Young Immigrants to Canada

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Petworth Emigration, 1832, Letter from William Philips to Mrs. Newell

From William Philips, late of Singleton, near Midhurst, Sussex, Shoemaker.
Ancaster, August 5th. 1832.

Mrs. Newell,

At your request, I have now taken the opportunity of sending this Letter, hoping to find you and all friends, in good health, particularly my father, and mother, and brother. I am in very good health at present, thanks be to God for it, and have been ever since I left England. Here is a great deal of sickness in the country, the cholera morbus is raging very much in some places. I promised I would send the best account of the country that I could: so I intend to do. It is a fine country; but it is not half like England; every thing being very mean, when compared to that: yet a person may a very good living, by working hard: for there is a great many hardships in coming out here; so I would advise them that can get a comfortable living at home, to bide there: but they as cannot, why they cannot change for the worst. Here is plenty of work; but it is very different for what it is at home. They here all work by the month: so much for a month and their board. They have not much money; so that you are obliged to take part in money, and part in goods; here being a great deal of barter amongst them. If you work a month, and can get all your wages in cash, it is thought much of: you can sometimes, and that is best for single men: but they that have families, why it is not much difference, as they must buy for them, if they did not so, as it is almost always in provisions. (here follows a long list of prices, and explanations about the currency, which have been omitted, as they are more correctly given in Cattermole, Doyle, &c.) I am working at my trade for a master, and likes it very well at present. I have been here 3 weeks. Ancaster is 50 miles above York: it is a pleasant village. The land in this country is, as in England, some very good and some bad; and so are the crops. Here is fine orchards: but the fruit is not half so good as with you: it being more of a wild nature. As for their gardens there is no variety in them, as they plant very little but french beans and potatoes, the winters being too cold, and the summers too hot, for vegetables; so they say. I have a great deal more to tell you all bur I have not room for it in a sheet of paper, so I hope you will be satisfied with this little. I want to tell you a little about how we got here. I sailed in the ship named The Eveline: there was 450 passengers on board, but they were all strangers to me. We left Portsmouth the 11th April, and arrived at Quebec May 28th. I was very well all the passage, and was not the least sea sick; yet a great many were, nearly all the passage, as it was very stormy and rough. * * I am very much obliged to ------------ and Mrs. --------- for their charity to me, as I had 2. to take at York, and the superintendant said they gave it me.

Tell my father to write to me as soon as possible, as I long to hear from them all. My love and respects to all Singleton folks: I have not mentioned any of their names, for it is to them all. So no more at present from your well wisher,

Wm. Philips.

Direct to W. Philips,
Ancaster, Upper Canada,
North America.

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