|Emigration to Canada.
|Irish Emigration Database
|The Nation, Dublin, Saturday, 22 January, 1848.
|The Linenhall Library, Belfast.
|Document added by LT, 05:01:96.
|EMIGRATION TO CANADA.
A correspondent in Canada West sends us a letter on the
prospects of Irish emigrants in America, founded on his own
practical and dearly-bought experience. Agricultural readers
may ponder upon it. America, on either side of the St.
Lawrence, is no El Dorado; but, at best, a land where life
must be paid for in hard labour; and at that price a man is
entitled to live at home:-
"I am now in Canada twelve months, and my honest
advice to my countrymen is, stay at home - live and die in
Ireland - work in Ireland as you must work here (if you
want to prosper) - and you will be happier and better off
than in America.
"Any man with the heart or feelings of a man must have
felt deeply to have seen our unfortunate countrymen this
year in Toronto. No pen can describe their wretched
miserable appearance, the victims of disease and want;
numbers of them lying out all night on the lake shore,
crowded on the steamers coming up from Kingston, like so
many hogs. I believe, on more occasions than one there
were upwards of one thousand persons on a single steamer.
As to labourers emigrating here, I say they can't do well;
if a large number come out, the only man likely to succeed
in Canada is a farmer, with say from 50L. to 100L. in his
pocket on landing here, and a grown-up family, willing to
work. Even such a man must give up all idea of having any
sort of a comfortable life, for at least six years. Then,
indeed, he would be comfortable and independent; but
would any lover of his country advise such men, the bone
and sinew of the land to leave it."
The horrors, but hinted at by our correspondent, are
fearfully illustrated in a pamphlet lately published at
Montreal, written by the Hon. [Honourable?] Adam Ferrie,
and addressed to Earl Grey. We cannot refrain from quoting
one or two passages of this tract, to which we will take
occasion to return:-
"For instance (says the writer), there have been this
year about one thousand persons shipped off by the agents
of Lord Palmerston, who not only promised them clothes,
but they were assured that his lordship had agents at
Quebec, to whom instructions had been sent to pay them all
from 2L. to 5L. each family, according to their numbers.
On their arrival, however, no agents of his lordship were
to be found; and they were then thrown upon the bounty of
the government here, and the charitable donations of
private individuals. If his lordship was aware of this most
horrible and heartless conduct on the part of his Irish
agents, and he one of the ministers of the Crown, I dare
not say what he would deserve. But that charity, my lord,
which " thinketh no evil," would teach me to hope that a
nobleman of England, high in the confidence of Her Most
Gracious Majesty, and sharing in the honorable
administrations of her government, could not so far forget
that duty which he owed to God, his sovereign, and his
country; but that it was the wanton and authorised act of
worthless and unprincipled hirelings, in whose bosoms
every principle of humanity and every germ of mercy have
become totally extinct.
And further on Mr. Ferrie says:-
"I cannot here refrain from enumerating to your lordship
a few among the many instances where, in the shipment of
these unfortunate beings, an utter disregard was had, not
only to every principle of humanity, but even to those
common decencies of life which nature in the lowest depths
of degradation and misfortune so scrupulously seeks to
preserve. Those emigrants from Kilkenny, Queen's County,
Wicklow, and the estates of Virginia and Avon, of which
Lords De Vesci and Fitzwilliam, and Major Mahon, and
Captain Wandesford are the several proprietors, were in a
state of fearful destitution, as well as those from the
estate of Lord Palmerston.
"In confirmation of this fact, I beg leave to state to
your lordship that a public meeting of the citizens of St.
John's, New Brunswick, has been recently held, at which
it was resolved " to ship back to Ireland the decrepid,
aged, and naked children and women brought to this port."
These unfortunate beings constitute a part of the two
shipments from Lord Palmerston's estate at Sligo.
"A copy of this resolution has been transmitted to his
Excellency the Governor General, to be forwarded to her
Majesty's government. Comment, my lord, is here unnecessary;
and language would be wholly inadequate to express the
measure of that just indignation which such a development
is calculated to inspire.
"The last cargo of human beings which was received from
Lord Palmerston's estate was by the "Lord Ashburton," the
captain of which, but a few days since, died of the
prevailing fever, and consisted in all of one hundred and
seventy-four men, women, and youths, of which eighty-seven
were almost in a state of nudity."
And this Lord Palmerston is one of the ministry who
have declared as their maxim that "the property of Ireland
must support the poverty of Ireland." One of the ministry
whose Lord Lieutenant sends round lecturers to teach the
remnant of a rural population how the land may be made
productive after the people are swept off! When the Whigs
came in we were promised "a paternal Government;" here is
a paternal Governor after the Whig model.