British Empire
Living in the British empire - migration
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Extract from a letter written in 1823 to a Scottish landlord asking for help to emigrate
(Catalogue ref: HO 44/13)
Source 1a

My Lord,

With the view of obtaining a Settlement in Canada for a part of our suffering Population permit me to lay before you a sketch of our condition in the Hebrides. The excess of our population seems to be unknown beyond our own bounds, and may well appear incredible to those who compare the extent of our surface with our numbers. ......

Source 1b

In such a dreadful Season as the present it is needless to state to your Lordship the misery that must exist. In the very best at least half the people are in a state which would be considered actual Starvation in any other part of Britain. It must be evident that the entire Income of such a property could not afford adequate relief in a season, in which by no possibility half the rent could be collected. The poor people have no recourse but the humanity of their Landlords, and have suffered much without complaint. For permanent relief they look to Emigration alone & they have not the means of transporting themselves now. The have been rapidly increasing & impoverishing since the Peace & the relaxation of the restrictions on Emigration formerly imposed by the Government.

Source 1c

We are willing to give every assistance in our power for the Transport say of 100 Families as an experiment if Government will take charge of them on landing at Quebec, placing them on their allotments of Land free of every expence, and a year's Rations (in Cash at stated periods to save expence & the constant complaints.)

It is understood that the Government of Canada is anxious for the Settlements of the new District on the Ottawa River near Montreal, where these poor people might be fixed at a small expence.

Relief has been given to the Irish: we are as needful surely as deserving, altho' less clamorous. I trust that your Lordship will be able to give a favourable answer. Our State is fast assimilating to that of Ireland.
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