1846 - Unusually heavy, but only an extention of ordinary procedures; mostly Limerick &
Dublin. Over 1000 immigrants to Quebec were assisted.
1847 - Followed pattern of former years, except 1.) sent out in large groups instead of
individual families, & 2.) their mortality at sea lower than ordinary emigrants. The
great majority had received only their fares. A few provisions as well. On the whole
they were more miserable & helpless than in former years. 5,400 assisted emigrants
reached Quebec. No figures for American ports. Again, Limerick & Dublin.
1848 - Some slacking off. Again, Dublin & Munster. Became popular because of success
from proprietors' point of view. Established itself as a "humane" way of getting rid of
1850 - After this, lessened.
The landlords claimed it was "voluntary," but the alternatives made it less than voluntary. There was no legal obligation on the part of the landlord - the tenant had no feudal rights. Russell voiced the general opinion of landed men about their rights when he said, "You might as well propose that a landlord compensate the rabbits for the burrows they have made."
One example, Major Mahon (Roscommon) - in 1848 2,400 people were on his 2,1000[?] & they produced only 1/3 of the food they needed. The total cost of sending them to America was considerably less than maintaining them 1 year as paupers. It was decided to offer them a choice of emigration or eviction. Offer - free passage & provisions, & the right to sell or carry away stock & effects. Mahon considered himself a generous landlord. He spent €14,000 from his private capital to achieve the clearance. It turned out 25% of his emigrants died at sea & the medical officer at Quebec reported that the survivors were the most diseased & wretched he had ever seen. Within a few months Mahon was murdered - victim of "agrarian outrage."
The landlords admittedly sent out the poorest & most destitute of their cotters & immigration authorities at the other end complained bitterly. Many were a public burden from the moment they landed. The Common Council at St. John condemned such "inhuman callousness," & Harding the quarantine doctor exclaimed that 99% of the emigrants would remain a public charge.
- The Great Famine
According to U.S. statistics, 17% of the total 1847 emigration died. This must have included deaths after disbarkation.
Landlords sometime sent tenants at their own expense. In many such cases the motive was self-interest, for in a few months the tenants might become paupers & thus a perpetual charge on the estate. Some landlords organized a migration en masse, chartering a ship & buying supplies for the journey.
- Marcus Hansen, The Atlantic Mig., p. 244-251