Young Immigrants to Canada

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Petworth Emigration, 1832, Letter from Henry Smart

From Henry Smart, who went from Kirdford; directed, Mr. James Napper, Kirdford; but containing on the same sheet, letters to other persons.

Dear Father and Mother, [i.e. his late wife's father and mother.]
I hope this will find you all well, as it leaves me at present. I am sorry I had to send you such bad news, the last time I wrote to you, or the last time you heard from me, by the way of Penfold. We had a very long passage; and a very rough one. My wife was sea sick three weeks: but she was no worse, after that, than she was before she left home: but she was unwell, at times, the same as she was at home. Frederick was but very little sea sick, but was taken with a very bad fever, and, for three days, I did not expect he would live, from one hour to another: but he recovered, a little. We had a bad squall, one morning, which threw us, and our births out, altogether; but we received no damage, any more than a fright. When we crossed the banks of Newfoundland, Jane was taken very ill, and we expected she would be confined; but she passed on, for about a week, much the same as she was, when she was confined before. We sailed into Quebec harbour, the 10th of June, about 8 o'clock, and she was confined, about 12 o'clock, while the ship was at anchor, thank God for it! The ship being still: she was confined with a girl, but it did not live, but four and twenty hours, and we left it in the harbour where it was born. Jane was better than we could expect; we was in the ship, four days, after she was confined, before we landed in Montreal. There she was taken out; and put into a large house, and she got her strength, very fast: for I got her every thing she could wish for: we staid there four days, when she wanted to go out for a walk: I took her out, and she was very much pleased with the country; and siad, she was not sorry that she lad left England. Then we started up the river, in a Durham boat; the weather was very fine; we was in the boat, 7 days, when we landed at Prescot. The weather was fine till the last day. We stopped at Prescot, three days; and she was very pert [In Sussex this word means lively, cheerful.]: and getting on very well; but the third, I was very sick; but she was as pert, as ever. I saw her till about noon: she was very cheerful that day; and laughed, and said, that I should die first: but, about four o'clock, she was taken very ill; and said, if there was not an alteration soon, she should soon be gone; and I went and got a doctor to her, but he gave a very poor account of her. As soon as he see her, the doctor said, he would do all he could for her, and, I believe he did. All the rest went out in the steam boat, the next morning at 6 o'clock; and left me, all alone. I applied to 3 doctors, but two of them said, it was no use; they would not pay any attention at all to her; but the other did: and done all he could for her. He told me, it was no use; she had the cholera; and she could not live, but a few hours. She was insensible, at that time; but, at 10 o'clock, she came to her senses; and talked to me for an hour: she told me she was going; she told me not to fret for her; she should be better off, than I was: but all she wanted of me, was, to promise her, to take as good care of her child, as I had done of her; which I promised her I would. So she died that day, at 12 o'clock, the 25th June. She died; and never mentioned, father; mother; sister; nor brother; any more than her sister, Martha, who was dead and gone, and who said, on her death bed, that she would soon be after her; and she was going. She wanted to be buried in the way her sister was, but I could not bury her so well as I could wish. About an hour before she died, Frederick was taken very ill, with the bowel complaint, and died 8 days after. I was obliged to go on to Hamilton, on account of the cholera, and I was still very ill, then; but still, I kept about. I buried my wife at Prescot; and my child, at Hamilton. I am as much as two hundred miles, from where I buried my wife; but my child, I can look upon every week. I kept about all this time, but after, I was confined to my bed, for a week, which the doctors said, was brought on me, by trouble. Remeber me to Charles and Ann Street. Tell Ann, I am very sorry her words are come so true, as she told me before I was married. Jane told me not to reflect upon her dying out of England; she did not think she died, any the sooner for that. Tell Ann Street; that I am very sorry, I have heard the worst account of her brother, of any, that is come out. I shall see him next week; and I shall give it him. He is as much as a hundred miles from me, but I am a going up next week, and I shall see him. So no more from me at present,

Henry Smart.

To James, the Son of Mr. Napper, to whom the above was addressed.

James Napper,

This comes, with my kind love to you, and all the family. I hope this will find you all in good health, as it leaves me at present. Remember me to all my brothers and sisters, if you please, and to Charles Brockburn, and Mary Court, Gunshot; and to all enquiring friends at home; and tell them of my downfall; as they have heard before. I don't repent of leaving England at all, because my wife did not; no more would not you, if you was once to get here. I should be happy to see you here, and Tom Baker, and sister Rhoda, and her family. I don't persuade you to come, but I should be glad to see them, for I know they would do much better here than there. Ask my sister, Rhoda, if she will accept this little present; and tell her she must keep it, till I see her again. If she don't come here, I intend to come to England, after a few years, if life lasts; but never more, not to stay. You need not dread the water, I don't at all. I should take a deal of pleasure on the water, had it not been for my ill luck. Look to that book, that you got of me, about the country, [Doyle's Hints to Emigrants] for I fully agree with it. Tell Matthew Puttick, that he can keep three such families, as he has got, in this country, better than he can keep one, there. Tell David Smart, I saw Tom Mitchell, about a week ago. They are all well, and doing well; and Tom says; he never wants to come to England any more. If any of you comes out, don't buy a parcel of clothes, to bring here. If you do, you will lose money by it. You can get them fully as cheap here. I would not advise you to bring out any thing, excepting blankets, and flannel. Why you think things are so dear, here, is; because, on account of the money; thirteen pence, of your money, is two shillings, here. Write me an answer, as soon as you can, if you please, and let me know all the news you can, and how the cholera is there; for it has been very bad here; and let me know who talks of coming out, as well as you can. If you, or any of my relations, come out, I will do all I can for them, at first coming. They shall not want for a bed, nor for something to eat, when they once get to me. You need not be afraid of coming out here, on account of not getting a wife. You can get one, of any country, and any colour you like. You can come here, and go back again in a few years, a better man, than ever your father was. If you are not here by the 5 July, I shall be gone from here, but my directions will be, at Mr. Gurnett's, which you will see, as you go up the town. At present Matthew Crooks Esq. Ancaster, Upper Canada.

On the same sheet, from Henry Smart, to James and Charles Rapley.

James and Charles Rapley, Gownfield, there, or elsewhere. I have heard from your brother, William: but your father is no more. He has been dead about five weeks; but you need not fret about your younger brothers, and sisters, for they will do better than you will, if you bides there. William is very steady; and takes a father's part, well, by what I have heard. I have not seen them, since they have been in this country, yet; but I shall see them all, next week.

From Henry Smart to the Rev. I.K. Greetham, Vicar of Kirdford.

Mr. Greetham,

I am much obliged to you, for what you have done for me. I wanted to beg one more favor, if you please; that is, I shall be much obliged to you to take my register out, and send it to me, if possibly you can. You will find it in the church at Kirdford; but you must look back, as much as nine and twenty years. I forgot to say before, as Wm. Haslett is dead; but he has been dead as much as three weeks. No more from your humble servant, at present,

Henry Smart.

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1. To afford ample space for the passengers, this ship is restricted to carry 76 fewer than allowed by Act of Parliament.