British Empire
Living in the British empire - migration
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  simplifiedl transcript - source1  
Extract from a letter written in 1823 to a Scottish landlord asking for help to emigrate
(Catalogue ref: HO 44/13)
My Lord,

Permit me to describe to you our conditions in the Hebrides in the hope of getting a settlement in Canada for a part of our suffering population. The overcrowding of our population seems to be unknown beyond our own area, and may well appear unbelievable when you compare the size of the area with the number of people. ......

In such a dreadful season as this one I do not need to tell your Lordship the misery that exists. At best, at least half the people are in a state which would be called actual starvation in any other part of Britain. The entire income of their property could not bring people relief this season, when not even half the rent could be collected. The poor people have no options but the kindness of their landlords and have suffered much without complaining. For a permanent solution they look only to emigrate but they cannot now afford the fare. They have been getting poorer since the peace and the relaxation of government restrictions on emigration.

We are willing to help in any way we can to transport about 100 families, as an experiment, if the government will take charge of them when they land at Quebec and give them land free of charge and a year's supplies (in cash at stated times to save expense and the constant complaints).

We understand that the government of Canada is keen on the settlements of the new district on the Ottawa River near Montreal, where these poor people might be settled at small cost.

The Irish have been given relief. We are as needy and as deserving as them, although less loud in complaining. I hope that your Lordship will be able to give a favourable answer. Our conditions are quickly becoming like that of Ireland.
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