THE TIDE OF EMIGRATION.
Advertisements from News Letter and other papers giving particulars of the ships engaged in the emigration to America.
The newspapers are filled with advertisements inducing the people to go to America, setting out the different advantages. The following are only typical examples:–
“Caldwell, Vance, and Caldwell, of Derry, desire to acquaint all persons inclining to go to said province, that they will have a ship fitted and victualled in the best manner, to proceed thither at any time, which a reasonable number of passengers may agree in and desire; they giving one guinea each in advance of their passage, which will be at the usual rate as to other parts of America. The earlier they can sail the better; and it is recommended to all who incline going to be speedy in their application.”
Derry, 12th May, 1771.
“The brigantine, ‘Jupiter,’ John Allan, commander, burthen 250 tons, a compleat stout vessel as any in the American trade, a remarkable good sailer, the master well acquainted in the passenger trade, and well known to make quick passages, will be clear to sail from Larne, for the port aforesaid, by the 25th June next. Wind and weather permitting. Any passengers that chuse to embrace this opportunity, are requested to reply to John Montgomery, merchant, in Larne, or Thomas Barklie, every Saturday, in Ballymena. The said vessel shall be plentifully supplied with provisions of the best kind. To prevent disappointment to the owners, no less than one guinea earned from each passenger will be taken. There being a considerable number already engaged, such as want to go must apply soon, or they will be disappointed.”
“Belfast, 4th June, 1771.”
“Matthew Rea advertises 100 acres free land to each
emigrant to Savanna.”
“Three parties complain that they cannot get accommodation in the ship for America on account of the crowd on board. Each berth only 5 ft. 10 in. in length, and 1 ft. 6 in. broad, with 12 passengers for 7 berths.”
“20th October, 1769.”
“There are now a number of poor people on board the passenger ships in this [Belfast] harbour, who, having been several days on board, must be in a very miserable condition, many of whom would be glad to come on shore again and return to their respective trades and businesses, but are not permitted so to do. Would it therefore not be highly comendable for some magistrate to go on board these ships and set at liberty such as choosed, and cause the money to be returned which was taken for their passage? It would certainly be doing a piece of great humanity and justice, and no such ships ought to be permitted to sail until they are first examined by a magistrate for the above purpose.”
“13th November, 1772.”
This miserable appeal to the clemency of the magistrates was a travesty. Had not these “justices” done all they could to bring about emigration and been awarded the thanks of the sheriffs and grand juries, men of their own kidney.
The tide of emigration was steady and continuous. Ships laden to the full with the best blood of Ulster sailed with every tide. Every creek and port had its emigrant ship. Mechanics and artificers were forbidden, under heavy penalties, to sail away, so they took ship as “labourers” to avoid the restriction.