The name “Grosse Isle” means “Big Island,” but according to Dr. Montizambert, for many years one of the medical superintendents of the quarantine station there, (1909) this is a corruption of “Isle de Grace,” or Grace Island, under which title it was designated on old French charts. And this appears to be likely too, for Grosse Isle is not the biggest island of the cluster of 21 islands of the archipelago. The island is about 3 miles long and scarcely 1 mile wide. Indented with bays and situated in the open channel of the St. Lawrence, it lies 33 miles below Quebec, and forms one of the many similar islands, which stud the miles below Quebec.
In 1832 the Canadian Government, concerned about the Asiatic Cholera carried by emigrants entering Canada, created at Grosse Isle, an immigrant and quarantine station. The first buildings erected on the island were all located on the upper point of the island. (with the exception of a farm residence.) Those in the lower and center parts of the island, chiefly date from 1847. In 1878, three of the largest of these were destroyed by an accidental fire and many of the quarantine records were lost.
The first two chapels on the island, Roman Catholic and Protestant, were also erected in 1832. In fact, from the opening of Grosse Isle, spiritual consolation for the sick and dying appears to have been well provided for. It is the largest burial ground for emigrants of the ‘Great Famine’ outside Ireland. Today, it is also known as the ‘Irish Memorial National Historic Site’.
From their own beloved isle
These Irish exiles sleep,
Nor dream they of historic past,
Nor o’er its memories weep;
Down where the blue St. Lawrence tide
Sweeps onward, wave on wave,
They lie – old Ireland’s exiled dead,
In cross-crowned lonely grave.
Sleep on, oh, hearts of Erin,
From earthly travail free!
Our freighted sculls still greet you
Beyond life’s troubled sea;
In every Irish heart and home,
Where prayer and love abound,
Is built an altar to your faith
A cross above each mound.
No more the patriots word will cheer
Your humble toil and care
No more your Irish heart will tell
The beads of the evening prayer;
The mirth that scoffed at direst want,
Lies buried in your grave,
Down where the blue St. Lawrence tide
Sweeps onward, wave on wave.
Oh, toilers in the harvest field,
Who gather golden grain!
Oh, pilgrims by the wayside,
Who succor grief and pain!
And ye, who knew that liberty
Oft wields a shining blade,
Pour forth your souls in requiem prayer
Where Irish hearts are laid!
Far from their own beloved land
These Irish exiled sleep,
Where dream not faith – crowned shamrock
Nor iyies o’er them creep;
But fragrant breath of maple
Sweeps on with freedom’s tide,
And consecrates the lonely isle,
Where Irish exiles died.
poem transcribed from the Kilmore Free Press 22 Nov. 1888
Ulster Ports of departures for Emigrants 1846
(This list is from Government reports and may not be complete)
Arriving Vessels, with which Contagious Disease was found on-board at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station 1846
Barque ‘Ayrshire,’ port of Newry, Small pox, sailed 17 Apr.
Barque ‘Sir H Pottinger’ port of Belfast Measles saled, 15 Apr.
Barque ‘Highland Mary’, port Liverpool, Measles, sailed, 8 Apr.
Brig Barque ‘Margaret Pollock port of Liverpool, dysentery, Fever and measles, sailed 26th Apr.
Ship ‘Rockshire’, port Liverpool, Measles, 25th Apr.
Barque ‘Caithnesshire’, port Belfast, Fever and dysentery, sailed 23 Apr.
Ship ‘Elizabeth’ port Liverpool, Measles, sailed 26th May
Ship ‘Virginia’ port Liverpool Small pox sailed sailed 2nd June
Ship ‘Belinda’ port Belfast Small pox and measles sailed 3rd June
Ship ‘Mertoun’ port Belfast, Fever, sailed 28th May
Ship ‘John Boulton’ Liverpool Fever sailed 2nd June
Barque ‘James Moran’ port Liverpool Measles sailed 13th June
Ship ‘Rockshire’ port Liverpool, Dysentery sailed 10th Sept.
Number of Persons who received Assistance to enable them to Emigrate during the Season 1846 from the report of A.C. BUCHANAN
Vessel / port. arrival date/ who provided funds/ # of persons/’Naparvinia’, Dublin, 29th May, landlord or private funds, 120
‘Industry’, Dublin, 30th May, landlord or private funds, 143
‘Lady Gordon’, Dublin, 13th Jun., landlord or private funds, 5
‘Defence’, Liverpool, 16th Jun., landlord or private funds, 40
‘Mary Lyall’, Dublin, 16th Jun., Parish funds, 7
‘Londonderry ‘, Londonderry, 18 Jun., landlord or private funds, 14
‘Miltiades’, Belfast, 24 Jun., landlord or private funds, 21
‘Pursuit’. Liverpool, 24 Jun., landlord or private funds, 8
‘Odessa’ Dublin, 27 Jun., landlord or private funds, 24
‘Belinda’, Belfast, 20th Jul., landlord or private funds, 93
‘Brindo’, Donegal, 24 Jul., landlord or private funds, 15
‘Marquis Abercorn’, Londonderry, 2nd Oct. landlord or private funds, 3
In the ship Londonderry there were 14 persons sent out by the Londonderry Union, who received the sum of 10s. each amounting to 8£ 15s. sterling, which had been remitted to this office for their benefit after arrival.
Among the passengers per ‘Marchioness of Abercorn’ from Londonderry, 493 in number, there were some very respectable farmers. Nearly the whole of these people came out to join their friends, a large number of whom are settled in the Home, and Simcoe districts. Many had received assistance from this country to enable them to emigrate and I was consequently obliged to give assistance to 35 persons to enable them to proceed.
In the ‘Belinda’ from Belfast, there were a number of poor families sent out by the Coleraine, Armagh, and Magherafelt Unions, who received the sum of 10s. each, from the master on landing here. Many of them, more particularly those from the Coleraine Union, were very helpless, consisting of sickly people and widows with families of helpless children. One or two of these families have been inmates of the hospital ever since their arrival here and are now dependent on the charitable institutions in this city for their support.
The passengers per ‘Belinda’ from Belfast, 425 in number are respectable looking people. There had been a good deal of sickness, among them 12 children had died during the passage of small pox and about 40 of the passengers were left at the Grosse Isle Hospital, where the ship was detained for six days. The passengers all speak in the kindest manner of the care and attention which Captain KELLY showed them during the passage and his unremitting attention to the sick. About 30 of the passengers are going to the States, the rest to the Newcastle, Home, and Simcoe Districts, 93 persons by this vessel were sent out by the following unions and received from Captain KELLY the sum of 37£ 15s. sterling, being at the rate of 10s. to each adult and 5s. to children viz: Coleraine Union 61 adults and 40 children; Armagh Union 15 adults and 5 children; Magherafelt Union 30 adults and 9 children. Those sent out by the Coleraine Union were mostly old and sickly people and helpless children, many of whom I fear will never be able to earn their support in this country. The others appear stout, healthy, men and women, all apparently willing to work.
The emigrants from Sligo and Donegal, 545 in number, are all poor. They landed in good health. One third of them are going to the United States. A number of the young men intend remaining here for employment and the remainder proceed to different parts of the province to their friends.
The passengers per ‘Aberdeen’ from Liverpool are all Irish, from the counties Cavan, Cork, Waterford and Tipperary. They have gone chiefly to the Ottawa, Johnston, and midland districts, and were, with the exception of two families 12 in number, able to pay their way.
The emigrants from the port of Liverpool, 750 in number, are all Irish, of which fully one half intend proceeding to the United States. On board the ‘Defence’ from that port, there were 40 persons sent out by their landlords. They are from the county Monaghan and were provided with a free passage. They were without means on landing here and were assisted with a free passage to their friends in Upper Canada.
The passengers per ‘Sea King’ and ‘Virginia’ from Liverpool, 508 are nearly all Irish. About 80 of the passengers per ‘Sea King’ are going to the United States, the remainder intend settling in Upper Canada. Those from the ‘Virginia’ all appear inclined to remain in the province. They are from the north of Ireland and generally poor. This vessel was detained seven days in quarantine and left between 60 and 70 of her passengers in the island, with small pox, 65 adults and 45 children were forwarded up the country from this vessel and 16 from the ‘Sea King’.
Week ending 27th Jun.1846; 4,568 emigrants have landed at this port during the past week, generally in good health.
Week ending 31st Jul. 1846; 2164 emigrants landed at this port during the past week, three fourths of whom are Irish.
Owing to the low rates of passage on alternate days on the route between this city and Montreal, I have not been called upon for much assistance. The number assisted is 286 persons equal to 200 adults, chiefly from the ‘Mertoun’, ‘John Bolton’, ‘Minna’ and ‘Bosphorus’. There was a good deal of sickness on board the ‘Mertoun’, 7 deaths occurred during the the passage and 27 cases were admitted to the quarantine hospital.
Employment is plenty at this season and persons desirous of it can procure it without difficulty. Masons and stone cutters are in much request on the Government works wages 7s 6d. per day
Week ending 22nd August 1845
The emigrants arrived during the period included in this return number 1845, of whom 133 are Germans; 225 Scotch; 40 English; and 1440 Irish, of the latter number 394 sailed from Liverpool. They, with the exception of those on board 3 of the vessels, landed generally in good health. Several vessels have, however, had very long passages, the average being over 50 days. The passengers are principally of the agricultural class and with, but limited means. Their destination is chiefly to Upper Canada, but a considerable number are going to the United States.
Week ending 30th of October 1846
The emigration for this season may now be considered as closed. Those who have arrived during the period embraced in this return, have been in good health. They consist of farmers, labourers, and a few mechanics, and have all emigrated to join their friends, or with a particular destination in view.
The great majority of them are Irish and all very poor. A large number of those by the ‘Rockshire’ from Liverpool, had left their homes at this late season, in consequence of the failure of the potato crop, fearing that if they should delay until next year they would not then have the means of paying their passage. As it was, they landed here quite destitute and required assistance from this department to enable them to proceed to their friends.
In Paper No 8 of the Appendix will be found a statement of the distribution of the emigrants of the year, compiled from the monthly reports received from the chief Agent in Canada West and the local agents of the department. Of the total immigration by the route of the St Lawrence, Mr HAWKE estimates that the large proportion of 24,655 have arrived in Canada West. The number who have arrived, via the route of the United States, is stated at 2,864, which makes the total immigration into the western section of the province during the year upwards of 27,500 souls. The difficulty of ascertaining with correctness the number of persons who have proceeded from Canada to the United States, along our extensive frontier, must be obvious. Mr HAWKE, after strict inquiry from the sources within his command, estimates the number who have left Canada West at about 2,000 persons, less than the amount of the immigration we have received by that route.
The largest portion of this number have proceeded direct from Montreal, by the route of St John’s and Lake Champlain, having emigrated with that intention and have been induced to choose the route of the St Lawrence as being much cheaper than the passage direct from Great Britain, to any of the United States ports. I may here remark that during the greater part of this last season owing to the competition among the steam boat proprietors on the St Lawrence, to Montreal and on Lake Champlain, an emigrant might be conveyed from this port to Albany, the centre of the States of New York, for about six shillings sterling, or less than half the sum it would require to convey him to Kingston.
The Quarantine hospital Grosse Isle during the past season-
upon a comparison of this Return, with that of former years, it will be observed that there has been a great augmentation in the number of sick amounting to double that of most previous years. This increase in the number of sick was expected from the misery and distress that prevailed throughout Ireland last winter, owing to a deficiency of wholesome food. The prevailing type of disease independent of the ordinary epidemics was low fever, with bowel complaints, such as are usually caused by want. The number of passenger vessels inspected by me at the quarantine station during the season was 206, having on board 32,753 passengers. The deaths on shipboard were this year proportionably more numerous than previous years, there having died on board of vessels on the passage out 204 souls and in the Quarantine Hospital 68. The names, ages, and other particulars, connected with these last, are given in paper B. The total number of deaths on the voyage and in the quarantine hospital was 272, of these 100 were adults; 110 children under fourteen; and 62 infants. Fever broke out and prevailed among the passengers of 14 vessels. measles in 5 and small pox in 8.
The following casualties on the voyage resulting in death took place; A boy was killed from a fall into the hold on board the ship ‘Marchioness Abercorn’; 1 was drowned by falling overboard from the brig ‘Governor’; one was killed on board the ‘James Fagan’, by being crushed by one of the boats breaking loose; a female died in childbirth on board the schooner ‘Coquette’; and another from the same cause on board the ‘Jane Black’; a boy was drowned by falling overboard from the ‘Nancy’; a man from the same accident on board the ‘Davenport’; and another from on board the ‘John Francis’.
A considerable number of pauper emigrants have been sent out this season from the Irish Poor law unions. Much sickness has prevailed among these, especially in those that arrived by the ship ‘Belinda’ from Belfast. It is to be regretted that it should not be found necessary to supply these people, many of whom had the appearance of having suffered long from misery, with any other provision for the voyage than a pound of meal per day. They contrast very unfavourably with those sent out under similar circumstances from England, these are generally sent in charge of a medical man, and are supplied with animal food, bread, flour, rice, and medical stores and comforts, in consequence of which, I rarely find sick among them, unless epidemic disease has been brought on board. I always understood the pound of biscuit oatmeal, or Indian corn meal, which the vessel is bound by law, to furnish daily to each adult, to be merely a guarantee against the starvation brought on formerly by the improvident use which the emigrant made of his own stores and to be, by no means, intended to constitute his only support, as in the case of the Irish paupers in the ‘Belinda’ and other vessels, to whom a pound of damaged Indian meal, per day, was their only food. If necessary, I might here cite as evidence of the advantage of a liberal supply of wholesome food in warding oft disease even in a crowded emigrant vessel, the case of the German settlers who arrived this year, these people were supplied abundantly with animal food, bread, flour, lime-juice and beer, and though their voyages were longer than vessels coming from Great Britain, in the case of one vessel extending to eleven weeks, yet out of eight vessels having on board 902 passengers, I had only to admit 7 to hospital.
Letter from Ardnaglass (Co. Donegal) 6th September 1846
Dear Father and Mother
I received your kind and affectionate letter dated 24th May which gave us great pleasure to hear of your being in good health as it leaves us at present thank God for his mercies to us. Dear father and mother pen cannot dictate the poverty of this country at present, the potato crop is quite done away all over Ireland and we are told prevailing all over Europe. There is nothing expected here only an immediate famine. The labouring class getting only two stone of Indian meal for each day’s labour and only three days given out of each week to prolong a little money sent out by Government, to keep the people from going out to the fields to prevent slaughtering the cattle, which they are threatening very hard they will do before they starve. I think you will have all this account by the public print before this letter comes to hand. Now my dear parents, pity our hard case and do not leave us on the number of the starving poor and if it be your wish to keep us, until we earn at any labour you wish to put us to, we will feel happy in doing so. When we had not the good fortune of going there the different times ye sent us money, but alas, we had not that good fortune. Now my dear father and mother, if you knew what hunger we and our fellow countrymen are suffering, if you were ever so much distressed, you would take us out of this poverty Isle.
We can only say, the scourge of God fell down on Ireland, in taking away the potatoes, they being the only support of the people. Not like countries that has a supply of wheat and other grain. So dear father and mother, if you don’t endeavour to take us out of it, it will be the first news you will hear by some friend of me and my little family to be lost by hunger and there are thousands dread they will share the same fate. Do not think there is one word of untruth in this, you will see it in every letter and of course in the public prints. Those that have oats they have some chance, for they say they will die before they part any of it to pay rent. So the landlord is in a bad way too. Sicily BOYERS and family are well. Michael BARRETT is very unwell this time past, but hopes to recover. John BARRETT is confined to his bed by rheumatism. The last market oatmeal went from 1£ to 1£ 1s per cwt. As for potatoes there was none at market. Butter 5£ per cwt; pork 2£ 8s. per cwt and everything in provision way expected to get higher. The Lord is merciful, he fed the 5000 men with five loaves and two small fishes. Hugh HART’S mother is dead, he is in good health. So I conclude with my blessing to you both and remain your affectionate son and daughter
Signed Michael and Mary RUSH
Accounts and Papers of the House of Commons, Vol. 39 published 1847
6 Apr. 1847 (extracts) statements taken from the report of A. C. BUCHANAN Esq., chief emigration agent at Quebec,in a series of papers relative to emigration to the British Colonies of North America (Parliamentary, No. 120, presented last February.)
The emigrant on engaging his passage is informed that he will receive a pound of oatmeal, flour, or biscuit, each day during his passage, but on getting to sea finds that one-half of this allowance is replaced by Indian corn meal. This description of food although highly valuable, under different circumstances, is not proper for issue throughout along voyage, to people who have been wholly unaccustomed to its use and who do not know, how indeed, to prepare it. Dr. DOUGLASS has found that a great extent of sickness prevailed in the vessels in which the meal was used.
‘there was a large number of the Irish emigrants in a state of destitution as to clothes and bedding far exceeding anything I ever before witnessed’
Passengers ship “Helen Thompson” Londonderry for Quebec, Canada 18 Feb. 1847-19 Apr. 1847 Captain GRAY (544 tons)
Samuel POLLOCK and family, Sarah Jane, John 8 years, Elleanor 5, Eliza 4, Hamilton 2, James 6 months and Rebecca HUNTER 9, Loughneas
Jane JOHNSTON and family, Margaret, James and Mary Jane 7 years
Henry and Nancy CARRAGHER, Maghera, Co. Londonderry
Biddy KEARNEY, Maghera, Co. Londonderry
Lewis WILLIAMS and family, Catherine, Samuel, William, Mary Anne 6 years and Catherine Eliza 4, Moville, Co. Donegal
Patrick and Mary McGOLRICK, Omagh, Co. Tyrone
James SWEENY and family, Catherine, Edward, James 12 years, Margaret 8, Rosannah 1, Owen 6 months, Omagh, Co. Tyrone
Sarah PROTHERICK, Omagh, Co. Tyrone
William LAWSON and family, Isabella, William, James and Matilda, Castlederg, Co. Tyrone
Ellen McCARRON and family, John, William, Jane 13 years, Sarah 11, James 9, Robert 7, Alexander 3, Eliza 5
Margaret McGARR and family, Mary 5 years and James 3, Castlederg, Co. Tyrone
James McCARRON and family, Hanna, John, Miller 12 years and James 8, Castlederg, Co. Tyrone
Thomas ARBUCKLE and family, Catherine, John, Isabella, James 13 years, Thomas 11, Joseph 8, Mary 7, Isaac 5, Eliza 4, William 3, Catherine 14 and Jane 3 months, Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone
Eliza STEWART, Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone
Henry McGORMAN and family, Isabella, Samuel, Sarah 9 years, Elizabeth 7, Catherine 4 and William an infant, Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone
Martha McCONNELL and family, John, George and Ann, Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone
James GLASS, and family, Isabella, Mary 12 years, Eliza 9, Isabella 5, John James 2, with Mary MITCHELL 13 years and Martha GLASS 13, Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone
Patrick MELLON and family, Jane, Robert, Sarah, Margaret, Jane 13 years, Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone
James CONNOLLY and family, Bid, Mary Margaret, Sarah 13 years, Kitty Ann 11, James 9, John 7, Henry 5, Ellen 3, Patrick 6 months, Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone
Hugh BLACKBURN and family, Jane, Robert, Patrick 11 years, Hugh 9, William 6, Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone
James and Elizabeth BEATTY and children George 9 years, Eliza 6, Alexander 3, William 6 months
Patrick McCANNA and family, Catherine, John, Margaret, James 14 years, Mary 12, Catherine 7, Phillip 5, Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone
Daniel McCANNA and family, Margaret, Eliza, Mary, Henry, Catherine 14 years, Patrick 13, Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone
John McGOADRICK and family, Mary, Daniel, Margaret Ann, John, Patrick 13 years, Catherine 11, Hugh 9, James 7, Thomas 5
James McGURK and family, Catherine, Arthur, Catherine, Patrick, Mickey 13 years, James 11, John 10, Hugh 8, Mary 7, Neely 4, infant 6 months, Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone
John CLARKE Coleraine, Co. Londonderry
Rebecca CRETON, Kesh, Co. Fermanagh
William GRAHAM, Derry
Joseph GRAY, Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone
John and Mary LAIRD, Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone
James BEATTY, and family, Rhoda, Ann, William, Mary, George 13 years, Jane 11, James 9, Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone
David and Margaret GREEN and family, John 4 years, Mary Jane 2, James 9 months, Maguiresbridge, Co. Fermanagh
Bridget McCUSKER, Maguiresbridge, Co. Fermanagh
William SMYTH and children, Mary 12 years, Margaret 9, William 7, Isaac 4, John 3 months, Maguiresbridge, Co. Fermanagh
James BROWN and family, Jane, John, James 13 years, William 11, Francis 9, Jane 6, Maguiresbridge, Co. Fermanagh
George HUTCHISON, Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone
John and Jane HAMILTON and family, James 11 years, John 9, Eliza 7, Thomas 5, Margaret 2½, William 6 months, Castlederg, Co. Tyrone
John McCORMICK and family, Eleanor, Isabella, Jane 12 years, Margaret 8, Henry 2½, Eleanor 6 months, Castlederg, Co. Tyrone
Henery CONNELLY and family, Mary, William, Jane 13 years, Margaret 11, Mary 9, Biddy 7, Henry 5 and Rosey 3, Castlederg, Co. Tyrone
Hugh McMANUS and family, Catherine, Eleanor, Edward 13 years, John 11, Patrick 9, Castlederg, Co. Tyrone
Edward CONNELLY and family, Nelly, Biddy 9 years, Patrick 7, John 5, Mary 3, Castlederg, Co. Tyrone
Mary McMENAMIN, Castlederg, Co. Tyrone
Anthony THOMPSON, Kesh, Co. Fermanagh
Feiry (?) MAGUIRE and family, Mary, John, Patrick Mick, Catherine 13 years, Felix 8, Bridget 6 and Mary 3, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh
John AUSTIN, Muff, Co. Donegal
James PATTON, Ballybofey, Co. Donegal
Thomas GREENLEESE and family, Ann, Margaret, Ann, Moses, John 13 years, Thomas 11, Sarah 9, Brookeborough, Co. Fermanagh
William and Margaret STORY and children, Thomas 12 years, John 7, Robert 2, William 6 months, Brookeborough, Co. Fermanagh
William RIDDLE and family, Susan, Eliza, James, John, Hugh 12 years, Henry 10, Janet 4, Robert 3 months, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry
Isabella SIMON and family, Thomas, James, Martha, Mary Ann, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry
Nancy SIMON and children, Eliza 4, Janet 9 months, Alexander 12, Jane 10, Isabella 8, Mary 6, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry
Matilda BEETH, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry
Robert WALKER and family, James and Alexander, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry
Daniel McALISTER, Newtownlimavady, Co. Londonderry
Mary WALLS, Castlederg, Co. Tyrone
James PATTERSON and family, Joseph, Charles, Eliza, Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone
Thomas McLAUGHLIN, Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone
Jane WILSON and children, Joseph 12 years, Ann 10, Thomas 8, Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone
Daniel and Alexander GILROY, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh
William CRAIG, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh
P. GILROY, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh
James and Bridget MURPHY, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh
Anne CRAIG, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh
Michael MULLEN and family, Isabella, Mary, Rosanna 12 years, Bridget 10, Michael 8, Hugh 6, Omagh, Co. Tyrone
John KEENAN Omagh, Co. Tyrone
James McBRIDE, Omagh, Co. Tyrone
Thomas and Anne MACABE and children, Margaret, Thomas, Anne 10 years, Isabella 7, Sarah 5, Maguiresbridge, Co. Fermanagh
Samuel and Jane ELLIOT and William 6 months, Maguiresbridge, Co. Fermanagh
William and Jane GARRELL and children, Robert 13 years, George 11, Maguiresbridge, Co. Fermanagh
Allen JEMAISON (?) and children, Mary Anne 13 years, Sarah 11, Maguiresbridge, Co. Fermanagh
John and Anne FRAZIER Maguiresbridge, Co. Fermanagh
Mary Ann and Elizabeth KELLY, Maguiresbridge, Co. Fermanagh
William and Mary RAMSAY and children John 13 years, Elizabeth 11, Mary 6, Isabella 3 and Henry 9 months, Maguiresbridge, Co. Fermanagh
John CHITTICK and child, Christopher 13 years, Maguiresbridge, Co. Fermanagh
James HUMPHREYS and family, Margaret and Andrew, Kesh Co. Fermanagh
Thomas McDOUGLAS, Kesh, Co. Fermanagh
Peter HALEY and child, James 13 years, Kesh, Co. Fermanagh
James MULDOON and family, Ally, James, John 12 years, Patrick 10, Ann 7, William 4, Thomas 2, Kesh, Co. Fermanagh
Catherine LUNNY, Kesh, Co. Fermanagh
Janet TERNAN, Kesh, Co. Fermanagh
Liddy DARRAGH and family, Margaret, Christina (?), Elizabeth 12 years, Ann 10, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh
William BROWN, Newtownlimavady, Co. Londonderry
Margaret MACKIE, Brookeborough, Co. Fermanagh
John BRESLIN, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh
Margaret CREARY Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh
Mathew and Robert McCOMB
Betty JOHNSTON and child, John 12 years, Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone
Alexander and Isabella McLAUGHLIN, Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone
James FLEMING, Convoy, Co. Donegal
Dennis AITKAN, Stranorlar, Co. Donegal
Mark WHITE, Newtownlimavady, Co. Londonderry
Mary CLARKE, Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone
Rosy KEARNEY, Maghera, Co. Londonderry
John McKEE, Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone
Total souls 371 equal to statute adults 277
Net sum received £765 5s. 3d.
Neel FRIEL and family, Catherine, Nancy, Ann 3 years and Hugh 9 months, Ramelton (?), Co. Donegal
Dennis McBRIDE, Rathmullan, Co. Donegal
Patrick and Mary BEGLEY and children, John 4 years, Edward 2, Keatty 3 months, of Tamney
John COLLINS and family, Jane, Mary, James and John, Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone
Sarah SMYTH and child, Anne 2 years, Maguiresbridge, Co. Fermanagh
Thomas McGARREN and family, Ellen, Patrick, Martha and Mick, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh
Thomas and Judy MAGUIRE and children, Anne 10 years, Margaret 9, Mary 7 and infant 6 months, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh
Mary Jane PATTON and children, Francis 8 years, Anne Jane 10, Ballybofey, Co. Donegal
William GREENLEESE, Brookeborough, Co. Fermanagh
Nancy WALKER, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry
Robert PATTERSON, Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone
William RAMSAY and family, Rebecca, Margaret, Robert 13 years, Eliza 9, Mary Ann 7, Matilda 5, Maguiresbridge, Co. Fermanagh
Child of John CHITTICK, Maguiresbridge, Co. Fermanagh aged 9 months
Sarah Jane HOUSTON, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry
Passenger list Ship’ Sesostris’ for Quebec 10 Apr. – 11 May 1847 Captain FRAZER, (606 tons)
George and Margaret WORLIN
Samuel and Mary ARBUCKLE and children William 13 years, Eliza Jane 11, Mary 9, Ann 7, Hannah and Samuel 4, John 2 and Watty 9 months, Donagheady, Co. Tyrone
Booking cancelled for James ARBUCKLE
James and Sarah CAMPBELL and children Hugh 5 years, John 3 and William 9 months, Cappagh, Co. Tyrone
James COX and family Mary, Eliza, William J. 7 years, Robert 5 and Isabella 3 with Joseph BLAKELY, Ballyconnelly
Robert and Martha ADAMS and children Robert 10 years, William 8, Margaret Jane 6, Hamilton 4, Matilda 2, David 6 months with James BROWN, Londonderry
Ann TONAR, Glenswilly, Co. Donegal
William and Martha KELLY and children Eliza 13 years, Maria 12, Ann Jane 10, Margaret 8, Charles 6, Theophilus 5 and Matilda 6 months, Tullyardin
Andrew ARMSTRONG and family Elizabeth, James, Richard, Andrew 13 years and Thomas, with Mary LYTLE, Enniskillen
Charles LAFFERTY, Strawbridge, Co.
Oliver BROWN, Donemana, Co. Tyrone
James MONAGHAN and children James, William 13 years, Charles 12, Owen 10, William 7, Biddy, Pettigo, Co. Donegal
John and Mary MONAGHAN and children Biddy 4 years and Ellen 9 months, Pettigo, Co. Donegal
Peter and Margaret McCAFFRY, Enniskillen
William and Jane FLEMMING and children Joseph 4 years, Rebecca and Isabella 2½, Jane 9 months with Eliza NOBLE 11 years and Mary Ann NOBLE 9, Dromore, Co. Tyrone
James RIDDLE and family Jane, William, George 13 years, Archibald 11, John 9, Mary 7, Hugh 5 and Robert 9 months, Maguiresbridge, Co. Fermanagh
Mathew and Jane WILSON and children Robert, Jane 13 years, William 12, Mathew 11, Jane 9, Rebecca 7, Johnston 5 and Mary 1½ with Margaret ROWAN, Castlederg
Isabella WILSON and family John, Ellen, James 13 years, Margaret 12, William 10 and Charles 7, Omagh
Andrew CUNNINGHAM and family Elizabeth, Robert, Sally 13 years, Charles 11, Ellen 9 and Betty 7, Omagh
Denis and Mary McANULTY and children Mary, Daniel, Marjorie 12 years and Denis 10, Newtownstewart
Pat McLAUGHLIN and family Dan and Ellen, Newtownstewart
Joseph and Mary Ann CUNNINGHAM and family Rebecca and Alexander 9 months, Newtownstewart
Booking cancelled for Eliza CUNNINGHAM and James CUNNINGHAM 6 months
James KING, Newtownstewart
David MILLER Newtownstewart
James and Catherine QUINN and children Dan 12 years, Catherine 9, James 6 and Mary 2, Newtownstewart
John and Jane COLLINS and children Mary 10 years, James 8 and John 6, Newtownstewart
William and Isabella HOOD, Newtownstewart
Joseph PARK, Newtownstewart
Ruth HAMILTON, Newtownstewart and Jane 10 years
Andrew and Mary McCAUSLAND and children John 13 years and Eliza Jane 6, Mullaghmore
Elizabeth and Catherine STARRETT, Mullaghmore
William and Margaret MOORE and children Catherine Jane 3 years and Eliza Ann 3 months, Pettigo
Hugh and Jane KNOX, Castlederg
John EMMERSON and family Isabella, Robert, Edward, Thomas and James 13 years, Enniskillen
Thomas and Mary BROOKE, Enniskillen
James and Margaret BOTHWELL and child Elizabeth 2 years, Enniskillen
Andrew WELDON, Fintona, Co. Tyrone
James McCOOL, Spenig (?)
Jane LYONS, Spenig (?)
George and Rebecca STEWART and children Rebecca 13 years, Sarah 10, Fanny and Mary 6, George 3 and James 9 months, Spenig (?)
William and Jane BALFOUR and children James 13½, Isabella 11, Mary Jane 10, William 8, Robert 7, Margaret 6, George 4, Edmond 9 months, Enniskillen
Ellen PATTERSON and family Jane, John, Catherine, Thomas, William 11 years, Ellen 9, Mary 9 months, Coleraine
Catherine GORMLY and family Henry, Charles, Jane, Ann, John, Mary, Ellen 1½ years and Charles 3 months, Dromore, Co. Tyrone
John ACTOR, Ardstraw, Co. Tyrone
Roseanna GAMBLE, Strabane
John and Ann FERRIS and children James 9 years, William 7, Jane 4 and Margaret 6 months, Maguiresbridge, Co. Fermanagh
David and Susan WALSH and child Ann 5 years, Maguiresbridge, Co. Fermanagh
Margaret CARR, Maguiresbridge, Co. Fermanagh
Margaret CLUFF, Maguiresbridge, Co. Fermanagh
Henry and Jane MUSGROVE and children Mary 6 years, Catherine 4, Gerrard 2 and Dorothy 6 months, Maguiresbridge, Co. Fermanagh
Margaret BROWN and children Susan 8 years, Margaret 6 and Thomas 2, Maguiresbridge, Co. Fermanagh
Robert BRIEN, Maguiresbridge, Co. Fermanagh
William and Martha MOFFIT and children Andrew 10 years and James 7, Maguiresbridge, Co. Fermanagh
Hugh and Mary CAMPBELL, Newtownstewart
John PARK, Newtownstewart
Luke CONOLY, Newtownstewart
Sarah ADAMS, Newtownstewart
Margaret and Robert PARK, Newtownstewart
Christy and Elizabeth BYEN (?) and children James, Elizabeth 13 years, Mary Ann 12, Christy 6 and Thomas 3, with James ARTHUR 12 and William ARTHUR 9 months, Enniskillen
John and Margaret JOHNSTON, Enniskillen
source for passenger lists PRONI (Public Records Office Northern Ireland) Ref: D2892/1/1
Not less than 15,000 of the children of Erin, flying from famine and landlord tyranny and stricken by fever, lie buried in Grosse Isle.
The following news articles are transcribed by Teena from the Banner of
Ulster, Dublin Evening Mail, Dublin Mercantile Advertiser, Freeman’s
Journal, Northern Whig, and the Tyrone Constitution. (unless otherwise noted)
17 June 1847
Great fears are entertained that sickness will be brought into the provinces by the number of emigrants who are expected to arrive during the summer. To a great degree the fears of the people of this country respecting the arrival of fever with the emigrants have been verified. All the ships which have arrived at the quarantine station at Grosse Isle, below Quebec, have lost a great number by death on the passage out, and the hospital on the island, as well as the ships are crowded with sick. None of them have yet been allowed to come up to the city, but proper medical and other attendance has been sent down to them. (From the Montreal Transcript of May 27)
The number of emigrants who had arrived at Quebec to the 27th May were 5546; To same period last year,5332; 25 sail of emigrant ships are at Grosse Isle. (Caledonian Mercury)
19 Jun 1847
All the ships which arrived at the quarantine station at Grosse Isle, below Quebec, lost a great number by death on the passage out, and the hospital on the island, as well as the ships, are crowded with sick. Accommodation has been provided there for 10,000 persons. Every building on the island that can be spared, including some new sheds, just erected. were crowded with the sick. The dead are tumbled into a hole without coffins or anything else but what they may have on when they die. We have heard of 220 deaths at sea; Seventy on board the vessel, ‘the Cherokee’. Eighteen persons died in one night at the hospital at Grosse Isle. Boards of health have been established, and the most stringent measures of precaution adopted. (Limerick Chronicle)
21 Jun. 1847
Emigration to Quebec
On the 20th ult. Mr. BUCHANAN, agent for emigrants, had advices that 40 vessels had sailed for Quebec, from Waterford, Sligo, Dublin, Londonderry, Belfast, New Ross, Limerick, Cork, Newry, and Liverpool, having on board 12,300 passengers. A large number of emigrants by other ships had reached Quebec, and one vessel, the ‘Exmouth’, from Londonderry, had been shipwrecked.
On the 23rd ult. 1,335 passengers reached Quebec by sea and 12 ships, chiefly from Ireland, with over 4,000 passengers, were at the quarantine ground below, where accommodations have been provided for 10,000 persons. The deaths on board the ships that have arrived are very numerous, Fifty died on board the ‘Agnes’, from Cork, 45 in the ‘Wandsworth’, 10 in the ‘Jane Black’, 20 in the ‘George’. On the 23rd ult. 436 fever patients were in the Grosse Isle hospital, and the probability is that the number will augment daily.
26 June 1847
Reports from the quarantine station at Grosse Isle are unfavourable. There are 1,300 sick, and about 13,000 in 40 vessels at the station. According to all accounts death and starvation are nearly as bad at Grosse Isle as in Ireland. The number of orphans is now about 100.
29 June 1847 Canada Emigration
By the Hibernia, we have received files of Canadian papers to the latest dates. They give appalling accounts of the suffering of the Irish emigrants from fever and dysentery.
The Quebec Gazette of June 9, contains the following – The Marine Hospital is rapidly filling with sick passengers, landed from vessels coming in to port from Grosse Isle. Five deaths occurred on board the steamer ‘Canada’, on her way up to Montreal. A thousand passengers were crammed into this comparatively small boat. Two other members of the French Catholic clergy went down to Grosse lsle on Monday, the Rev. Mr. Hunt, cure of St. Foy, and the Rev. Mr. Brady, vicaire of Kakouna. The Rev. Mr. M’Gauran, has returned from the island, sick with typhus and is now at the General Hospital. A gentleman who visited the island on Saturday last, has given the following statement –
“There were then 21,000 passengers at Grosse lsle, 960 died on the passage out; 700 died at the station; there were 1,500 sick on board the vessels; 1,100 sick on shore; and 90 died on Saturday.”
Bills are stuck up calling for 50 female nurses and 20 orderlies, for the service of the hospitals at Grosse-lsle. Wages, £3 per month, with rations.
Wreck of an Emigrant Vessel Dreadful Loss of Life
The Quebec Gazette of June 11 says; in a letter dated at Cape Rosier May 19th, which appeared in our paper of Monday last, announcing the melancholy fate of the brig “Carricks”, R. THOMPSON master, from Sligo, which was lost near that place with all her passengers except 48, and one boy belonging to her crew, the number of passengers was stated to be 167; so that 119 of them would appear to have perished, and with the boy, in all 120 persons. In looking over a file of Irish papers received by last mail, we have met with an extract from a Sligo paper, according to which the number drowned, including the boy, would be 129, instead of 120, unless the ill-fated ship had already lost 9 of her passengers, before the awful catastrophe, by which, so many of the poor people sent out free by Lord Palmerston, were consigned to a watery grave.
The ‘Miracle’ which left Liverpool towards the end of March, with 400 emirants, was, on the night of the 9th of May, wrecked off the Magdalen Islands and 70 of the emigrants were drowned. The survivors were conveyed to Picton. Twenty of the unfortunate emigrants had previously perished from fever.
Wreck of Four Ships
The ‘Miracle’, Captain ELLIOTT, sailed from the port of Liverpool in the latter part of March last, for Quebec; besides her crew, she had on board no fewer than 400 emigrants. In a gale of wind, on the night of the 9th May, this unfortunate vessel was driven ashore on reef of rocks off the Magdalen Islands, where, in a few hours, she became a complete wreck. The moment she struck, her masts fell overboard and the captain of the ship, seeing that the loss of his ship was inevitable, had the boats lowered and with his crew, exerted all possible means to preserve the lives of the emigrants, who crowded the decks in the greatest state excitement. After incessant zeal, the greater part of the poor creatures were got safely ashore on the island, but in two instances the boats struck against the rock, were shattered to atoms and their living freight, amounting to nearly 70 persons, were drowned. Before the vessel arrived off Magdalen Islands, a fever had broken out among the emigrants, which carried off 20. The names of those who perished are not mentioned in the particulars received at Lloyd’s; survivors are said to have been conveyed to Picton, where they arrived on the 29th. The vessel had been properly surveyed before her sailing from Liverpool; she was strongly built and registered at Lloyd’s as 627 tons, having been built at St. John’s, New Brunswick, in 1841. It is not known if she were insured.
Two English vessels were lost on the same night, 60 miles southward of Magdalen Islands. One was from London to Quebec, called the ‘Brothers’, the property of Messrs. Brooks and Co., of Southwark. All hands, it is supposed, were lost. Letters from Suez, dated June 8, received by overland mail, announce the total loss of the barque, ‘Welcome’, belonging to Greenock, on a coral rock off the Island of Yambo, in the Red Sea. It was attended with melancholy loss of life. The chief mate, an Arab pilot and also 12 of the seamen, drowned. The accident occurred at 12 o’clock in the night of the 14th of Apr., the vessel being on her homeward passage. No sooner did she strike than the vessel turned over on her beam ends, and shortly sank in 70 fathoms of water. Another loss, that of a whaler, off the coast of New Zealand, is also reported at Lloyd’s. It is that of the ‘Delphos’, 500 tons burden,commanded by Captain WEST.
Shipwreck of The “Exmouth” which left Londonderry 25 April 1847 wrecked 28th April 1847; lives lost 251
Yet think this furious unremitting gale
Deprives the ship of every ruling sail;
And if before it she directly flies,
New ills enclose us and new dangers rise.
The western coast of Scotland, like the western coast of Ireland, is jagged with rocks and be-studded with islands. The hoarse Atlantic ocean has beaten upon it during all time, and the cliffs and headlands and rocky groups, evince the sturdy fashion in which the land has stood out against the in-roads of the sea, fighting, so to speak, every inch of ground with the invader. Tourists love the western coast of Scotland for its picturesqueness and its solitary wildness. If you are an admirer of fine coast scenery, I can wish you no greater treat than to sail amongst the charming islands, that are strewed up and down this shore, and to run along sufficiently near the mainland to catch a glimpse of the purple mountains of the Highlands. Considering the dangerous character of this coast, comparatively few wrecks occur; the dangers being well known are avoided with more than usual care, and moreover they do not lie much in the track of seagoing vessels.
In 1847, the poor people of Ireland were eagerly entering into that great emigration movement which has never ceased up to the present moment, and in connection with which so many disastrous shipwrecks have occurred. They bade farewell to the green Erin they loved and turned their faces to the western continent as the Israelites, departing from Egypt, turned their longing eyes to the land of Canaan.
It was Sunday morning April the 25th in the year 1847.
At Londonderry, – ‘the famous Derry of ‘prentice boy history’ – there lay a brig of 320 tons. In that olden time, of which I spoke some time since, they knew more of brigs than we do. Brigs are somehow going out of fashion but a sailor will tell you that handier craft never go to sea; they are splendid seagoing ships and so obedient that they will, as sailors are fond of saying, “turn in their own length”. The ‘Exmouth’ was a full grown specimen of her class. Upon her decks on this spring afternoon 240 emigrants were waiting the moment when the brig would be cast loose to convey them to Canada. There was a crew of eleven men only; there were the 240 emigrants; there were three young ladies on their way to join friends in New Brunswick. The emigrants were of a better class than you generally understand by the term.
Small farmers who had struggled on their bit of land to obtain a competence, and tradesmen anxious to do something more than live a hand to mouth existence, had been told that the good time coming would come quickest in the land across the Atlantic. Good news had been wafted over from friends and relations who had gone before. You can imagine, therefore, how high beat the hearts of these Irish men, women, and children, as amidst the sorrow of the ‘good-bye’ which was at last spoken, they thought of the sunny future.
The Sunday sun had not risen, when up went the sails and the “Exmouth” starting on her voyage, slowly increased the distance between the emigrants and their fatherland. A light south-west breeze bellied out the canvas, and in the afternoon, as the sun was sinking in the direction which the brig was to take, the hills of Old Ireland appeared like a light cloud in the distance and were quite lost sight of before dark. The wind had been gradually freshening, and shifting from the west to the north. It grew at length into a furious gale, and on Sunday night the poor emigrants, instead of their quiet cottages on shore, fragrant with peat smoke, found themselves confined between decks, terror-stricken at the creaking of the ship and the violence of the squalls which made the brig shiver again. On Monday the gale became stronger and the waves, after four-and-twenty hours of tempest, ran frightfully high. The “Exmouth” continually shipped heavy seas; and as each torrent thundered upon the decks, the emigrants in their despair thought their last hour had arrived. In the forenoon the long boat was unshipped and washed away; another sea stove in the bulwarks; and lastly the lifeboat was carried away.
Through the whole of Monday night the gale kept up its violence. and when Tuesday morning dawned it seemed as far as ever from ceasing. The sails were torn to pieces and blown from the ropes. The master of the brig, Captain BOOTH, was on Tuesday night, apprised of a light, of which one of the sailors caught a momentary glimpse when the brig rose to the top of a crest. Unfortunately, for himself, and the lives entrusted to his care, he considered it proceeded from an island on the north-west coast of Ireland. Approaching the light, he himself, became convinced of his error. Instead of the ample sea-room he believed he had, there lay, hard by the rocks of Islay. He was wrong in his reckoning, and fully alive to the perilous position in which his ship was placed, spared no effort to keep clear of the iron-bound shore.
The men flew to the ropes, and set fresh sail, with a view to hauling the brig off. The captain. stationing himself in the maintop. looked anxiously at the land which threatened him; from this post he issued his orders to the crew. Their exertions were, however, too late to be of any use. The brig drifted surely towards land; the broken water soon seethed around her; and about half an hour after midnight of Tuesday, with some of her smaller sails standing, she dashed upon the rocks. Rebounding she returned with her full broadside exposed upon them. Once, twice, and thrice, she again struck. In the last shock the mainmast went by the board, and was carried into a deep chasm of the rocks. While the brig struck, the whole of the seamen rushed into the maintop, where the captain had, for an hour and a half been watching, and his grief was now heightened as he noticed that his son, a lad of fifteen years of age, was not amongst them. The boy had been left in his cot.
Five of the crew thought they might stand a better chance of reaching land by exchanging the main for the foretop, and they put their idea into immediate action. When, therefore, the mainmast fell into the chasm, there went with it the captain and three seamen. These men, first COUTHARD, second LIGHTFORD, and third STEVENS, clung to the spar, and scrambling up the topmast rigging, secured foothold on the crags. The captain and others would have followed had not a returning wave broken upon them, washing them and the ship further into the sea. The mast might otherwise have been made a bridge of safety for the passengers. So vanished the last possibility of escape for the hapless beings who, in the howling of the storm, perished during that night.
No one saw the brig break up; darkness enveloped the work of destruction which the rocks and waves were effectually carrying on. The three seamen who had escaped were the only survivors. They remained shivering in the crevice of the rock till daylight. Not a trace of the “Exmouth” was then visible; the emigrants, one, and all, had perished. At daybreak the three shipwrecked mariners clambered to the summit of the rocks, and with heavy steps sought a farm-house, to tell how of 254 living beings they alone were left to tell the tale of their loss.
I need not add that by the homely, kindly Scotch folks these men were loaded with kindness. A score of bodies were afterwards washed ashore, battered by the rocks almost beyond recognition; these were the remains of some emigrants, who had probably hurried up at the striking of the brig, leaving their companions below. A few bodies were brought in occasionally by the surf, but the sea was too high to admit of their recovery, and they were carried out to be buried in the ocean depths.
Transcribed by Teena from Notable shipwrecks, retold by uncle Hardy By William Senior 1881 https://books.google.ca/
With our Thanks, Maggie Brown has transcribed from the Tyrone Constitution of Friday 14 May 1847 “THE WRECK OF THE “EXMOUTH”
We annex a list of the unfortunate passengers who perished in the above unfortunate vessel, with the numbers in each family and the names of the localities in which they reside, so far as could be ascertained by the agent at Derry, viz:
Ballymoney – Nancy FORGROVE, Patrick McGUEKEN and family, 5 in number; James WYLIE
Ballyshannon – Terence and Patrick MAGUIRE
Clonmany. – John DEVLIN and family 5
Castlederg – Margaret KEALY, 4; Ann GALLAGHER
Dungiven – John McCONNELL, James and Isabella BOYD, James KEALY
Derry – Letty HENDERSON
County Fermanagh – Jane FLANIGAN and family, 8; James CALDWELL, 9; John CRAWFORD, 7
Kilmacreach – Margaret McGETTIGAN and family, 7; Patrick KELLY, 3; John McDERMOTT, 7; William McELHENNY, 2; Edward McGETTIGAN, 6; James BRADLEY, Michael and Margaret McGINLEY, John GALLAGHER
Letterkenny – Brian DOUNELL and family, 5
Na-Limavady – John RIDDLES and family, 2; Matthew MILLER, Sarah MAGILL, 3; James WRIGHT, Jane HARPER and family, 7; David STEEP, 6
Omagh – Ann ALONE. Strabane. – Hugh McCROSSEN and family, 3; John DIZON, 7; Robert BLAIR, 4; Sarah SMITH, Jas. McCREA, 10
Stranorlar – Redmond McCOOL and family, 9
Shenreagh – John WILSON and family, 3
The residence of the subjoined, who were also on board, are unknown to the agent in Derry:
Owen CURRAN and family 7
Terence HILLY, 7
Patrick WOODS, 6
Bernard McCAFFREY, ?
Andrew TEVAIN, 6
James, Jane, and Ellen PATTERSON
Patrick LEONARD, 5;
Peter MUEKILHILL, 7
James McGIRR, 3
Denis BROGAN, 11
‘British Whig’, Kingston, Tues. 1 Jun. 1847
Following is a list of the emigrants wrecked and lost in the Brig “Exmouth” from Londonderry to Quebec.
Margaret, Mary and James KELLY
Owen, Sally, John, Nelly, Ann, and Sally CURREN
Redmond, Catherine, Catherine, Harriet, John, Edward, James, Michael and Sally M’COOL
James, Ellen, Bernard, William and John DONNELL
John, Martha, Jane, June (?), William, James and Jane DIXON
Robert, Nancy, Isabella and Ann Jane BLAIR
James and Peggy Jane RIDDLES
Edward, Mary, Peggy, Catherine and Daniel M’GETTIGAN
Michael, Margaret and James M’GIBLEY
John Christian and Jane WILSON
Jane, John, Pat, Ann, Rosey, Thos., Jane and Bernard FLANAGHAN
Margt., Nancy, Peggy, Hugh, Mary and John M’GETTIGAN
Pat SINOGH (?)
John, Catherine, Hugh, Peggy, Michael, Rosey and Sally DERMOTT (?)
Ann ALANE (?)
Mary, James, Peggy, John, Hannah, George, Samuel and Jane HARPER
George and James CUNNINGHAM
Pat, James and Gormly KELLY
James, William, Joseph, Moses, Robert, Mary and Jane M’CREA
Andrew, Ann, Rose, Susan, Sarah and James SEVON
Bernard, Billy, Mary and Bernard M’CAFFREY
James and Isabella BOYD
James and Jane PATTERSON
Pat, Catherine, Mary, John and Thomas LENNARD
Ann and John GAULAGHER
William and Mary M’ELINRY
John, Margt., Ellen and Richard DEVLIN
Terrence, Bridget and __ HOLLIS (?)
Pat, Catherine, Charles, Mary, William and Ellen WOODS
Hugh, Mary and Catherine M’CROSSAN
David, Martha, Catherine, Robert, Nancy and John STEEN
James SINGLIE (?)
Sarah and James MAGILL
Peter, Ann, Mary, Catherine, James, Anne and John MUCKLEWHITE
John, Anne, George, Robert, Isabella and Maria CRAWFORD
James, Margaret, Mary, James, Jane, Thos., Eliza, Hannah and Margaret COLDWELL
Patrick and Patrick M’GACKEN
Hannah and Mary M’GACKEN
William, Margt. and Jane A. SMITH
James, Edwd. and Rachael M’GIRR
Dennis, Biddy, Michael, Peggy, James, John, Dennis, Donald, Biddy and Nelly BROGAN
30 Jun 1847
Wreck of an Emigrant Vessel, Dreadful Loss of Life
the Quebec Gazette of June 11 says – In a letter dated Cape Rosier, May 19th, which appeared in our paper Monday last, announcing the melancholy fate of the brig ‘Carricks’, R. THOMPSON master, from Sligo, which was lost near that place with all her passengers except 48, and one boy belonging her crew, the number of passengers was stated to be 167; so that 119 of them would appear to have perished, and, with the boy, in all 120 persons. In looking over a file of Irish papers received last mail, we have met with an extract from a Sligo paper, according to which the number drowned, including the boy, would be 129, instead of 120, unless the ill-fated ship had already lost some of her passengers before the awful catastrophe by which so many of the poor people sent out free by Lord Palmerston were consigned to a watery grave.
The Miracle, which left Liverpool towards the end of March, with 400 emigrants, was, the night of the 9th of May, wrecked off the Magdalen Islands, and 70 of the emigrants were drowned. The survivors were conveyed to Picton. Twenty of the unfortunate emigrants had previously perished from fever. (Kings County Chronicle)
30 June 1847
The chief topic of conversation at that city, (Montreal Canada) was the sickness at Grosse Island. The latest accounts from that place state that the number of ships still there was about thirty. The number of deaths for the week ending June 8, was 110. It was reported that 120 burials had taken place in Grosse Isle on the 9th Jun.
A letter from our correspondent at Mirimachi states that the ship ‘Loosthank’, Captain Thorn, bound from Liverpool to Quebec, with 350 passengers, out 49 days, put in there in distress, 117 passengers having died on the passage and the crew not able to work the ship. She was to proceed on her voyage as soon as the crew recovered. (The Evening Chronicle)
extract from the Grosse Isle Tragedy pub. 1909
Fever on Board! – the crew sullen or brutal from very desperation, or paralyzed with terror of the plague, the miserable passengers unable to help themselves, or to afford the least relief to each other; ¼, or ⅓, or ½, of the entire number in different stages of the disease, many dying, some dead; the fatal poison intensified by the indescribable foulness of the air breathed and rebreathed by the gasping sufferers the wails of children, the ravings of the delirious, the cries and groans of those in mortal agony. Of the 84 emigrant ships that anchored at Grosse Isle in the summer of 1847, there was not a single one to which this description might not rightly apply.
“The authorities were taken by surprise, owing to the sudden arrival of this plague-smitten fleet and save the sheds that remained since 1832, there was no accommodation of any kind on the island. These sheds were rapidly filled with the miserable people, the sick and the dying. Hundreds were literally flung on the beach, left amid the mud and the stones, to crawl on the dry land how they could. “I have seen,” says the priest who was then chaplain of the quarantine, and who had been but one year on the mission, “I have one day seen 37 people lying on the beach, crawling in the mud and dying, like fish out of water. “Many of these and many more besides, gasped out their last breath on that fatal shore, not able to drag themselves from the slime in which they lay. Death was doing its work everywhere in the sheds, around the sheds, where the victims lay in hundreds under the canopy of heaven, and in the poisonous holds of the plague-ships, all of which were declared to be and treated as, hospitals. Amidst shrieks, and groans, and wild ravings, and heart-rending lamentations, our prostrate sufferers in every stage of the sickness, from loathsome berth, to loathsome berth, he pursued his holy task. So noxious was the pent-up atmosphere of these floating pest houses, that he had frequently to rush on deck to breathe the pure air.
There being, at first, no organization, no staff, no available resources, it may be imagined why the mortality rose to a prodigious rate and how at one time as many as 150 bodies, most of them in a half naked state, would be piled up in the dead-house awaiting such sepulture as a huge pit could afford. Poor creatures would crawl out of the sheds, and, being too exhausted to return, would be found lying in the open air, not a few of them rigid in death. When the authorities were enabled to erect sheds sufficient for the reception of the sick and provide a staff of physicians and nurses, and the Archbishop of Quebec had appointed a number of priests, who took the hospital duty in turn, there was, of course, more order and regularity, but the mortality was for a time scarcely diminished. The deaths were as many as 100, and 150, and even 200 a day, and thus for a considerable period during the summer.
Upon that barren isle as many as 10,000 of the Irish race were consigned to the grave pit. By some the estimate is made much higher and 12,000 is considered nearer the actual number. A register was kept and is still in existence, but it does not commence earlier than June 16, when the mortality was nearly at its height. According to this death-roll, there were buried, between the 16th and 30th of June, 487 Irish immigrants “whose names could not be ascertained.” In July, 941 were thrown into nameless graves and in August, 918 were entered in the register under the comprehensive description “unknown.” There were interred from the 16th June to the closing of the quarantine for that year, 2,905 of a Christian people whose names could not be discovered amidst the confusion and carnage of that fatal summer. In the following year, (1848) 2,000 additional victims were entered in the same register without name or trace of any kind, to tell who they were, or whence they came. Thus 5,000 out of the total number of victims were simply described as “unknown.”
13 Aug. 1847
The Montreal Board of health made a report on the 5th instant, the following paragraphs of which more than corroborate the melancholy statements of the Pilot. Dr. M’CULLOUGH reported that he had this day visited the immigrant sheds and hospitals and found the sick too much crowded, in a manner calculated to prevent their recovery and endanger the lives of all necessary attendants. He found in one apartment, of little more than twenty feet square, 33 women dangerously ill of fever. In the extremity another building, about 20 feet by 50 feet, he found 350 children, including many infants but a few months old, suffering and dying, he regretted to say, for want of food and clothing. He also reported that mortality is increasing in the immigrant hospitals, no less than 54 having died there in the 24 hours ending Sunday afterwards, and that more accommodation in hospital room was imperatively required for the safety of the unfortunate people who are found there. The mortality in the present hospitals is now frightful, owing in a great measure, to the crowding of inmates, which creates a pestilential atmosphere that sickens and drives away physicians and nurses and consequently leaves the weary and helpless sick to die in all the horrors of torment and neglect. Every day makes matters worse. The latest accounts are still more afflicting. On the 13th instant, a fleet of passenger ships arrived at Grosse Isle and here is the terrible record of their condition;
‘Goliath’ from Liverpool; 600 passengers; 46 deaths;
‘Jordine’ from Liverpool; 353 passengers; 8 deaths;
‘Manchester’ from Liverpool; 512 passengers; 11 deaths;
‘Erin’s Queen’ from Liverpool; 517 passengers; 50 deaths;
‘Sarah’ from Liverpool; 248 passengers; 31 deaths;
‘Triton’ from Liverpool; 488 passengers; 90 deaths;
‘Thistle’ from Liverpool; 389 passengers; 8 deaths;
‘Avon’ of Cork; 550 passengers; 136 deaths;
In many these ill-fated ships the survivors were, but just alive. Most of the crew of the ‘Triton’, and half the passengers, were down with the fever and had at once to be removed to the hospitals The ‘Avon’, of Cork was still worse – a real plague ship. date. Up to the 30th June the total number of deaths at Grosse Isle, was 821; on board ships and buried on the island to July 8th, 715; died sea, 2,559; total deaths 4,095. (Cork Examiner)
18 August 1847 The Ship Fever in Canada Quebec, July 24
The fever amongst the emigrants is still raging as destructively as ever. Some diminution has occurred in the number of deaths within the last week, because ships are now beginning to come in more slowly, but the relative proportion is quite great, while the disease has assumed, in many cases, the more dangerous and fatal form of congestion of the brain and lungs.
The quarantine hospitals at Grosse Isle still contain their two thousand patients, while all the available accommodation for the sick in the town itself has been for some days filled up. Most fortunately for the inhabitants of Quebec, comparatively few of the emigrants land amongst them; they are almost entirely embarked direct on board the steamer for Montreal, the healthy from their ships and the so called convalescent from Grosse Isle and are carried away once, without any communication with Quebec, consequently, whilst the disease is daily being conveyed to the Upper St. Lawrence and spread into the western districts, it is here almost solely confined to those whose duties compel their personal attendance upon the sick. Several clergymen and doctors have died and others are dangerously ill, but the fever is decidedly not general in the town, because being contagious only by actual contact with the infected, comparatively few persons are exposed to its poison. Still there is necessarily a strong and constant visible evidence of its neighbourhood; many families are in mourning, a general tone of dullness prevails, scarcely any of the hundreds of travelling Americans who come up each summer have ventured into Canada this year, while the local papers are full of details of the misery and death which is so near.
Last Sunday the Bishop himself performed the entire cathedral service alone, an occurrence probably without parallel and he prefaced an extempore sermon, by stating that with the intense labour he had to undergo and the weekly increasing church duty consequent upon the diminishing number of the clergy, he had been unable to find time to write. Little else is talked about but fever and the strongest possible dissatisfaction prevails universally, first, with the home mismanagement which could allow the possibility of so frightful a result of emigration and secondly, with the complete insufficiency of the quarantine system here for the protection of the country. There is reason enough, indeed, for both complaints.
The first fever ship arrived about the 8th of May. From that time to the present, daily and hourly, arrivals have taken place, and of those who left their cottages this spring, to seek a new and happier home on this side of the Atlantic, one-eighth have but wandered to their graves. About 57,000 persons have arrived in the St. Lawrence up to yesterday and the deaths from typhus now very nearly amount to 7,000.
The list on the 22nd instant stood as follows;
Died at sea 2,216
Died after arrival, but before landing 1,011
Died at Grosse Isle (this only extends to the 16th) 1,201
Died in the Marine Hospital in Quebec 150
Died at Montreal 1,400
Died at various places in the provinces, about 800
Though it might fairly have been expected that in the gigantic amount of Irish emigration intended to take place this year, much increased average of sickness would occur, especially as typhus was very prevalent in all the shipping ports in Great Britain, it appears that no arrangements whatever were made to prepare for it The quarantine station was left in all its practical uselessness; one surgeon and a few sheds constituted its whole establishment and Grosse Isle was “kept up as a rather comfortable farm for the superintending surgeon, than as a sanitory gateway of England’s most valued colony.”
The dead, the dying, and the sick arrived; the buildings on the island, mere outhouses at the best, were rapidly filled, and then the luckless wretches for whom no room could be found to die under roof, were laid on the grass in tents, with the rotten beds they had brought from home; 400 are thus provided for, and as for some days past much heavy rain has fallen, their present state must be one of the most fearful misery. There are but 8 surgeons to attend 2,000 patients, and it is said that many of them do not possess the qualifications which so responsible a position, requires. The convalescent, so called at least, are rapidly sent on to Montreal, but as they die there at the rate of nearly 30 percent and carry fever wherever they go, it is fair to suppose that many, if not all of them, are got rid of much too soon, and rather to make room for others, than because they are recovered themselves. In one steamer, which carried up a party of “convalescents” from Grosse Isle to Montreal, 17 died, though the passage did not occupy 20 hours.
Strange to say, there is regular communication between Quebec and the quarantine station. Most people labour under the impression that such a place is shut off from the rest of the world with the ‘cordon sanitaire’ preserved in all its strictness around it; but here there is generous disregard of such precautions, and an Irishman may go down to the hospital sheds, bring away the ragged, filthy garments of his dead wife, and carry them in a bundle pestilent with fever, through the streets and into the houses of Quebec. This has been actually done in several cases. Of course, sickness must result from such proceedings, but there are wardens constantly occupied in the lower town removing the infected, doing all they can to counteract the effects of the poison by enforcing cleanliness and other similar precautions.
The sufferers are, without exception, Irish, amongst the English emigrants scarcely a case of fever has occurred, while the Liverpool and Cork vessels have had it worst. In many cases the fever broke out before the ships had been a week at sea; in others, it is mainly attributable to the infamous negligence of the masters and mates, who frequently have never, during the whole of the voyage, once gone below, but have left their passengers to rot in dirt and foul air, without attempting, in the slightest degree, to make them clean their berths or persons. In some of these ships the boarding officer at Grosse Isle has actually had to lay down planks over the liquid filth and dirt, which covered up the ’tween decks, to the depth of many inches, before he could force his way to the beds in which the unhappy passengers were dying. The food provided has sometimes been so bad, that the flour has produced ulcers on the inside of the lips and mouth, while the salt beef and pork has been thrown overboard as utterly poisonous. Many vessels left Ireland and England with typhus fever evident amongst the people before they sailed; the master of the ‘Pursuit’ from Liverpool, has signed a declaration that he took many passengers on board with fever, and that he objected to them, and that 2 deaths occurred before he left the dock. The master the ‘Helen’ of Sligo, certified that he sent ashore a family who had been embarked sick; that they were re-shipped by the agent, that 2 of them died a few days after sailing, and that the whole ship was infected by them. With such cases as these before them, the Canadians have some reason to complain. They ask, what are the duties of the government emigration agents at the British ports, but to examine ships, provisions and passengers before they sail, and to secure the latter, as far as men can, against the risk of such frightful consequences? To say that these agents do their duty with the utmost energy and activity is most probably true enough, but how can one man in the widest scope of possibility really perform such a duty, as it requires. The government agent at Liverpool is said to be one of the most overworked men in England, as well one of the most industrious and energetic, but what can he do with half a dozen ships a day sailing with 400 passengers in each? Emigration will increase, it has increased enormously, and yet this year some of the members of the House of Commons objected to the grant for the support of the emigration commission, and its staff of agents. Were there three times as many they would all be well occupied, and certainly the inhabitants of the colonies, as well as the poor emigrants themselves, have a right to expect that their interests and comforts, to say nothing of their safety, shall be carefully watched over and provided for. That the horrible amount of death and suffering attendant upon this year’s emigration might to a great extent have been prevented by proper care and rigid examination at home, no one can attempt to deny, and it is the duty of government to enable the emigration commissioners to render the supervision for the next year so complete that the prospect of a similar result shall be destroyed.
On the arrival of ships at Grosse Isle, if they are found to have no epidemic or infectious disease on board, they are allowed to proceed direct to Quebec, and it is of passengers from such vessels the majority of the wanderers in the streets here are composed. They present generally a most wretched appearance, but demand the most ridiculously high wages, and many of them remain idle for a fortnight, rather than accept a lower rate than 6 shillings a day, while the regular pay for strong and experienced labourers does not exceed three. It is a curious fact, and one utterly inexplicable here, that on the dead bodies of many of the most miserable looking Irish sums of money, varying from 5£ to 50£ have been found concealed in their clothes; and yet these very men allowed themselves and their families to actually expire from want of food.
The report of the provincial emigrant agents speak encouragingly of demand for labour, but the fear of introducing fever amongst themselves will prevent many employers from engaging this year’s emigrants. Still, all who can and will work are rapidly absorbed and the chief emigrant agent at this port, whose position is now one of the utmost difficulty and labour, forwards the destitute, as far as the funds at his disposal will allow, on to the districts where they will most probably meet with employment; but the drain upon his treasury for hospitals and burials, and every expense contingent upon universal sickness and universal death, leave him but a small sum, comparatively, to apply to the more regular and legitimate expenditure. It is impossible to announce any expected termination to the fever; no remedies can stop it and it will only end when it has worn itself out.
30 Aug. 1847
The intelligence of the emigrants to Canada received per the Hibernia is very distressing in every respect. The numbers have been great, and the survivors of fever are likely to suffer the utmost privations from want of employment during the ensuing winter. The Gazetter of the 11th August, says – “The prospects of the immigrants who may survive till the winter is still more alarming than their present condition. They have left their country. like the forefathers of all the European descendants who now inhabit America, in the hope of bettering their condition. Under present circumstances they are likely to be worse off than at home. The common feelings of humanity and religion obligation require every one to succour them as much as his means will permit and be thankful that their own lot has not been so unfortunate”. So the emigrants have only passed from bad to worse. Their number to Canada is nearly 80,000 and nearly half a million pounds must have been paid to remove them from charity at home, to beggary in the colonies; although a similar sum judiciously expended in their own country would have given to them permanent employment, while a good return would have been annually derived from the outlay. “The deaths at the Marine Hospital and the adjacent sheds are about a hundred a week out of about a thousand patients. At the quarantine stations the deaths have increased. The fever is spread generally to those parts of the country where the unfortunate emigrants have proceeded; but as yet, it has been chiefly confined to them.”
The Quebec Morning Chronicle affords the following state of the condition of Grosse Island 7th August – “We received this morning the subjoined intelligence from Grosse Isle, reaching to yesterday, from which it will be seen that for the week ending 7th instant, there were 307 deaths in all, at the hospital, the tents, and on board the vessels at the session.
There are 2,038 cases of fever, and 78 of small pox. There were 24 deaths at the tents allotted for the healthy passengers, during the name period. The bodies of 40 adults and 47 children have been landed from the vessels there and buried on the island. The passengers of the ‘Free Trader’, ‘Saguenay’, ‘Larch’ and ‘Ganges’ had not been landed for want of room on the island.
Remaining in Hospital yesterday Aug. 10th; 856 Men; 726 women; 518 children.
This statement extends only to one portion of the hospital accommodation, and does not include that return which we have quoted from the Quebec. Gazette. Neither of them includes the Montreal deaths. We must turn to another paper for that list and although the Montreal Herald does not give full or late particulars, yet as it has the only information presently in our hand, we copy from its number of 13th August – “The condition of the emigrants daily arriving amongst us, though somewhat less painful than at the commencement of the season, is still most distressing. The whole number landed during the season to the 15th of August, in Quebec and Montreal, was 70,006, being 42,863 more than last year. Of these, 4,572 had died at Grosse Isle up to the 4th July; and on the 6th August, there were 2,148 sick in the hospital there. In Montreal at this date, there are in the Emigrant hospital 1,179 sick prisons and during the past fortnight, the deaths at the sheds have amounted to 286. But this does not exhibit the whole loss of life; for, besides several deaths reported by the usual municipal authorities, it appears that 386 persons have been buried in the emigrant burial ground since the 29th June, whose deaths have not been reported at all. We can, therefore, hardly put the numbers down at less than 450 persons in the fortnight. Still these extracts do not bring up the deaths in other parts of the province. We are only informed that fever has extended to other quarters and has principally attacked the emigrants. They also necessarily omit the numbers who perished on the voyage and were buried in the Atlantic. They, of course, take no account of those who were otherwise lost on the passage, but the numbers of the drowned is very considerable.
The Quebec Gazette gives us the following summary of those stricken by fever, who have sunk beneath the blow. “Including the mortality on board the ships on the passage, at Montreal and in Upper Canada, the deaths, out of nearly 80,000 passengers, are probably an eigth of the whole.”
The Mail has been accused most virulently of offering an unreasonable opposition to emigration during this season; but we rejoice that, neither directly, nor indirectly, do we have the slightest responsibility for the course which has caused the death of these ten thousand persons, who might all have been profitably employed in the parishes, or in the country, from which they were sent forth to die. (North British Daily Mail)
7 Sept. 1847 The ship Fever in Canada, Kingston, Canada West, Aug. 10th
The pressure of this year’s emigration is felt more heavily here than either at Quebec, or Montreal. The stream flows on unbroken until it arrives at Kingston, but from that point it divides into branches lending the various different destinations which each party seeks. The office of the government emigrant agent is a, somewhat, amusing sight, for it contains a larger number of women, who swear themselves to be destitute widows with large families, than could probably be found in any work-house in Ireland. It is now becoming well-known at home, that the colenial government forward helpless persons of the country here, and advantage is taken of this charity to a considerable extent by those who do not need it, for many married men go alone by way of New York, sending their wives and children to Quebec, whence they are forwarded, at the public expense, to whatever spot they wish, and where of course, the husband is quietly waiting to receive them. About 45,000 persons have passed through Kingston, en route to the western districts and of that number about 17,000 have received government assistance. Thus far no great no difficulty has been experienced in finding work and employment for them, but they have so universally introduced sickness wherever they have gone, that employers are beginning seriously to reject their services, much as they want them now, to get in the harvest. The case is becoming one of increasing difficulty; the emigrant is placed at his intended destination, but he is feared and avoided; he has no money, no one will give him work, for his fellowship is considered almost death. This is what things are fast coming to and when winter arrives, the position of the emaciated, penniless wretches who will remain from this year’s plague-stricken emigration, will have become one of intense suffering to themselves, and of danger and discomfort to the colony. Nothing but continued maintenance at the public expense will suffice to support them and the money must come from England, for all the provincial funds are long since exhausted; an expenditure of £1,000 a day, which is considered to be about the sum spent upon the emigrants in the whole of Canada, is a tolerable drain.
The state of fever at Quebec and Montreal remains the same, but three ships have arrived at Grosse Isle in a condition which far surpasses anv previous horrors. The ‘Sir Henry Pottinger’ sailed from Cork with 399 passengers, she reached the St. Lawrence with 112 sick and 98 dead and the ‘Virgianus’ and ‘John Munn’, which left Liverpool with 496 and 425 passengers respectively, have arrived, one with 158, and the other with 59 dead, while almost every soul of the survivors, was hopelessly ill. Of the crew of the ‘Virgianus’ but 3 are left, the captain and officers having died with the rest and it is seriously contemplated to scuttle the ship and sink her for a while, as the only means of puryfying her from the infection she has absorbed; it said that every one has abandoned her at Grosse Isle.
A curious instance of the character of the Irish emigrants occurred at Montreal a few days ago; a man, with a large troop of children, entered the office of the emigrant agent and asked for relief; he professed himself to utterly destitute and declared his readiness to swear that he had no money and was starving. He was relieved, half a dozen loaves were given him, and passage tickets for his whole family to Kingstown. He went to the barge to embark, his foot slipped, and he fell into the canal and was drowned. His body was carried to the sheds, and the first thing found in his pocket was a packet of dollar notes, enclosing ten sovereigns.
It is scarcely strange, that with such experience of Irish emigration, the Canadians should oppose the execution of any colonization scheme which is framed as a measure of relief for the country they come from. At Prescott, a small town on the St. Lawrence, several families have lived for some days under a heap of planks which lie on the steam-boat wharf. There they are, and they will not move, though how they exist one knows. The wages for road-work, of which there is plenty round that neighbourhood, are two shillings a day, but the man from Cork and Tipperary prefers throwing stones in the water, with his children to held him, to breaking them on the road, and getting paid for his labour. The mass of emigrants have, however, most fortunately hitherto been provided for. Occupation has been plentiful in consequence of the large crops sown for European markets; and were it not for fear of the fever, all who want work would get it. (Armagh Guardian)
17 Sept. 1847 The Fever in Canada
The following is an extract from the letter of an emigrant, addressed one of his friends in this city and received by the last mail from Boston. It contains a vivid and painful picture of the emigrant catastrophe in Canada. The letter is dated from the barque ‘Bridgetown’, lying off Grosse island, in front of Quebec, which, it appears, was converted into a vast burial place
“We arrived here on the 22nd from Liverpool, I regret to tell you that fever broke out and that seventy passengers and one sailor were committed to the deep on the voyage. There are several more ill. We buried six yesterday on shore. The carpenter and joiner are occupied in making coffins. There are six more dead after the night. I cannot say when can go to Quebec, as we cannot land the remainder of the sick at present, there being no room in the hospitals for them, though the front of the island is literally covered with sheds and tents. The accounts from the shore are awful and our condition on board you can form no idea of; helpless children without parents or relatives, parents without children. It would fill sheets paper to go into particulars. Amongst the passengers is a fine little boy two years old, without parents or relatives, the father buried in the deep last week and the mother the week before, their six children under similar unfortunate circumstances and on. I trust God will carry me through this trying ordeal. I was a few days sick, but am now recovered. Captain WILSON was complaining for a few days. It is an awful change from the joyous hopes with which most of us left our unfortunate country, expecting to be able to earn that livelihood denied us at home – all – all changed in many cases to despair. (Cork Examiner)
20 Oct. 1847 The Montreal Herald of the 28th ult. Says;
We regret to say that the forebodings of evil with respect to emigrants arriving in the St. Lawrence are at this moment only too sadly verified. We have been favoured with the sight of a letter from Quebec, from which it appears that a very large number of deaths have taken place on board of many of the vessels coming out. On board the ‘Agnes’ there have been 50 deaths; on board the ‘Wandsworth’ 45; on board the ‘Jane Black’ 10 or 11; on board the ‘George’, 20; in all, about 150. There are now, we learn, about 215 patients on shore in the hospital, besides 220 others on board 4 ships, which are still detained at Grosse Isle. The government, in the mean time, has been engaged in doing all in its power to alleviate the calamity. We understand that the chief emigrant agent at Quebec has engaged 2 experienced medical men to go to the quarantine station to assist Dr. DOUGLAS in taking charge of the sick and accommodation has been provided for 10,000 persons on the island. He has also given the necessary orders for the erection of a fever hospital on Windmill Point, above the canal. This hospital will contain 200 persons. A shed is also to be erected on the island wharf. (The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser)
18 Sept. 1847 The Canadian Ship Fever
The great Irish famine and pestilence will have a place in that melancholy series of similar calamities to which historians and poets have contributed so many harrowing details and touching expressions. Did Ireland possess a writer endued with the laborious truth of Thucydides, the graceful felicity of Virgil, or the happy invention of De Foe, the events of this miserable year might be quoted by the scholars for ages to come together with the sufferings of the pent-up multitudes of Athens, the distempered plains of northern Italy, or the hideous ravages of our own great plague. But Time is ever improving on the past. There is one horrible feature of the recent, not to say the present, visitation which is entirely new. The fact of more than a hundred thousand souls flying from the very midst of the calamity across a great ocean to a new world, crowding into insufficient vessels, scrambling for a footing on a deck and a berth in a hold, committing themselves to these worse than prisons, while their frames were wasted with ill-fare and their blood infected with disease, fighting for months of unutterable wretchedness against the elements without and pestilence within, giving almost hourly victims to the deep, landing at length on shores already terrified and diseased, consigned to encampments of the dying and of the dead, spreading death wherever they roam, and having no other prospect before them than a long continuance of these horrors in a still farther flight across forests and lakes under a Canadian sun and a Canadian frost; all these are circumstances beyond the experience of the Greek historian or the Latin poet, and such as an Irish pestilence alone could produce. By the end of the season there is little doubt that the immigration into Canada alone will have amounted to 100,000; nearly all from Ireland. We know the condition in which these poor creatures embarked on their perilous adventure. They were only flying from one form of death. On the authority of the Montreal Board of Health we are enabled to state that they were allowed to ship in numbers two or three times greater than the same vessels would have presumed to carry to a United States port. The worst horrors of that slave trade which it is the boast or the ambition of this empire to suppress, at any cost, have been re-enacted in the flight of British subjects from their native shores. In only ten of the vessels that arrived at Montreal in July, four from Cork and six from Liverpool, out of 4,427 passengers, 804 had died on the passage and 847 were sick on their arrival; that is, 847 were visibly diseased, for the result proves that a far larger number had in them the seeds of disease. “The Larch,” says the Board of Health on August 12, “reported this morning from Sligo, sailed with 440 passengers, of whom 108 died on the passage, and 150 were sick. The “Virginius” sailed with 496; 158 died on the passage, 186 were sick, and the remainder landed feeble and tottering – the captain, mates and crew were all sick. The Black Hole of Calcutta was a mercy compared to the holds of these vessels. Yet simultaneously, as if in reproof of those on whom the blame of all this wretchedness must fall, foreigners, Germans from Hamburgh and Bremen, are daily arriving, all healthy, robust, and cheerful.” This vast unmanageable tide of population thus thrown upon Montreal, like the fugitives from some bloody defeat, or devastated country, has been greatly augmented by the prudent and, we must add, most necessary precautions adopted in time by the United States, where more stringent sanitary regulations, enforced by severer penalties, have been adopted to save the ports of the Union from those very horrors which a paternal Government has suffered to fall upon Montreal. Many of these pest ships have been obliged to alter their destination, even while at sea, for the St. Lawrence. At Montreal, a large proportion of these outcasts have lingered from sheer inability to proceed. The inhabitants of course have been infected. From the official returns of burials at Montreal, for the 9 weeks ending August 7, it appears that in the city there died during that period 924 residents and 806 emigrants, making a total of 1,730 deaths. Besides these, 1,510 emigrants died at the sheds, making a grand total of 3,240 in the city of Montreal audits extempore Lazaretto; against only 488, including residents and emigrants, for the corresponding weeks last year. A still more horrible sequel is to come. The survivors have to wander forth and find homes. Who can say how many will perish on the way, or the masses of houseless, famished, and half-naked wretches that will be strewed on the inhospitable snow, when a Canadian winter once sets in? Of these awful occurrences some account must be given. Historians and politicians will some day sift and weigh the conflicting narrations and documents of this lamentable year, and pronounce, with or without affection, how much is due to the inclemency of heaven and how much to the cruelty, heartlessness, or improvidence of man. The boasted institutions and spirit of this empire are on trial. They are weighed in the balance. Famine and pestilence are at the gates and a conscience-stricken nation might almost fear to see the “writing on the wall.” We are forced to confess that, whether it be the fault of our laws, or our men, this new act in the terrible drama has not been met as humanity and common sense would enjoin. The result was quite within the scope of calculation and even of cure.
But simple as precaution was, what has been done? In the first place, our usual regulations as to the proportions of passengers to tonnage are lax enough. Then, it appears that British vessels bound to Canada, owing to the recent repeal of a former enactment, need not, and do not, take out surgeons. Then, as a correspondent informs us, the inspectors appointed to see that emigrant ships chartered from British ports observed such regulations as there are, have generally failed in their duty. Into this part of the business we hope that Parliament will not omit to inquire. Further, notwithstanding the assurances given to the Legislature last session, it is quite clear that due preparation has not been made at the colony. As the Montreal Board of Health justly complains, there have been no adequate funds, or even competent authority, provided for the crisis; the establishment at Grosse Isle has been ridiculously insufficient, nor have any measures whatever been adopted or thought of, for the transmission of the helpless and destitute crowd beyond Montreal, much less for their employment and settlement. Such neglect is an eternal scandal to the British name; nor do we see any way to escape the opprobrium of a national inhumanity, except by taking the earliest and most effective means to rectify past errors, and prevent their recurrence.
23 Oct. 1847 Irish Emigrants in Canada – The Quebec Mercury says:
On the eve of the departure of mail for England, we desire once more, to draw the attention of the authorities in Great Britain to the continued practice of shipping to Canada parties in the utmost state of destitution and among whom, disease must have existed prior to their embarkation. The last case in point is the ship ‘Superior’, from Londonderry, now at Grosse Isle. This vessel left with 366 passengers. Her deaths on the passage amount to 20 and 120 (sick of typhus fever and dysentery) have been landed at the quarantine station. Of the number (not positively ill) sent to the sheds for the reception of the healthy, the inspecting medical officer is of opinion that not more than 12 can be said to be free from disease. The whole of these poor creatures are said to exceed in squalour, wretchedness, filth, any that have arrived from the old country during this season of misery and death. One fact will suffice to illustrate the wretched condition of these poor creatures and to convey a fearful idea of the miserable position in which they are about to find themselves. It is given in a few words; so destitute were they, that the captain had cut the canvas bread bags for clothing for some of them! Is not this truly appalling? What hearts must those possess who could deliberately expose their fellow creatures to misery such as we now detail? Man cries shame upon his fellow men for such cool, calculating, and mercenary atrocity. A second vessel, freighted with Highlanders, equally as miserable and filthy in condition as any hitherto reported, is also at Grosse Isle at this moment, the ‘Elisa Jones’, from Glasgow, with 369 passengers.
She has landed 30 sick at the station and lost 30 during the voyage. What, we ask, will be the fate of those poor souls arriving here at a time when employment of every description is about at an end? for winter seals up almost every channel of industry and winter is fast drawing nigh? Begging alone is open to them. (Dublin Weekly Nation)
17 Nov. 1847 Irish Immigrants in Canada – Quebec, June 26th
The immigration from Ireland has commenced under the most gloomy auspices. Since the opening of the navigation upwards of 30,000 immigrants have arrived. In flying from the misery that surrounded them at home they have merely shifted the scene of their affliction. Fever and dysentery have made sad havoc among them. No less than 1,300 deaths have occurred at the quarantine station, Grosse Isle, about 36 miles below Quebec and nearly the same number are reported to have taken place on the passage out. I will leave your imagination to picture the scenes which have converted this small island into a lazaretto. On one day there were 128 funerals.
In the meantime the fears of our citizens have put them on the alert. Precautionary measures have been adopted by boards of health. At Grosse Isle the medical staff has been increased by 12 assistants, sheds for the sick have been erected at one end of the island, and 500 tents for the reception of the healthy at the other. Supplies of provisions have been distributed
through the commissariat to all the destitute passengers and a soup kitchen has been opened for their relief in Quebec. At the latest accounts there were 1,935 sick onshore at Grosse Isle, and 260 on board ship. The great proportion of cases of dysentery is the natural result of extreme destitution among the poorer passengers, few cases having occurred among the better classes of immigrants. Landlords would do well, therefore, to pause before they assume the responsibility of providing paupers with free passages, unless they provide them also with food to sustain them on the way. Whatever motive may prompt them, misplaced liberality, or selfish foresight, they may depend that the crowd and filth of a passenger ship, and want of food during a long voyage, will consign a great number to certain death. To add to the horror inspired by these sufferings, several immigrant vessels have been wrecked in the Gulf with considerable loss of life; in one case, ‘the Imogen’, wrecked on the Scatterie Islands, only 104 passengers escaped out of 400. (The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser)
27 Nov. 1847 Emigration
We have been favoured by Capt. RAMSAY Emigration agent at this port, with a Quebec paper, bearing date the 28th October, from which we learn that the quarantine establishment, at Grosse Isle, is about to be finally closed, there being no more emigrants on the island. It appears that the number of deaths at this station amounted to 3,452, but to this we have to add the number of deaths which occurred on the passage, 3,900; ditto, in vessels during detention at quarantine, 1,282; ditto, at Marine Hospital, 1,000; making a grand total of 9,634 deaths. An official return is published, of the amount of money and effects left by emigrants who died without relatives at this island from the 16th May to the 21st October, from which we extract the following, in the hope that it may reach the eyes of the friends of deceased in this country, in which case they should place themselves in immediate communication with the Government emigration agent at this port. Died, John BOURK of ship ‘Unicorn’, from Londonderry, leaving 8s. 6d. and a common silver watch; James M’KAY of ‘Marchioness of Abercom’, 10s. 4d.; Catherine RILLIE, 5£ 7s 7½d; Bridget LAWLESS, 14s. 5½d., Mary M’CALLISTER, 9s., all of the ship ‘Superior’; James WATSON, of ‘Unicorn’, £45, to be sent to his father at Sherbrooke; Catherine BRADY, of ‘Superior’, £2 4s., sent to Mr. BUCHANAN.
4 Dec. 1847 Massacre of Irish Emigrants
To the Editor of the Nation
Being but recently arrived from Lower Canada, I think it my duty to call your attention to the infamous sacrifice of the lives of the Irish emigrant population during the present year in British America. We understood that Lord John Russell had declared, from his place in parliament, that the British government would be prepared to give the emigrant every assistance on his landing in Canada. We believed that every provision would be ready for the accommodation of the sick the Grossc Isle quarantine station and that the quarantine laws would be so carried out as to provide for the health of the emigrant and, at the same time, preserve the colony from the danger of infection.
According to this view, the declaration with which Lord John Russell had accompanied his promise – namely, that the government would give no assistance to the emigrant in his passage to the New World, appeared unwise, as it was manifest that the refusal to enable the emigrant to cross the Atlantic, and land in strength and health, must (should his lordship’s promise be fulfilled) cause expenditure in medical attendance to the sick, and aid to those left destitute on their recovery from sickness, equivalent to any saving in government supervision at the time of embarkation and aid upon the passage across the Atlantic. We were, however, mistaken, the promise held out by the head of the government was boldly violated.
There is always a hospital capable of containing 250 patients at Grosse Isle (the quarantine ground some 30 miles below Quebec); there is there a doctor, appointed by government, a Scotch gentleman, named DOUGLAS, with, I believe, one or 2 assistants; and an emigrant office under the control of an emigrant agent in Quebec. The doctor at the quarantine ground possesses sort of monopoly in the sale of various articles to the sick and in fact, were he governed by self interest would find a decided pecuniary advantage, in being as little watched, as little assisted, and as much left alone as possible in the discharge of his avocations. Of course Doctor DOUGLAS was not at all actuated by such considerations in declaring, quite in accordance with the policy of the government, which had left him without resources at the opening of the river navigation, that he did not require aid, that he anticipated a greater emigration, but no more sickness, than in ordinary years, and that with 1 additional assistant, 2 additional hospital nurses, and a few additional beds and blankets, he would be prepared to meet the incoming emigration.
The emigration was not only unusually large, but had set in earlier and the navigation had opened later than customary, so that many a passenger ship had been detained (some of them for a long period) in the ice; the emigrants were, consequently, in the utmost destitution and had endured the greatest privations in closely crowded ship; and being left without guidance or instruction, drank freely of the river water, which, according to its invariable effect upon strangers, promoted severe diarrhea. The result was that the survivors (for numbers had been already been consigned to the deep) were in a frightful state of fever and dysentery. It was when every effort had been made to lull the province into false security, and while the government ‘medicus’ at Grosse Isle was boasting his capacity to grapple with the emergency, that the long retarded flood of Irish emigration burst upon the colony. In a short period between 1,200 and 1,300 sick were placed on an island affording accommodation for only 250.
The result can be better imagined than described. As many more were sick on board ships in the quarantine waters. The state of these floating charnel-houses beggars all description; filth and disease in the steerage, death in the hold, death on the decks, death on the companion ladders! Where was the emigration agent? Where was the government assistance? Where was medical aid? Where was Russell’s promise? It is not too much to say that for some period and that not a short one, the sick were abandoned at Grosse Isle, with the earth for their couch, the waters for their grave, and Heaven for their canopy and their winding sheet. At length assistants were procured and sheds were erected and provisions given out; still the emigrants were destined to a frightful residence, in want of air, in want of room, in want of sufficient attendance; and the convalescent were doomed to imprisonment upon an island, the only cleared space in which you left them for exercise was the teeming graveyard, inasmuch as the meadows which might have afforded them recreation were strictly forbidden them by the doctor, lest they should tread down the grass which nourished his cows!
But if the state of affairs at Grosse Isle was frightful, that further up the country was worse. The quarantine laws were virtually abolished to save the government from the consequences of their brutal neglect, with the consent of the people of Canada, who, with the most disinterested humanity, preferred braving all the dangers of infection to, (by insisting on quarantine regulations), dooming the emigrants to that which they deemed inevitable death. The result was that emigrants were scattered throughout the whole length of Canada, from the quarantine ground at Grosse Isle to the extreme confines of the wilderness of Huron. Everywhere the population suffered from contagion and sickness.
The convalescent, weakened and shaken by their sickness, were almost disabled from exertion and then, sufferings, despite the charity and kindness shown towards them by the population of Canada, were, you may readily conceive, most dreadful. I was told by the best authorities that the whole Irish emigration was stricken with fever, and that probably one-fifth of the whole perished. I do not know, neither do care, what the government estimates the subject to have been, but I believe from the most competent authorities (and my means of information were extensive), that from 60,000 to 75,000 Irish emigrants landed in Canada and that from 12,000 to 15,000 perished, besides great sickness and mortality suffered by our own population, in both provinces. How many of the Irish in Canada perished by the visitation of God? how many by wilfull and culpable neglect? And who is responsible for the blood thus consumed by the slow fire of want and disease, if not Lord John Russell, Prime Minister of England!
I am, Sir, yours respectfully, – A Colonist.
1847 by Dr, STRATTON
It appears that the ‘Avon’ in 552 passengers, had 246 deaths and the ‘Virginius’ in 476 passengers, had 267 deaths. In 1847 the earliest arrival of an emigrant ship at Quebec was on the 8th May and the latest on the 8th November. The shortest passage was 22 days and the longest passage of an emigrant ship was 87 days; the average passage being 40 days. The deaths on the passage were 5282, and in quarantine they were 3389, the total deaths previous to arrival at Quebec being 8671. The number of emigrants landed at Quebec was 90,150, deaths previous to arrival at Quebec 8671; births on the passage 172 total 98,993. This number of persons crossed in 442 ships, being at the average of 223 passengers for each ship. Of the 90,150 emigrants, 696 were cabin passengers. Among the deaths on the passage there were 11 deaths in child birth.
The following table shows the Comparative Mortality among Emigrants from Different Countries
From / Number embarked / Mortality percent
Scotland, 3,239 – 3:12
England, 32,579 – 12: 9
Liverpool 27,051 – 15:39
Cork 10,174, – 18: 73
Ireland including Liverpool, 81,370 -10:49
Continental Europe, 7,525 – 1:26
17 Feb 1848 The Emigration Tragedy
“We think the emigration was eminently calculated to be of the greatest USE TO YOUR LORDSHIP’S ESTATE, to the colonies, and above all to the poor people themselves, and we hope that means may be provided FOR CONTINUING IT NEXT SEASON UPON A SCALE EQUALLY LARGE,” a Letter of STEWART and KINCAID to Lord Palmerston, 3rd Dec. 1847.
We place the above extract at the head of our article for the purpose of bringing prominently before the people and their friends, distinct evidence of the continued determination that exists to re-enact, during the coming year, the emigration tragedy by which, during the year that has just closed, 25,000 of our people have, to use the words of the Montreal Committee, “been swept from existence.”
Our readers are already in possession of some details of the sufferings of landlord-aided emigrants of last year, but they have not yet had an opportunity of seeing the horrid tragedy as a whole and watching its development from the opening scene to the catastrophe. This (the extract from the report of the Montreal Relief committee, forwarded to us by our New York correspondent) will in part enable them to do. It shows the final scene and after our readers shall have retired from the contemplation of the result, we propose to bring them through the several stages of the appalling drama and then to ask them, lay and clerical, as they would be free from the blood of their brethren, to aid us in preventing the contemplated re-enactment of a tragedy which, though it may have been “of the greatest use” to the estates of Lord Palmerston, and the other high and noble personages named in the report, has served their estates by devoting five, and twenty thousand of our fellow countrymen to bitter sufferings and to cruel deaths.
Here is the portrait of the closing scene drawn by the Montreal committee - “Probably, in no year since the Conquest, has Canada presented such fearful scenes of destitution and suffering. Death has come in for its share in the great drama, and of the 100,000 or thereabouts of souls, who left the British Ises to seek a home in this western world, full one quarter of the whole, have been swept from existence. From Grosse Isle, the great charnel-house for victimised humanity, up to Port Sarnin along the borders of our magnificent river, upon the shores of Lakes Ontario and Erie and wherever the tide of immigration has extended, are to be found the final resting-places of the sons and daughters of Erin “one unbroken chain of graves, where repose fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, in one commingled heap, without a tear bedewing the soil, or a stone to mark the spot.”
And it is the drama which thus closed, which has left from one end of Canada to the other “one unbroken chain of graves, where repose fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, in one commingled heap, without a tear bedewing the soil, or a stone as to mark the spot,” that we are to have repeated this is “season upon a scale equally grand”, if the friends of the poor do not in time warn them of the danger that impends and stay the slaughter that threatens. The spring will soon open and with its opening will doubtless be renewed the efforts of the landlords to send other “five and twenty thousand of the Irish race, to perish on the coast of Canada”, far from home and friends and country, and where their dying maledictions cannot grate upon their ears. Now therefore, is the time to give the people warning of the danger that impends and to caution them not to listen to the seductions of agents, or to the threats of bailiffs, but to die in their own country, among sorrowing friends and sympathising neighbours, rather than commit themselves, their wives and children to the heartless keeping of those who, under the guise of emigration, would lead them, to extend the unbroken chain of graves that line the rivers and bays of Canada, and all that the land might be relieved of the burden of their support at home.
The letter from which we quote at the head of this article shows that, notwithstanding the fearful results of last year’s operations, efforts will be made this year “to repeat and extend the system.” Lord Palmerston and the other lords and gentlemen will try, still further, to improve their estates by increasing the unmarked graves of Canada, but we must counteract their improvement schemes, or at least free our own souls of the guilt, by telling the dupes of the emigration system the fate of those who preceded them; a fate that will be assuredly theirs if they be not warned in time. The number of deaths that have followed is, as the Montreal report observes, but one of the horrible results. Sufferings, from which death would be a relief – horrors, of which the people of this country have no power to form a conception, preceded the death of these 25,000 and still haunt the foot-tracks of the vast majority of those who yet survive. Let humanity, then, bestir itself – let all who feel for and sympathise with our people, while there is yet time, warn them of the fate that awaits them if they permit landlords estates to be improved by a process, which will necessarily sweep them from existence, or leave them to drag out a miserable existence as pauper outcasts in a strange land. (The Freeman’s Journal)
10 May 1848
An extra of the ‘Official Gazette’ has been issued containing a royal proclamation for the regulation of the quarantine establishment at Grosse Isle during the ensuing year. The orders are most stringent. Every vessel having more than 13 passengers on board is to anchor at the quarantine ground; if there has been any disease on board during the voyage, or if the vessel has sailed from any port where infectious disease prevailed, the vessel is to undergo a thorough purification and the 30 emigrants are to be landed on the island and they and their clothing and baggage to undergo a compulsory scrubbing. The island is placed under the authority of a military commandant. It is stated that the new legal enactments respecting emigration will increase the passage money from Ireland to America to 5£ at least, per head.
The spring has commenced early in Canada. The ice in front of Montreal which seldom disappears till the close of April, was gone on the 9th of the month, and the channel is free, as far as the Three Rivers. The quarantine staff for the present season at Quebec, will consist of a Military Commandant, Medical Superintendent, Inspecting physician (to board and inspect passenger vessels) a Subaltern in command of a detachment, Commissariat officer, and a Deputy Emigration Agent. As sick emigrants arrive, additional medical assistants will be appointed under the medical superintendant. Quebec is to be the depot for emigrants during the season, instead of sending forward direct from Grosse Isle all whose destination was not Quebec, or who did not express a wish to rest there. (Tipperary Vindicator)
7 June 1848 – Quebec
May 19 ‘The John Bull’, DUFFIL, arrived here on the 11th from London with loss of jibboom, maintopsail-yard, and maintopsail, having experienced heavy gales, with wind from N.N.W. to W.N.W.
The ‘William Wallace’, DOWNING, from Newcastle, arrived on the 14th inst., with most of her sails split.
Mr. MILLER of the ‘Fame’, from Limerick, reports having seen, on the 9th inst. a vessel on shore about 13 miles N.N.W. of S.W. point of Anticosti, apparently a barque, with white figure-head, bright lower masts, with a strip off topmasts, and smoke issuing from a hut in Spencer Cove, about quarter of a mile from the vessel.
The ‘Theodosia’, CREIGH, from Newcastle, arrived on the 15th inst. leaky, having been on shore on Goose Island.
The brig ‘Portia’, Rowntree, arrived this morning from Hartlepool, and reports having spoke the Astoria on the 8th inst., off St. Paul’s, alls well. She was about to enter the ice to endeavour to force a passage, and wanted the ‘Portia’ to accompany her, but Mr. Rowntree declined, bore away, and found a passage.
The ‘Ayrshire’, O’NEILL, 27 days from Newry, with 214 passengers. got aground yesterday morning, at 5 o’clock, on Point St. Laurent (Island of Orleans), a few miles below. Mr. O’NEILL came up to town immediately and having engaged the steamer ‘St. George’, proceeded down yesterday afternoon to take off the passengers and returned this morning with part of them. The vessel has been got off.
The ‘Triune’, of Sunderland, has sunk off Magdalen river; she had previously been on shore at Anticosti and was making much water. The master and three men have been picked up by the ‘Energy’, WARREN, from Limerick, arrived here.
The ship ‘Jessy’, from Limerick, with passengers, has arrived at Grosse Island.
The brig ‘Governor’, HUGILL from Limerick, arrived at quarantine on the 15th instant. She had one cabin and 174 steerage passengers; 10 sick, and 18 deaths on the voyage. Of the 10 who were sent to hospital, one died the night before last. The ‘Jessy’ and ‘Governor’ were the only two vessels not discharged from quarantine yesterday.
The barque ‘Envoy’, PATTON, from Londonderry, arrived at Grosse Isle on the 14th inst. She had one cabin and 214 steerage passengers; one death on the voyage. She has since arrived in port.
The ‘Ayrshire’, aground on her way up, had 214 passengers, 3 deaths on the voyage, and only one sick.
The schooner ‘Eliza Ann’, FERGUSON, from Kilrush, likewise on her way up, had five cabin and 93 steerage passengers, 1 death on the voyage and 1 sick reaching on Grosse Isle. (Shipping and Mercantile Gazette)
11 Nov. 1848
We beg particular attention to the following passage, which we may entitle
Cause of Major MAHON’S Murder
As one example, among hundreds, of the direct connexion between clearance and agrarian crime, as cause and effect, we may recall the case of the late Major MAHON, who is stated by the B. C. Bishop of Elphin, in a letter addressed to the editor of the Dublin Evening Post, authenticated by the minutest details of names and numbers, to have got rid of no less than 600 tenants, comprising upwards of 3,000 souls, chiefly by emigration, in the 18 months previous to the day when he was Shot.
The following account of the fate endured by some of the victims of this Strokestown clearance appears in the last “Papers relating to Emigration” presented to Parliament. It is extracted from the report of Dr. DOUGLAS, medical superintendent of the quarantine depot at Grosse Isle, at which the passengers of the fever-laden emigrant ships were disembarked, before they were allowed to proceed to Montreal and bears date 27th December 1847.
“Some vessels had lost one-third, some one-fourth of their passengers, before arriving at the quarantine station. Of these I may cite the ship ‘Virginias’ from Liverpool. This vessel left with 476 passengers, of whom 158 died before arrival at Grosse Isle, including the master, mate, and 9 of the crew. It was with difficulty the remaining hands could, with the aid of the passengers, moor the ship and furl the sails. Three days after her arrival there remained of the ship’s company only the second mate, one seaman and a boy, able to do duty. All others were either dead or in hospital. Two days after the arrival of this ill-fated ship, the barque ‘Naomi’ arrived, having left Liverpool with 334 passengers, of whom, 110 died on the passage, together with several of the crew. The passengers of these 2 vessels were sent out at the expense and from the estates of the late Major MAHON, in county Tyrone and the survivors were, without exception, the most wretched, sickly, miserable beings ever witnessed.”
Now, without meaning in the least degree to extenuate the atrocious crime to which the ill-fated gentleman here named owed his death, it is right, with a view to the formation of sound opinions on the causes of such crimes, to remark that the friends and relatives of these death-doomed outcasts, heard, no doubt, immediately of the sad fate that had befallen them, from some of the wretched survivors. And taking into further consideration that all their class, with one mind, looked upon their expulsion from the houses they had themselves built, and the lands they had reclaimed from the mountain, as an act of gross injustice and cruel tyranny, can any one, with any knowledge of human nature, be surprised at what followed? So true is the expression employed by O’CONNELL, in one of his latest speeches on this subject – “The wholesale slaughter of the clearance system always precedes and occasions the individual assassination. (The Tablet)
Transcriber’s Note- Strokestown is in Co. Roscommon
30 Dec. 1848
The flight of a quarter of a million of inhabitants of these islands to distant quarters of the world in 1847 was one of the most marvellous events in the annals of human migration. The miserable circumstances under which the majority left their homes, the element traversed in quest of a refuge, the thousands of miles over which the dreary pilgrimage was protracted, the fearful casualties of the voyage by shipwreck, by famine, and by fever, constituted a fact which we believe to be entirely without precedent and compared with which the irruption of the northern races, into southern Europe, become mere summer excursions; but, perhaps, the marvel of the event is surpassed this year. The impetus, or rather the combination of impelling causes, no longer exists. It is, nevertheless, the fact that the migration of this year is nearly equal to that of the last. The grand total from all the British ports for the last eleven months of last year was 244,251; for the first eleven months of this year, 220,033. Nor do these figures represent the whole truth of the case. They are merely the numbers of those who embarked at ports where there are government emigration officers, and who have passed under official review. Some thousands of the better class of emigrants are not included in this census.
Government, we feel assured, have done all that could be done or attempted with prudence. The emigration officers have carried out the new rules for the benefit of the emigrant, and generally against the pecuniary interest of the shipowner, in such a way that there has been no complaint the whole year. Another agreeable feature in this year’s emigration, as compared with the last, is the fact of 20,340 having gone to the Australian colonies, against 6,032 last year. A considerable number of Irish orphans have been sent over, with every precaution for their health and proper disposal and as we are informed by those who have visited the vessels, nothing could be more satisfactory than the arrangements made for this interesting class of emigrants and the cheerfulness with which they looked forward to their voyage. All others have gone at their own expense. On the whole, we are not disposed to urge, either further assistance from the state, or a more exclusive appropriation of the colonial funds to this purpose. (The
30 May 1849 Coleraine
The Board of Guardians of the above union have, with the consent of the poor Iaw commissioners, comfortably fitted out as emigrants for Canada, 57 of the most promising of the workhouse inmates, who have been at least 18 months resident in the workhouse. The party will sail from Belfast for Quebec on the 31st instant, their having been engaged by the ship ‘Riverdale’. On their sailing out from Belfast, the clerk will give each the sum of 10s. to meet incidental expenses on their landing at Quebec and to carry them further into the country. It is calculated that the amount which would have maintained them in the workhouse for another year, will cover all the expenses of the emigration.
2 June 1849 Wreck of Emigrant Ship among Icebergs Dreadful Loss of Life.
The heartrending tidings of the total wreck of the ‘Hannah’, freighted with nearly two hundred emigrants, bound to Quebec from Newry, have been received by the American mail steamer ‘America’ at Liverpool. (Northampton Mercury)
2 June 1849 Pauper Emigration
The Guardians of the Downpatrick union are about drafting female paupers to Canada in accordance with the suggestion of Mr. SENIOR, poor law inspector; about 14 adults and 8 children have been approved of by the board and have been provided with clothes and the necessary outfit for the voyage, and also a sum of 10 shillings in money for each, to be given them on their arrival at the port of debarkation, to enable them to make their way to the labour market. None were selected but those who had been a certain fixed period in the workhouse, 2 years and upwards, and likely to be permanent burdens to the ratepayers. They are expected to sail from Belfast for Quebec a few days. (Downpatrick Recorder)
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