrival. And we say it with pride and pleasure, that in no part of the country are the poor creatures attended with more care that at the hospital on Deer Island (Boston). Had the Canadian Authorities taken the same precautionary means that were taken in New York and Boston, hundreds of lives might have been saved. The News well remarks: "A fearful responsibility appears to rest somewhere. It is almost impossible to imagine that the dreadful mortality of the present season was utterly unavoidable and beyond human control."

"We copy the following particulars of the progress of death in Montreal, from the Minereve.

Saeur Marie Rosalie Barbeau, (Saeur Marie) on Wednesday, at mid-night aged 47 years and 7 months. This is the fourth victim of fever among the Sisters of the Grey Nunnery. Sister Bruyere and Caron are now at the last extremity, and sixteen others are confined to their beds. Another Policeman died on Monday, and there are eleven sick; more than 1500 emigrants are between life and death at the Sheds; yet say the Ministers, like the parrot in the fable, "this is nothing!"

At the Seminary, Mr. Richard and Mr. McMahon are dangerously ill; the Superior is at the Mountain; M. Bienvenue is convalescent, at the house of the Cure du Sault, Mr. Picard is better, and M. de Charbonnel is at Longuenil seriously indisposed.

It is calculated that there are now from 1500 to 2,000 dead bodies interred in the environs of the Sheds, at a depth of one to two feet!

Died on Friday morning last, at 7 o'clock in the Hospital of the Hotel Dieu, (Montreal) from fever contracted at the Immigrant Sheds, the Rev. JOHN RICHARDS, Priest, and Econome of the Seminary of St. Sulpice of Montreal, aged 60 years and 5 months. The deceased was born in Alexandria Diocese of Baltimore, United States, on the 21st of February, 1787 --came to Montreal in 1809--was ordained Priest on the 25th July 1813--and became attached to the Seminary on the 17th February 1847. He accompanied the English army in Plattsburg, in the expedition of 1813, as Chaplain, together with the late Rev. Mr. Robituille. He witnessed the first arrival of Irish immigrants in Montreal, and was entrusted with the charge of spiritually directing and counselling them, and it is only a few weeks since he was again seen as one of the most zealous in ministering to the thousands lately cast on our shores and in assisting the authorities to ameliorate their wretched state.

Besides the qualities of a Priest, full of zeal and Charity, the Rev. Mr. Richards was remarkable for the solidity of his judgement, and the exceeding amiability of his manners."------

"The St. John's Herald states that of the emigrants who left Great Britain, for Quebec, 4,095 never reached their destination, having died at sea or at quarantine. About 500 more perished at sea by shipwreck, making about 4,700 deaths up to the 30th June."---

The Boston Pilot: Boston, Massachusetts, Saturday, December 11, 1847

Name Arrived
Cath Mulholland Bark Syria
Dennis Courtney Agnes
John Monachin Syria
John Doyle Syria
Patrick O'Reilly Syria
Thomas Newman Wordsworth
Nancy Rillie John Bolton
John Linn Bee
Andrew White Bee
Jer'h McCarthy Bee
Jer'h Huggie Bee
William Dobbin Bee
Patrick Carroll Wandsworth
Francis Mournie Bee
Mary Dean Syria
James Small John Bolton
Charles McKenzie Gilmour
John Garrele Dykes
Bridget Tuhey Princess Royal
Mary Reynolds Princess Royal
Joseph Branegar Cape Breton
Michael Finn Pursuit
Anthony Hopkins Sisters
Alexander Browne Wilhelmine
Patrick Crowley Bee
Ann M. Brien Georgia
Martin McFarland Rose
Ellen McKey Orlando
William Byrne Progress
George Shane Ann
John Barry Free Britain
Michael O'Brien Tamarac
James Gilman Agent
Stephen Hegrial Ann
Hugh Crath Huron
James Dwyer Wakefield
George Benley Golish
Mary Nowlan Golish
John Regan Jessie
Michael Greenock Jessie
John Book Unicorn
Bernard Clark Lady Milton
Margaret Kelly Sarah
Andrew Shannon L.F. Hustings
Mrs. Fetters L.F. Hustings
David Jenkins Greenock
John Fagan Triton
Philip Cooney Triton
George Kay John Jorgan
More to follow...

The full list of names was signed by Murdock M'Key - Hospital Steward.

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