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.
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 from 22 Nov. 1888 Kilmore Free Press 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. Typhus Fever 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 passenges. 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. (* more on the Exmouth later) 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. 30 Jun 1847 Wreck of an Emigrant Vessel, Dreadful Loss of Life the Quebec Gazette of June 11 says - ln 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 8th 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) 20 Oct. 1847 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 Aug. 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 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 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 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 dulness prevails, scarcely any of the hundreds of travelling Americans who come up each summer have ventured into Canada this year, while the local papers sre 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 sanatory 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 tbe 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 tbe 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 tbe 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 tbe 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 3 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. 4 Dec. 1847 Massacre of Irish Emigrants We here received the following letter from trustworthy corespondent in America To the Editor of the Nation Sir 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 The great mortality among those sailing from Liverpool and who were chiefly Irish, is very striking, compared with that among those from the Continent and from Scotland. If the mortality among those from England, exclusive of Liverpool, were shown, it would be similar to the Scotch and German mortality. from Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal, Vol. 71 1849 https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/lhn-nhs/qc/grosseile/culture/natcul4/d https://bit.ly/2xjliD4 https://www.historyplace.com/worldhistory/famine/index.html https://bit.ly/2J6Wgty https://bit.ly/2xhUmUf Join the Wiki Project: Grosse Île, Québec https://bit.ly/39fvOsl transcribed by Teena _______________________________________________ UlsterAncestry@cotyrone.com UlsterAncestry Mailing List Searchable Archives: https://firstname.lastname@example.org/ http://lists.cotyrone.com/mailman/listinfo/ulsterancestry Website: https://cotyrone.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CoTyroneIrelandGenealogy/