Young Immigrants to Canada

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Petworth Emigration, 1832, Letter from Martin Martin to Mr. Sparks

From Martin Martin, late of Felpham, Sussex, Carpenter, who Emigrated with the Petworth Party to Upper Canada, and sailed from Portsmouth in the Ship Lord Melville, April 11th. 1832, taking with him his Wife and six Children, to Mr. Sparks, Felpham, Sussex.


You have, no doubt, expected to hear from me long before this time, but the reason I did not send sooner was, that I had not seen enough of the country. To give you a short description of our voyage; we had a very rough one, continually winds blowing against us: so much, that before we arrived to the banks of Newfoundland, we was above 700 miles too far to the south: and on the 2nd. May, about half past 4 o'clock in the morning, all at a sudden crush, the whole of the births on the larboard side of the ship fell down; but no one happened to be hurt, but caused a confusion in the ship: this brought the captain to his senses; for he never laid the ship to, till this happened: but from this time, till the next morning, she was laid to, under a close reefed main top sail. But I hope what I have said about this will not dishearten any one from crossing the Atlantic, for I assure you that I had so much confidence in a ship, that I would give the preference to travelling by water. We was just 8 weeks from Portsmouth harbour, till we arrived at Montreal, which town is a large, flourishing, and very fast improving place; immense quantities of merchandise exported and imported, to and from this place. We staid there a few days; and then we started in the boat for York in Upper Canada, which we reached in about a week. This passage is a very difficult one, on account of the different [With respect to the Rapids, See Advertisement from Canadian Courant in the Appendix.] rapids in the river St. Lawrence: and whoever should come this way to America, I should advise them to travel by land from Montreal to Prescot, and wait there for their luggage; and from Prescot to York, there is steam boats, which will take luggage and passengers in about a day and a half. But this land travelling, will not do for a poor person. The expence from Montreal to York, for one passenger, which is 450 miles, 19s. 7d. I arrived at York, the capital of Upper Canada, and was much surprised to see such a large town: the trade, and the many great shops of all sorts, is quite equal to Chichester; but the town I think is larger, some of the streets 2 miles in length; there I stayed about a week, but did not like to settle there. I again set off in the steam boat for Hamilton, which is quite at the west end of Lake Ontario; and this is also a flourishing place, but a small town: here you will see the farmers come riding in and out of this place, with as good breed of horses as in England.

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