EMIGRATION NOTES

The Belfast Vindicator, Saturday, February 22, 1845

EMIGRATION TO AMERICA

We publish the following for the information and guidance of such persons as may have determined on proceeding to the United States. The advice it contains will be valuable, and it comes from a source which entitles it to the confidence of our country men:-

THE IRISH EMIGRANT SOCIETY OF NEW YORK TO THE PEOPLE OF IRELAND.

     Since the organisation of our society, we have deemed it president to address you annually on the subject of emigration to the United States of America. We have now little to add to what we have before presented on that subject; but as some to have probably forgotten, and as many others have never read our former statements, we consider to useful to repeat at this season what we have previously urged upon your attention, with such additional matter as times and an enlarged experience have afforded us.
     And first, we cannot advise any of the non-producing classes to emigrate to America. The occupations suited to these classes are over-stocked here as well as in Europe. Clerks, accountants, copyists, and professional men, will in most cases, be disappointed, if they emigrate with the hope of improving their condition. The commercial towns are crowded with young men, natives of the United States, seeking employment, who, when a chance of employment occurs, are, in most cases, very naturally preferred to foreigners. We cannot, then, with confidence, advice any persons to incur the expense, the embarrassments, and risk of removing to America, except labourers, mechanics, and those who, possessing a small capital, and some practical knowledge of agriculture, are willing to settle in our new status and territories. All should avoid the Atlantic cities and distribute themselves throughout our widespread rural districts. Every emigrant should provide himself before his departure with something more than the price of his passage and supplies. Thousands continually land entirely penniless, and are at once reduced to a state of destitution; whereas, each should have at least 5 on his arrival, to enable him to prosecute his journey to the interior. Immediate application for information and advice should be made at the offices of the Irish Emigrant Society, so that there may not be a moments unnecessary delay; never considering the journey ended until the point in the country selected for settlement is reached. The condition of the emigrant who remains in the Atlantic cities is very little, if at all, improved. He has not the same opportunities of employment; he is more exposed to the contagion of vicious habits; all the necessaries and comforts of life are fourfold higher than in the country; and he has not an equal chance of making a respectable provision for his family. For all persons in all occupations, temperance, integrity, and the love of peace, are indispensable; and, as we said on a former occasion, Father Mathew's  pledge is as available as the best letter of recommendation. It is, at all events, prima facie evidence in favour of the emigrant.
     The season of the year at which it is best to arrive in America, should be seriously considered. Beyond all question, the months of April, May, and June, are to be preferred; and April, when circumstances will permit should be preferred to all others. The emigrant should, therefore, be ready to take his departure from home in the middle of February. It is always well to allow for two months for the voyage, including the journey to the port of embarkation; and even this time is too short if vessels of the first class are not selected. Summer is a disagreeable and dangerous time to arrive, owing to the intense heat, and the greater prevalence of disease - Autumn is also unhealthy, besides being too quickly followed by winter, when the settler can do little on his land.
     The emigrant must carefully endeavour to avoid the frauds and disappointments, to which he is exposed at the port of embarkation. Transient vessels are generally advertised to sail several days before they do sail, and not unfrequently several weeks - These vessels, too, are mostly of an inferior description - often not seaworthy, and slow sailors. The vessels that we can recommend with most confidence for punctuality in sailing, for suitable accommodations, and treatment, are the regular packets, which are composed of five lines, and which sail on the 1st, 6th, 11th, 16th, 21st, and 26th of every month.
     But this is not the only subject, in relation to which the emigrant must be extremely cautious. He will find himself beset by knaves both in Liverpool and New York. In Liverpool he must be particularly wary of money-brokers. Only  a few months since, a poor man arrived here with sixty dollars of sparious notes of pretended or broken banks of this state, having given twelve sovereigns in Liverpool, all the money he had, for these rags. Such frauds are common in Liverpool. Let him bring all his money in English gold or silver. In New York the emigrant must be aware of certain boarding-houses established here for his special accommodation; but which too often, prove to be dens where he can be cheated, plundered and insulted. He can avoid all this by either consulting with one of the agents of the Irish Emigrant Society, who is generally at the quarantine clock where the emigrants are first landed, or when he comes up to the city, by applying without delay at the office of the society. Before going to any boarding house he should make a distinct bargain with the keeper of it for his board, having expressly understood whether he is to settle by the day or by the week, whether he is to be at liberty to leave at any time, and pay to the time leaving, or is to be held responsibly for a certain period, whether he stops so long or not, whether any charge is to be made for the storage of his luggage or not, etc. In fact he cannot be too careful in his dealings with boarder house keepers, or too particular in the bargain he makes with them; and by having a fellow passenger present at the time etc. witness to the bargain, he will in many instances save himself much trouble, vexation, and expense.
   The act passed in parliament of the united kingdom (5th and 6th Vic. cap. 107) for regulating the carriage of passengers in merchant vessels, was well intended, and contains some excellent provisions; but there are few cases, in which they can be enforced; for the persons who suffer from the violation of them never have it in their power for them to return to England to seek redress, and the law, of course, is not available here. We suggest that some ammendment should be made to it, allowing the affidavits of emigrants, taken before some competent authority here, to be read before the justice in England, having jurisdiction of the complaint. However useful this act  may be in some respects, we hope it will not, in the least degree, prevent emigrants from exercising due precaution themselves - an effect, which, the interference of public authority with matters within the scope of individual sagacity too frequently produces.
   We advise those emigrants, whose destination is the United States, not to embark for any part of British America; but, of they intend to settle in any of the Middle States, Viz: - New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio, Indiana or Michegan, to come direct to New York, and, if their destination is any of the Western States, bordering on either side of the Mississippi river, as Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Wisconsin, or Iowa, to take passage direct to New Orleans, and thence to ascend the Mississippi to the point nearest their destination. The proper time to leave Liverpool for New Orleans, is from the latter part of August to the middle of March. This, we believe, is the best mode of proceeding to Iowa, now about being admitted into the Union, and which, in common with the adjoining territory of Wisconsin, possesses more advantages for the agriculturist than any other portion of the globe. In those fertile and healthful regions, the emigrant possessing the suitable means and qualifications will meet a happy home, and let him not linger a moment in the eastern towns, if his circumstances enable him to pursue his journey to the Western States, where new land can generally be purchased for five shillings sterling per acre. With this practical advise, we conclude by warning no man to come hither with the hope of escaping the necessity of labour or the restraints of social order and morality. The same qualities which conduce to respectability and success in Europe, are still more essential here.
     None but the frugal, the industrious, and the temperate, can hope for success in America. Such indeed may emigrate with confident expectation of a prosperous result. They must be prepared, however, to encounter disappointments, to surmount difficulties, and not to be over come by apparent discouragement, but if they proceed without delay to that part of the interior, which, after careful inquiry, they ascertain to be most suitable to their tastes and calling, in all human probability they will, in due time, find their prospects brightening and their circumstances and social position substantially improved.
                          T.W. Clerke, President
                    Vice presidents - B. Graham, G. Dillon, and Patrick Kelly
                    Secretaries - C.E. Shea, and J.T. Doyte.

 

 

The Armagh Guardian, Tuesday, 27 July, 1847

GOOD NEWS FOR THE HUMBLE EMIGRANTS. - The Philadelphia Public Ledger says:- "The farmers in the Western States have sent pressing orders to New York for hiring all the European emigrants who land there. Every emigrant in health, and willing to work, is to be placed on board conveyances for Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Missouri, and the farmers say they should be glad to see a million of Emigrants this year rather then one hundred thousand." If the writer be accurate - and we cannot see why we should doubt his statement - these are cheering prospects to greet the arrival of our poor countrymen in the far West.

The Armagh Guardian, Friday 3 July, 1857

We earnestly recommend the following article to the careful perusal of those of our readers who are bit by the emigration mania.  It is extracted from an admirably conducted agricultural and family paper, styled "The Country Gentleman", published at Albany,
N.Y. [New York?] and the statements contained in it are, therefore, doubly entitled to due consideration.  We, too, have thousands "of productive acres" which "are left behind, abandoned and uncared for"; and we are decidedly of opinion that every one should think
twice ere they abandon "Ould Ireland" for any foreign land.
 
BETTER STAY AT HOME
 
     We recollect of no time when such an universal stampede of men of all professions and pursuits to the Western States has been made as the present Spring.  The stampede has been going on these three years, for that matter, but the present appears to be it's culminating period.  A land and a speculative furore has apparently taken possession of every man
who has a dollar of money in his pocket, or the credit wherewith to get it.  Old, middle aged, and young, it is all the same, one universal rush to the West to engage in land purchases and speculations. The calamities of twenty-one or twenty-two years ago from the same cause have been forgotten.  Two-thirds the age of a generation have passed since then - railroads
have been invented, and the present adventurers can see no sort of parallel between the times
then and now. We are neither a grumbler nor an "old fogy". On the other hand, we are of a hopeful temperament, loving to look on the bright side of the picture rather than on the dark, and trusting, Micawber-like, for "something to turn up" that will make every bad-looking
case better than it now appears.  But the aspect of the times is fearful - not for the industrious
community who stay at home and attend to their pursuits whatever they may be, but for those who are seized with the insane spirit of land speculation, and the victims who have entrusted their money to them.  With them a fearful crash is at hand - averted, it may
be, for a twelve-month but none the less fearful, or deeply calamitous.  Let us look.  We have enjoyed years of profound peace with all the world, save the episode of a Mexican War, which served only as pastime to the uneasy spirits who chose to take a hand in it in place of other mischief. California has opened to us her treasures, and poured into our coffers gold enough.  if it had been well husbanded, to pay every foreign debt we owed, give a spur to every species of industry and make us financially the most independent people on the globe. But no; that would not do.  We went railroad mad to start with.  Three roads were built where one was
needed, with the consequence that they were mostly bankrupt before their owners found out whether the business of the country required them or not.  Look at them.  New England laid over with rails like new work and not half a dozen lines among them paying running expenses and a dividend at all.  New York has a score of them or more, with a hundred millions invested, and not over two or three lines paying an honest dividend.  Ohio just so: and every Western and Southern State beyond and below in the same deficient category, or merely kept alive as bubbles for the "den of thieves" in Wall-Street to gamble on. Here have gone millions on millions of our wealth and labour - sunk in hopeless, irredeemable loss.  They have benefited the country to be sure, in the rise of farms, but even that rise in value has stimulated many of their owners to increased expenditure, and the creation of debts that in numberless cases will result in ruin.  A few railroads would have been largely valuable,
an income to their stockholders, and a benefit to the community.  But as they are they must result in loss and calamity to their owners. Next came the public lands and speculations in
them.  The new railroads opened the way there.  It is of no use to tell how these lands are sought and found, and pounced on, and bought and sold, and run over, and staked out, and then abandoned, so far as anything like permanent settlement is concerned, for other public land away beyond them, to be treated the same way in turn.  Thousands of families, to be sure,
settle upon them, many to become uneasy and homesick, and pine for their old deserted dwelling-places, and after years of discomfort, with patient industry, get into something like a livable condition again, and make a wholesome productive community at last.  This
would all be well, too, in moderation.  But the tendency is to grab at all creation in the way of land, land, land:- and land out west in the hands of speculators is only considered good to build cities and villages upon, through every one of which a new railroad is to run, and make it the central point of the whole universe - according to the story of its proprietors. Now how works the thing?  The whole country mist is alive with emigrants.  How many of them, except
a small percentage of our native people and the ignorant foreigners who settle down in agricultural communities really go top work at sober farming ? The local markets there tell you.  Beef and pork are at a shilling a pound, even in Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota;
potatoes a dollar a bushel; corn the same; oats half as much; hay thirty dollars a ton; flour eight dollars a barrel; butter two shillings a pound, and every eatable for man or beast, in the same proportion, showing distinctly that instead of working the community at large
is speculating and "prospecting".  Lands of greater agricultural value are cheaper in New York, Ohio, and Michigan, than in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota.  But New York, Ohio, and Michigan are only known as states that the emigrating hordes go from, and as sources from which to draw their money for new speculations.  Millions of productive acres are left behind, with abundance of wood and water in a healthy climate, abandoned and uncared for, to rush on to the bleak prairie with neither wood or water in sight, and for years to remain uninhabitable, to absorb the money obtained from the yielding and despised acres left behind. Such is the present state of things.  There are redeeming expectations to all this wild helter-skelter picture we admit.  But such is the general view, and as calamitous in results to come, unless suddenly checked as it is true to fact.  Nor is this the worst.  Back of
all is the restless extravagance of our whole population in living, dress, house-building, furniture, and everything touching life as it goes.  It is useless to enumerate.
Look about you and see it in everything, out of doors - in doors - "up stairs and in the ladies chamber" especially.  The servant girls wear silks; their mistresses wear brocade and jewellery, while the household daughters go hopping, ride in gilded carriages, smash over the keys of the piano, or snap the strings of the guitar, making night hideous with discord for the particular
benefit of troops of bewhiskered and worthless music masters and jewelled vagabonds.
So much for private life.  Morally and religiously, how is it ?  We build costly churches for proud and lazy worshippers - not of God, but of Mammon - where the poor cannot enter, but, perchance, be driven to perdition, that pride of the eye and the lust of the flesh may be gratified in their richer neighbours.  Our dyspeptic and effeminate preachers, to work off the sinful effects of hot morning rolls, heavy dinners and late suppers must "go abroad" during the summer, with an extra allowance for expenses, while their frivolous congregations
go sky-larking about the watering places, climb the White Mountains, or play the fool generally. Such is town life, and the sturdy, honest bumpkins of the country, gazing on at such riotous living, drop the hoe and leave the plough, to go into town, turn clerk in a fancy store, enter a lawyer's or a doctor's office, and in a majority of cases turn out swindler,
thief, or vagabond, as their ability, taste or luck shall determine.  Even the agricultural societies are becoming debauched.  Our annual exhibition are turned into horse-races and trotting matches, where the boys "cut over" the ground like circus women, under the hurrahs
of ribald men, and idlers, and loafers, without moral courage enough on the part of the managers and fathers to put a stop to such nonsense, and restore these valuable institutions to their original interest and utility.
     This, our readers will exclaim, is a one-sided view of the case, and the very worst that can be said, if true at all.  Very well; we will see.  Let them gainsay it if they can.  We have viewed the whole subject, seen and felt both sides of it, and know the facts, we are a farmer, love the soil, and own and cultivate enough it it to satisfy any moderate ambition; and for the edification of those who choose to grumble at our talk, Just tell them by the way, that we have more to say about it hereafter.